The drama of this century to date plays on with amazing speed and volatility. The Greek government and people, despite more than enough reasons for some of them to either be in jail or in purgatory, are now into dignity, independence and hysterical, historical self-justification. Don’t get me wrong — I like Greece and everything about it including its history.
But I don’t like it when a small country in its little corner of the world gets so far out of line that it puts the world financial economy at serious risk. I’m bothered when it rattles its tin cup for help to avoid the jam that its behavior created, and then cries foul when the suppliers of the help make the sensible and reasonable suggestion that they should be able to supervise the post-rescue period until the basic problems have been worked through.
It is well known that parents are the worst people to teach their children how to ride a bike. It should be equally well known that taxpayer voters, as well as non-taxpayer voters, are probably the worst people to take responsibility for simultaneous supervision of more collection of taxes and imposition of an austerity program.
The only real arguments the Greeks have for objecting to their generous friends’ wanting to supervise the “workout” of their affairs are sovereignty, dignity and history. But, sadly for them, those arguments are like Swiss cheese — delicious, but full of holes.
- Sovereigntyis a word and concept undergoing vast change as the world shrinks with the speed of light. Greece was one of the leading nations of the world 2,000 years ago. Today, despite all its beauty and instructive history, it has become a tiny piece in a large puzzle and its borders have come to mean less and less as financial transactions, for example, whiz at the speed of light over those borders without regard to any dignity or sovereignty.
- Historically, everywhere in the world bankruptcy has justified and required supervision and control post bankruptcy. This alone is enough reason to require some post-bailout system to ensure the terms of the bailout are maintained.
- For example, in the United States we had a notable example of this type of action in the mid-70’s when New York City was bailed out by New York State — as Greece is proposing today to the EU. There was lots of moaning and groaning about the creation of a Financial Control Board. But it worked, and within reason New York City is thriving and pretty independent again today.
The Greek problem will be solved because failure really is not an option: failure would be more expensive for almost everyone than the cost of any “workout.”
Therefore, it would be a good idea, if we could skip most of the moaning and groaning and go straight to GO and execute the scheme that has been crying out to be used from the start of all these problems.