This robust article on Greece is probably one of the most alarming articles that I have ever read in my life. It reminds me of newspaper stories released ahead of the First or Second World War. It’s a must read!
Let me highlight some of the themes that are still resonating in my brain:
- Christine Lagarde, the IMF managing director, is letting emotion overtake judgement because of her reaction to personal criticism – she’s a corporate lawyer by background, a politician by career, and her weak suit is economics.
- The IMF’s unbending position that pensions must be cut – this is disgraceful, with elderly pensioners who are close to starving, trying to support their wider families who have no hope of working
- The arrogant, self-centered, Greek Finance Minister, married to a very wealthy women, appears unbalanced in his language to his international peers and creditors – this man was a very average economics professor more used to parading in front of students – through his wife’s wealth he is protected from the international consequences triggered by his bruised ego
- There’s already an increasing run on banks in Greece that will likely stop them opening Monday morning
- Responsible Greek authorities must introduce emergency powers – this is likely to include capital restrictions and lower daily limits at ATMs
- Pro-European Greeks are protesting outside the Greek Parliament that the Syriaz government has exceeded its political mandate – as opposing demonstrators clash strong words, expect this to lead increasingly to hot-tempers and perhaps violence on Greece’s streets
- With violence on the streets, I would expect there to be further emergency powers, perhaps restricting civil liberties
- With a banking crisis, default to the IMF and other creditors, Greece will likely be forced out of the Eurozone and the European Union, triggering wide-scale crisis in Greece, the rest of Europe and triggering the redrawing of geo-political fault lines – the Guardian article concludes that this is similar to Europe that precipitated the Second World War
- The final hope is a political agreement in principle from Europe’s political leaders on Monday – it’s down to the wire for Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande & Greece’s Prime Minister.
- With failure on Monday, I struggle to see how the Syriaz Party can govern in Greece, without an election or referendum
But my personal view is that it’s time for new faces at the negotiating table, common sense, realism and a return from the brink – there could well be prolonged grey period where we are all looking over the brink into the fire. Perhaps, it’s time for both Christine Largarde at the IMF and Greece’s Finance Minister to go?