October 3, 2023

News Cymru

Two sides to every headline

See, in Greece they’re fast losing their freedom and independence. The country may still be a sovereign nation in name, but are the Greeks still a sovereign people?

This page is made of excerpts from this excellent article about the Greek bail out and austerity plan

A repeat of Germany’s Treuhand experience may prove bitter for Greeks, who are already suffering soaring unemployment as a recession drags into its third year.

Once the world’s biggest holding company, Treuhand was supposed to sell off state property at a profit but closed its books with a huge deficit and a legacy of bitterness among the legions of workers whose jobs it destroyed. Four million Germans were employed by Treuhand-owned companies in 1990 but only about 1.5 million jobs were left in 1994 when the agency closed. Instead of reaping profits to be distributed to all east Germans, as it was designed to do, it ran up debts of 270 billion marks ($172 billion) in the fire sale of assets.

Ilargi: To call Treuhand an abject failure would be a gross understatement. Still, Juncker cites it as an example for Greece. Lovely. Well, to be honest, it was a failure only for the people. Not for banks and industries. Viewed from that angle, it all makes sense. As does openly stating that Greece will be massively limited in its sovereignty. It all depends whose interests you’re protecting, after all.

And no, we’re not just talking Greece here. From the Guardian:
Sell, sell, sell: everything must go in great fire sale
Europe’s most ambitious sell-off is taking place in its most indebted nation: Athens plans to sell €50bn (£45bn) of state assets by 2015.

Looking at the sales list, it seems that very little has been left off the table. The government’s stakes in the ports of Piraeus and Thessaloniki, 39 airports, a state lottery, a horse-racing concession, a casino, a national post office, two water companies, a nickel miner and smelter, hundreds of miles of roads, a telecoms operator, shares in two banks, electricity and gas monopolies and thousands of hectares of land, including coastal stretches, are among the host of assets on offer.[..]

Ilargi: So when everybody sells everything, where do we draw the line between a sovereign nation and one that is “occupied”?

The problem is that this economy, these economies, will never recover. They will never return to where they once were. They won’t even return to where they are now. Because there is so much debt all around, and our leaders refuse to let the institutions that incurred it pay the bill, there’s a huge amount of downside waiting for us. And selling off what should have been our children’s inheritance is not going to change that. It will only make their lives that much harder. They will indeed not be sovereign people, they will not hold control over their own societies. And they will therefore have no reason left to celebrate their Independence Day. They will be serfs. Debt slaves.

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