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Wed Jan 14, 2015, 11:23 PM

Greece, Europe and the Neoliberal Nightmare: Is There a Way Out?


Greece, Europe and the Neoliberal Nightmare: Is There a Way Out?

Wednesday, 14 January 2015 11:05
By C.J. Polychroniou, Truthout | News Analysis


In early 2010, Greece became the first among a number of peripheral member states in the euro area, the ultimate neoliberal zone throughout the entire capitalist universe, that fell victim to the global financial crisis of 2008 by being shut out of the international credit markets and subsequently having to end up in the arms of a rescue mechanism designed by the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Union (IMF) in order to avoid an official default that would have caused a massive meltdown in Europe's banking system since it was mostly major German, French and Swiss banks that had recklessly loaned billions of euros to the Greek government and Greek businesses.

The EU-IMF rescue mechanism provided Greece in May 2010 with a massive loan package worth 110 billion euros (meant to cover the country's financial needs until June 2013) while a second one was extended in February 2012 worth 130 billion euros. The first bailout loan for Greece carried a usurious interest rate of 5 percent and demanded the enforcement of a scorched-earth policy aimed at reducing deficits and the debt-to-GDP ratio as well as improving the competitiveness of the Greek economy. Initially conceived more as a punishment rather than as a rescue policy, as it sought to implement a series of policies across Greek society that would have no bearing whatsoever on the above stated goals (such as sharp reductions in wages and salaries in both the private and public sector and creating medieval-like conditions in the labor market through the elimination of collective bargaining agreements and the enforcement of various other labor rights violations), the bailout plan ultimately became a sinister Machiavellian plot for institutionalizing a radical neoliberal economic setting.

In other words, the neoliberal European masters took the opportunity presented to them by the debt crisis to turn Greece (with the collaboration of the domestic political and corporate-financial elite) into a neoliberal laboratory and to transfer public wealth into private hands (all publicly owned assets were to be sold at bargain prices) and skim wealth from the many and transfer it to the few (whether in the form of shutting down thousands of small businesses to the benefit of large commercial enterprises or the opportunities presented to real estate investors by the free fall in property prices or simply through the barbarous exploitation of labor, which is highly underpaid and in many instances goes altogether unpaid even when employed).

Under the bailout terms imposed by the twin monsters of global neoliberalism, the EU and the IMF, the Greek economy and society experienced a traumatic situation which can only be compared to wartime conditions: GPD dropped by 20 percent in the course of four years; unemployment reached as high as 27 percent; one of three Greeks ended up either near or below the poverty line; many hospitals operated without basic medicine and equipment; school administrators in many parts of the country were unable to supply heating oil due to budget cuts; suicides became a rampant phenomenon in the first two to three years of the crisis, and the young with skills and higher education emigrated en masse, seeking job opportunities in Germany, the United Kingdom and other European countries. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/28519-greece-europe-and-the-neoliberal-nightmare-is-there-a-way-out



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Reply Greece, Europe and the Neoliberal Nightmare: Is There a Way Out? (Original post)
marmar Jan 2015 OP
LineReply ,
blkmusclmachine Jan 2015 #1
flying rabbit Jan 2015 #2
Boreal Jan 2015 #3
ND-Dem Jan 2015 #4
Boreal Jan 2015 #5
ND-Dem Jan 2015 #7
Boreal Jan 2015 #9
ND-Dem Jan 2015 #10
Boreal Jan 2015 #11
pa28 Jan 2015 #6
malaise Jan 2015 #8
pampango Jan 2015 #12

Response to marmar (Original post)

Wed Jan 14, 2015, 11:41 PM

1. ,

 

,

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Wed Jan 14, 2015, 11:58 PM

2. K&R nt

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Thu Jan 15, 2015, 12:48 AM

3. This will never happen

 

The EU is an undemocratic, regressive and thoroughly neoliberal entity pursuing nothing short of open class war policies against the common people of Greece (as well as those in the other highly indebted nations of the eurozone) while it protects the interests of banks and big corporations. If Syriza believes it can change the institutional framework and the policies of the EU, then even the great revolutions of past history may pale in comparison to its accomplishments.


To even think it possible is delusional.

Thus, the struggle, as ever, is national while international coalition building remains essential. With a neoliberal Europe or not, we are still very far away from sorting out the relationship between ethnicity, nationality and class for the building of a radical international social order.


That just sounds like some warmed over Marxist rhetoric that has little bearing on what it's going to take for Greeks to pull themselves out of this mess. I feel very sorry for them because they're going to need some brilliant minds and leadership to do it but it seems like most of those are working for financial elite.

Very good documentary (paid for with crowd funding!) on the EU:




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Response to Boreal (Reply #3)

Thu Jan 15, 2015, 12:52 AM

4. what will never happen?

 

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Response to ND-Dem (Reply #4)

Thu Jan 15, 2015, 01:05 AM

5. Changing the EU

 

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Response to Boreal (Reply #5)

Thu Jan 15, 2015, 01:13 AM

7. changing it to what? the eu will change in some way. everything changes. could you let

 

us know what youre actually talking about, specifically?

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Response to ND-Dem (Reply #7)

Thu Jan 15, 2015, 01:58 PM

9. Did you even read the article?

 

The EU is an undemocratic, regressive and thoroughly neoliberal entity pursuing nothing short of open class war policies against the common people of Greece (as well as those in the other highly indebted nations of the eurozone) while it protects the interests of banks and big corporations. If Syriza believes it can change the institutional framework and the policies of the EU, then even the great revolutions of past history may pale in comparison to its accomplishments.


It was the above that I commented on. Syriza is not going to change the undemocratic, neoliberal, class warfare waging nature of the EU, nor the fact that it represents the the interests of banksters and corporations, nor will it change it's institutional structure or policies. The EU was never meant to be democratic. It is run by unelected elitist bureaucrats and the MEPs have next to no input.

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Response to Boreal (Reply #9)

Thu Jan 15, 2015, 02:02 PM

10. Yes, I read the article; nevertheless, your reference wasn't clear. Thanks for the clarification.

 

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Response to ND-Dem (Reply #10)

Thu Jan 15, 2015, 02:08 PM

11. No problem

 

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Thu Jan 15, 2015, 01:07 AM

6. K&R

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Thu Jan 15, 2015, 05:51 AM

8. The Iceland model is the way to go

Lock up the criminal bankers and the politicians who sell out citizens to multi-lateral lending agencies.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Thu Jan 15, 2015, 02:38 PM

12. Describing the EU as a 'neoliberal nightmare' is something the far-right parties in Europe can agree

with. Nice to see something that the left and right can agree on. Perhaps some 'bipartisan' cooperation to destroy the EU lies in the future.

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