Bolivia’s re-elected president has dumbfounded critics in Washington, the World Bank and the IMF.
The socialist Evo Morales, who yesterday was re-elected to serve a third term as president of Bolivia, has long been cast as a figure of fun by the media in the global north. Much like the now deceased Hugo Chávez, Morales is often depicted as a buffoonish populist whose flamboyant denouncements of the United States belie his incompetence. And so, reports of his landslide win inevitably focused on his announcement that it was “a victory for anti-imperialism”, as though anti-US sentiment is the only thing Morales has given to Bolivia in his eight years in government.
Obviously, the sky will fall on our heads and crush us. Greece will become Enver Hoxha’s Albania or Kim Il Sung’s North Korea. Just as it was before we became member of euro-zone. If I remember correctly, Greece did not come into existence on the day euro became our currency. We knew how to look after ourselves before the almighty euro came along. We had international relations before the euro, and indeed far better and more profitable, with a wider range of countries. And despite the fact that the national currency, that is to say the drachma, was managed by governments whose main objective was to facilitate inward and outward speculation and increase of the so-called competitiveness (more…)
Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos is a third generation diplomat and former Ambassador of Greece to Canada,Poland and Armenia.He was Director General in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece and Secretary General of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization. Extremely knowledgable on issues of the EU and on what is happenning in Greece now, Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos was a junior diplomat in the team that negotiated Greece’s accession to the EEC. He is now against Greece’s membership to the EU and believes that the EU is destroying his country. He is a member of EPAM (Unified Popular Front), a movement that was founded in the wake of the protests of 2010 and 2011. Julia Vladimirova met him.
“You were on the delegation that negotiated Greece’s accession to the European Community. Why are you now against it?”
” I was in the team that negotiated Greece’s accession to the EEC, as it was called then. The decision to join the EEC was taken in 1975 by Konstantinos Karamanlis and it was based on two political reasons : The first was to consolidate democracy in Greece, that had just been (more…)
For Greece to reform and not default makes sense only from Berlin’s perspective
“I would like to ask all of you not to continue at this time this discussion on a new haircut … It is not in your interest.”
So said Wolfgang Schäuble in Athens last week. I do not blame Germany’s finance minister for refusing to discuss a Greek debt write-off at this time. His country’s federal election is only two months away. Given Berlin’s approach to crisis resolution, I struggle to think of a more certain way to lose the vote than to say: “All right, then, let’s start to be realistic right now.”
But Mr Schäuble went a step further in his remarks by raising the Greek national interest. It is, of course, for the Greeks themselves to define their own interest.
Right from the beginning we need to clarify that the crisis which Greece is currently facing and has led the country to its 5th official bankruptcy does not originate from the actions of a prodigal government or from the effects of a fiscal problem which could be solved through the implementation of measures of re-adjustment and reductions in government expenditure. Greece has bankrupt due to its national debt as a result of the bankruptcy of its own economy which for the past decades has been suffering from the implementation of a model based on which an economy should grow through concentrating on being extrovert and as it follows that economy should obey to the decisions made by the international financial/capital markets.
In terms of the previous decades in Greece, it should be stated that as long as the international dogma of free markets and deregulation was applied, the Greek economy was becoming a parasitic economy which concentrated on providing cheap services. As a result Greece depended even more on the fluctuations of international financial markets and kept losing ground in terms of its international competitiveness. This result was expected as the Greek economy was formed around the basic principle that it should be serving the most illegal and extraordinary appetites for high returns and profitability as demanded from both external and internal investors.
A very characteristic statistic related to the previous statements is that the percentage of the private returns in terms of the total added value within the local economy during these years of the recession reached 59% in 2009. This is a record figure within the European Union as it is almost double in comparison to the weighted average figure which corresponds to the rest of the E.U. members. For decades, all the governing parties in Greece and their so-called protectors from abroad such as the OECD, the IMF and the E.U. did everything that could be done under their power in order to convert into a primary competitive advantage of the Greek economy the prospect of maximization of the private sector’s profits beyond any logical and reasonable limit which could be set by the economy itself due its capabilities in terms of productivity.
Due to all of the above the country’s productivity started to sink and that element of parasitism would be transmitted to all business sectors while at the same time the quackery of the issue and selling of financial derivatives was advocated as a solution. A characteristic statistic indicating this is the fact that in 1992 for every 100 dollars of foreign private capital which was invested in the local economy, a 59% was associated with investments in the real economy, 31% was associated with real estate and just 10% was associated with financial investments. In 1995 the figures were 33% towards the real economy, 7 % towards real estate and 60% towards financial assets. Just before the outbreak of the crisis the figures were 10% for the real economy, 1% towards real estate investments and 89% towards financial investments. The result was that figure corresponding to 63% of the total private profit generated from the economy during the last 10 years, was interest. (more…)