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November 2, 2011

Let’s see if I can get this to work:

Δεν ξέρω τίποτα.
 
Yep, “I know nothing,” about the real story behind European politics.  It’s pretty obvious that Greece is being asked to pay for years of bad decisions in a way that doesn’t work for the people.  It might be necessary, but it’s not popular.  So when I saw the news yesterday that the PM, George Papandreou, wanted to put the enforced austerity measures to a vote, I figured the markets would not take it well.  But beyond that, I really wondered where to go for a real view of the politics.
 
Thanks, Mr. Hannan. (And yes, I know that this guys is pretty far to the right.  I am, too, so there.)

I wish I could convey the sheer horror that his prposal provoked in Brussels. The first rule of the Eurocracy is “no referendums”. Brussels functionaries believe that their work is too important to be subject to the prejudices of hoi polloi (for once, the Greek phrase seems apposite). Referendums are always seen as irresponsible; but, at a time when the euro is teetering on the brink, Papandreou’s proposal was seen as an act of ingratitude bordering on treason.

A more reasonable person, like me, might wonder why Germany, Italy, etc. don’t get their people (or at least their representative bodies) to vote on the measure as well.  It’s just a nice conclusion that everyone needs to get along and save their lousy idea of a “world currency?”

Euro-enthusiasts in Brussels and in Athens are ready to bring down an elected government rather than allow a referendum. Yet the funny thing is that Papandreou is a Euro-enthusiast. He fervently wants to remain in the euro, and had been planning to campaign for a Yes vote. His sin, in the eyes of Brussels, was not to hold the wrong opinions, but to be too keen on democracy. Leninists had a term for people who, while they might be committed Bolsheviks, none the less behaved in a way which endangered the movement. They were called “objectively counter-revolutionary”. Poor Papandreou finds himself in this category.

Lynn’s more the smart one on Europe and Communism here, so I’m definately out of my league (see the Greek above, or maybe I should say this whole thing is Greek to me… ba-dum ching!).  But I believe Mr. Hannon is on the right track.  This is a cultural elite deciding what’s right for the world, and then being shocked when the world wants to have a say in how it’s ruled.  And yet, I wonder how many talking heads yesterday were happily discussing how Greece was about to cause Europe to spiral clockwise.

He also points out that there are a few other countries that aren’t that far behind.  Italy isn’t looking good, and Portugal already asked for new terms on it’s relief plan.  This isn’t over by a long shot, and one vote won’t make a difference either.

And to be clear, the US isn’t free of this.  Our banks are up to their eyeballs on this (it’s not just Jon Corzine at MF Global, plenty of people misjudged how messy this was going to be), and the effect on the US is going to make today’s antics look tame.  Get ready for a ride.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 2, 2011 11:35 am

    I’m pretty well convinced that the progressives – whether in Europe or US – are fundamentally looking for how to keep the peasants calm (updated Bread and circuses) while they set themselves up as a 21st century aristocracy. Hence the shock at the lack of appreciation for ‘everything they’ve done’ (we’ve thought about you – to the extent it helps us line our pocketbooks). It’s 21st century feudalism – and Greece ripped the covers off of it to some extent.

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