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"Πάντα ῥεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει"







September 26th
4:01 PM
Via

nationalpost:

Tens of thousands of Greeks take to the streets in largest anti-austerity protest in a year
Greek police clashed with hooded rioters hurling petrol bombs as tens of thousands took to the streets of Athens on Wednesday in Greece’s biggest anti-austerity protest in more than a year.

Violence erupted after nearly 70,000 people marched to parliament chanting “We won’t submit to the troika (of lenders)” and “EU, IMF Out!” on the day of a general strike against a new round of cuts demanded by foreign lenders. (Photos: AP Photo; AFP/GettyImages)

July 11th
4:28 PM
Via
thepoliticalnotebook:

Picture of the Day: Madrid, Spain. A bleeding demonstration shouts as she is detained by the police during dramatic clashes set off by anti-austerity protests in Spain’s capital today in response to the government’s announcement of 65 million euro austerity package. Coal miners converged on the Ministry of Industry building to protest the end to mining subsidies.
Credit: Andres Kudacki/AP. Via.
View more Picture of the Day posts. Submit a photo.

thepoliticalnotebook:

Picture of the Day: Madrid, Spain. A bleeding demonstration shouts as she is detained by the police during dramatic clashes set off by anti-austerity protests in Spain’s capital today in response to the government’s announcement of 65 million euro austerity package. Coal miners converged on the Ministry of Industry building to protest the end to mining subsidies.

Credit: Andres Kudacki/AP. Via.

View more Picture of the Day postsSubmit a photo.

June 25th
3:50 PM
The Disastrous Consequences of a Euro CrashDer Spiegel »

It’s understandable that companies want to protect themselves from a euro crash. But if things get serious, all of these efforts could be worthless, because the consequences of a monetary disaster would spread across the entire economy like a tidal wave.Economists with the Dutch bank ING have calculated that in the first two years following a collapse, the countries in the euro zone would lose 12 percent of their economic output. This corresponds to the loss of more than €1 trillion. It would make the recession that followed the bankruptcy of investment bank Lehmann Brothers seem like a minor industrial accident by comparison… >continue<

photo: Der Spiegel

The Disastrous Consequences of a Euro Crash
Der Spiegel »

It’s understandable that companies want to protect themselves from a euro crash. But if things get serious, all of these efforts could be worthless, because the consequences of a monetary disaster would spread across the entire economy like a tidal wave.

Economists with the Dutch bank ING have calculated that in the first two years following a collapse, the countries in the euro zone would lose 12 percent of their economic output. This corresponds to the loss of more than €1 trillion. It would make the recession that followed the bankruptcy of investment bank Lehmann Brothers seem like a minor industrial accident by comparison… >continue<

photo: Der Spiegel

June 5th
3:32 PM
The End of Germany&#8217;s IllusionsA Commentary by Stefan Kaiser - Der Spiegel&#160;&#187;

In the last 10 days, the DAX, Germany&#8217;s blue-chip stock index, has fallen by 16 percent. On Monday it fell below the 6,000 point benchmark for the first time since January and has continued its plunge on Tuesday. Has the crisis, which for so long seemed to leave Germany untouched, finally reached Europe&#8217;s largest economy?
&#8230;The fact that Germany has felt so little of the crisis so far is due largely to emerging markets like China, India, Brazil and Russia. Their economies booming, companies and consumers in developing economies were eagerly buying German products. In 2011, for example, China bought a record number of German cars.
But things are cooling off here too. The Chinese economy has long since ceased to grow as quickly as it did a year ago, while Russia feels the effects of the crisis in the form of currency turbulence. Not to mention that the United States, the biggest economy in the world, is also suffering major problems. The party in Germany could be over soon.
This makes it all the more important to finally grasp just how deeply mired in the crisis we are...  &gt;continue&lt;

related: G7 Emergency Talks  |  Eurozone unemployment spike
Drag on U.S.  |  Guardian Eurozone Digest 
update:  Start the engines, Angela

The End of Germany’s Illusions
A Commentary by Stefan Kaiser - Der Spiegel »

In the last 10 days, the DAX, Germany’s blue-chip stock index, has fallen by 16 percent. On Monday it fell below the 6,000 point benchmark for the first time since January and has continued its plunge on Tuesday. Has the crisis, which for so long seemed to leave Germany untouched, finally reached Europe’s largest economy?

…The fact that Germany has felt so little of the crisis so far is due largely to emerging markets like China, India, Brazil and Russia. Their economies booming, companies and consumers in developing economies were eagerly buying German products. In 2011, for example, China bought a record number of German cars.

But things are cooling off here too. The Chinese economy has long since ceased to grow as quickly as it did a year ago, while Russia feels the effects of the crisis in the form of currency turbulence. Not to mention that the United States, the biggest economy in the world, is also suffering major problems. The party in Germany could be over soon.

This makes it all the more important to finally grasp just how deeply mired in the crisis we are...  >continue<

related: G7 Emergency Talks  |  Eurozone unemployment spike

Drag on U.S.  |  Guardian Eurozone Digest 

update:  Start the engines, Angela

May 23rd
5:36 PM
Paul Krugman on Euro Rescue Efforts'Right Now, We Need Expansion'

SPIEGEL: More stimulus also means more debt. Many European nations, as well as the US, are already drowning in debt.
Krugman: I&#8217;m not saying that I don&#8217;t ever care about debt, but not now. If you slash spending, you just depress the economy further. And, given the low interest rates and what we now know about long-run effects of high unemployment, you almost certainly actually even make your fiscal position worse. Give me a strong-enough economic recovery that the Fed is starting to want to raise interest rates to head off inflation &#8212; then I become a deficit hawk.
SPIEGEL: So, for now, we should just ignore the huge debt burdens?
Krugman: That&#8217;s right. It&#8217;s quite amazing that we&#8217;re giving priority to the imagined threat that the bond markets might lose faith even though they give every indication of not being worried at all, given the reality that millions of people have been unemployed for more than a year and the almost certain long-term damage that that&#8217;s inflicting.
SPIEGEL: But we can&#8217;t just kick the debt can down the road and let future generations deal with it. The debt has not been shrinking even in good economic times.
Krugman: That&#8217;s not true. We went into huge deficits when the economy plunged, and this is the time for huge deficits, not later. And it&#8217;s not a date; it&#8217;s a condition. When the economy has recovered sufficiently so that we&#8217;re no longer in the liquidity trap is when you start to worry about debts again&#8230; &gt;continue&lt;

image: Francisco Seco/Associated Press, Tom Tomorrow interpolated

Paul Krugman on Euro Rescue Efforts
'Right Now, We Need Expansion'

SPIEGEL: More stimulus also means more debt. Many European nations, as well as the US, are already drowning in debt.

Krugman: I’m not saying that I don’t ever care about debt, but not now. If you slash spending, you just depress the economy further. And, given the low interest rates and what we now know about long-run effects of high unemployment, you almost certainly actually even make your fiscal position worse. Give me a strong-enough economic recovery that the Fed is starting to want to raise interest rates to head off inflation — then I become a deficit hawk.

SPIEGEL: So, for now, we should just ignore the huge debt burdens?

Krugman: That’s right. It’s quite amazing that we’re giving priority to the imagined threat that the bond markets might lose faith even though they give every indication of not being worried at all, given the reality that millions of people have been unemployed for more than a year and the almost certain long-term damage that that’s inflicting.

SPIEGEL: But we can’t just kick the debt can down the road and let future generations deal with it. The debt has not been shrinking even in good economic times.

Krugman: That’s not true. We went into huge deficits when the economy plunged, and this is the time for huge deficits, not later. And it’s not a date; it’s a condition. When the economy has recovered sufficiently so that we’re no longer in the liquidity trap is when you start to worry about debts again… >continue<

image: Francisco Seco/Associated Press, Tom Tomorrow interpolated

May 14th
2:47 PM
Greece Can No Longer Delay Euro Zone Exit
Der Spiegel&#160;&#187;

Greece has been in intensive care for years, but the patient, instead of recovering, is just getting sicker and sicker. In a confidential report, which SPIEGEL has seen, experts from the IMF arrive at a devastating verdict. The country, they write, has only &#8220;a small industrial base&#8221; and is characterized by &#8220;structural incrustations&#8221; and an &#8220;excessively large role of the public sector.&#8221;It&#8217;s time to rethink the treatment. The Greeks were never ready for the monetary union, and they still aren&#8217;t ready today. The attempt to retroactively bring the country up to speed through reforms has failed. &#8230;Europe cannot be blackmailed. Populist politician Tsipras is merely expressing views that are already widespread within large segments of the Athens establishment, namely that the Europeans will ultimately give in and pay up, because they fear a Greek bankruptcy as much as people in the Middle Ages feared the Black Death.  &gt;continue&lt;

It may be time to &#8220;go hide under the table now.&#8221; Though the view expressed in Der Spiegel has opponents, there&#8217;s no denying the drama and the Drachma of Damocles hanging over Europe.

Greece Can No Longer Delay Euro Zone Exit

Der Spiegel »

Greece has been in intensive care for years, but the patient, instead of recovering, is just getting sicker and sicker. In a confidential report, which SPIEGEL has seen, experts from the IMF arrive at a devastating verdict. The country, they write, has only “a small industrial base” and is characterized by “structural incrustations” and an “excessively large role of the public sector.”

It’s time to rethink the treatment. The Greeks were never ready for the monetary union, and they still aren’t ready today. The attempt to retroactively bring the country up to speed through reforms has failed.

…Europe cannot be blackmailed. Populist politician Tsipras is merely expressing views that are already widespread within large segments of the Athens establishment, namely that the Europeans will ultimately give in and pay up, because they fear a Greek bankruptcy as much as people in the Middle Ages feared the Black Death.  >continue<

It may be time to “go hide under the table now.” Though the view expressed in Der Spiegel has opponents, there’s no denying the drama and the Drachma of Damocles hanging over Europe.

February 21st
2:59 PM
Greece Lurches to Left Amid Radical AusterityDer Spiegel&#160;&#187;

A radical austerity drive has triggered the biggest political  upheaval in Athens since the end of the military dictatorship in 1974.  So far, it is leftist parties who have benefitted the most from the debt  crisis. The deeply divided left, however, would likely be unable to  form a stable coalition.
Alexis Tsipras walks up to the lectern like Elvis strutting onstage. But  when he begins to speak, all traces of youthfulness and ease vanish  from his face. The &#8220;foreign loan sharks&#8221; have one thing on their minds,  he barks into the microphone: &#8220;the impoverishment of the Greek people  and the sellout of our country!&#8221; He slams his fist down and continues  his speech, his voice booming. The Europeans, he says, are pursuing only  one goal: to bring about the end of the sovereign Greek nation. &#8220;We  must prevent Greece from becoming a German protectorate once again,&#8221;  Tsipras says, practically shouting by now. &#8220;We are not a German colony.&#8221;
A Country in Flux
There are many uncertainties in Greece today: whether the country can  remain in the euro zone, whether the €130 billion ($171.8 billion) second bailout package will sufficiently reduce the insolvent country&#8217;s staggering debt load,  and whether the Greeks will ever implement the reforms their  international creditors are demanding of them. At the moment, only one  thing seems predictable: that nothing will remain the same. &#8220;Everything  is changing, and everything is frightening,&#8221;&#8230; &gt;continue&lt;

Πάντα ῥεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει
- Heraclitus
photo - AFP

Greece Lurches to Left Amid Radical Austerity
Der Spiegel »

A radical austerity drive has triggered the biggest political upheaval in Athens since the end of the military dictatorship in 1974. So far, it is leftist parties who have benefitted the most from the debt crisis. The deeply divided left, however, would likely be unable to form a stable coalition.

Alexis Tsipras walks up to the lectern like Elvis strutting onstage. But when he begins to speak, all traces of youthfulness and ease vanish from his face. The “foreign loan sharks” have one thing on their minds, he barks into the microphone: “the impoverishment of the Greek people and the sellout of our country!” He slams his fist down and continues his speech, his voice booming. The Europeans, he says, are pursuing only one goal: to bring about the end of the sovereign Greek nation. “We must prevent Greece from becoming a German protectorate once again,” Tsipras says, practically shouting by now. “We are not a German colony.”

A Country in Flux

There are many uncertainties in Greece today: whether the country can remain in the euro zone, whether the €130 billion ($171.8 billion) second bailout package will sufficiently reduce the insolvent country’s staggering debt load, and whether the Greeks will ever implement the reforms their international creditors are demanding of them. At the moment, only one thing seems predictable: that nothing will remain the same. “Everything is changing, and everything is frightening,”… >continue<

Πάντα ῥεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει

- Heraclitus

photo - AFP

February 14th
12:10 PM

The World from Berlin
'Greece Cannot Be Ruled Against The Will Of It's People'

To the ears of European politicians growing weary of the seemingly insoluble Greek debt crisis, the message may sound familiar. Let’s promise to play along today so that tomorrow we can return to business as usual. Indeed, despite Monday night’s passage in Athens of a €3.3 billion austerity package — even as violent protests raged on the streets outside — euro-zone leaders have yet to give the green light to the €130 billion bailout package Greece so badly needs. In addition to several technical details that still need ironing out, Brussels wants the leaders of all major Greek political parties — including Samaras — to sign an agreement that they will implement the austerity measures even after general elections in April. Athens talk is increasingly viewed as cheap in Brussels….

Die Tageszeitung writes:

"Greece’s party political system is threatening to collapse. Conservatives and Social Democrats both spent decades creating a system of clientelism to provide their supporters with all manner of benefits. For the most part, such rewards took the form of public sector jobs. Now, with the self-service system … finally shrinking — leaving the parties with fewer goodies to pass out — a significant reason for voting for these parties has vanished. In the coming campaign, there is little doubt that these parties will nonetheless seek to outdo each other with promises. But most Greeks have now become deaf to their pledges. And they are right. That could be a chance for alternative parties that want to finally put an end to the system of clientelism. But they also don’t have an easy solution to the economic crisis because there are no easy solutions. One cannot underestimate the danger that fringe parties could now benefit from the collapse of trust — from the neo-Stalinist left to the extreme right-wing nationalists. With their rigid austerity policies that renounced all investment aid, European leaders have provided these parties with valuable help." >continue<

photos: Reuters & Der Spiegel

December 2nd
9:05 AM

Krugman: Profligate Zombies

Dean Baker has a series of posts about bad reporting on the euro crisis; he is evidently, and with good reason, upset at the way just about every report states as a fact that excessive borrowing caused the crisis.

This is another one of those zombie ideas that permeate our discourse; it’s part of the narrative, and no amount of evidence can kill it or even stop reporters/editors from stating it as a fact.

So, one more time, here are some data…  >continue<

November 7th
11:54 AM

Euro Zone Considers Solution of Last Resort

Der Spiegel

…Can the “big bazooka” that US politicians, in particular, like to invoke actually save the euro? Many economists are skeptical, because it is primarily economic imbalances that are creating ever-widening rifts between countries in the European currency area. The economic divide between the north, with its strong export economies, and the south, with its high consumption, has grown even further. At the same time, citizens are losing confidence in Europe’s ability to manage the crisis.

"Run for your lives" is the new motto in Europe, and not just among banks and insurance companies, which are selling off southern European bonds as quickly as they can, but also among ordinary holders of savings accounts. Banks and regulatory agencies are noticing that anxious citizens throughout Europe are trying to bring their money to safety. The flight of capital from Italy, Spain and Greece is in full swing.

…At the airport in Athens, passengers are often caught leaving the country with upwards of €100,000 in cash, well in excess of the €10,000 limit. This capital flight has triggered a boom in the European real estate market, especially in Berlin and London, where wealthy Greeks are buying second homes.  >continue<

November 2nd
12:45 PM

Greek Exit From Euro Zone Just a 'Matter of Time'

Der Spiegel | The World from Berlin

Papandreou’s announcement on Monday evening that he was planning to hold a referendum on the EU bailout package for his country has shocked and infuriated his would-be benefactors — and sent global markets into yet another tailspin.

The news came less than a week after an all-night bargaining session in Brussels that resulted in an agreement to slash Greek debt by 50 percent, make a further €130 billion in loans available to the country and leverage the EFSF to €1 trillion. Markets immediately calmed and the euro began climbing against the dollar.

German commentators on Wednesday take a look at the impending referendum.  >continue<

November 1st
11:33 AM
EU Shocked and Furious at Greek Referendum Plan

The shock announcement by Greek Prime Minister Giorgios Papandreou of a referendum on the Greek bailout has thrown efforts to rescue the single currency into doubt, unsettled global markets and angered EU leaders just days after they agreed a wide-ranging package to contain the debt crisis.Global stock markets fell on the news. German and French stock indices were down more than 3 percent on Tuesday, with banking shares among the main losers.
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said in a message posted on Twitter:  &#8220;I truly fail to understand what Greece intendes to have a referendum  about. Are there any real options?&#8221;  &gt;continue&lt;

Greek PM: &#8216;Supreme act of democracy&#8217;  |  Euro Crisis Liveblog
Greek government on brink of collapse, sources say

EU Shocked and Furious at Greek Referendum Plan

The shock announcement by Greek Prime Minister Giorgios Papandreou of a referendum on the Greek bailout has thrown efforts to rescue the single currency into doubt, unsettled global markets and angered EU leaders just days after they agreed a wide-ranging package to contain the debt crisis.

Global stock markets fell on the news. German and French stock indices were down more than 3 percent on Tuesday, with banking shares among the main losers.

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said in a message posted on Twitter: “I truly fail to understand what Greece intendes to have a referendum about. Are there any real options?”  >continue<

Greek PM: ‘Supreme act of democracy’  |  Euro Crisis Liveblog

Greek government on brink of collapse, sources say

October 18th
7:18 PM
Anti-banking protests continue on the streets of Germany 

"Greece has only been perceived as a money problem and the people and society have taken a back seat"

Anti-banking protests continue on the streets of Germany

"Greece has only been perceived as a money problem and the people and society have taken a back seat"

5:20 PM
The World from Berlin
In Germany, the main marches took place in Berlin and the country&#8217;s  financial center, Frankfurt. Demonstrators mounted protests in around 50  German cities, with total participation of more than 40,000 people&#8230;

Although Germany has been largely untouched by the crisis &#8212; at least compared to countries like Spain, Greece, Ireland or the United States &#8212; concerns are still growing here that the situation could soon deteriorate in a country that has been admired for so far steering clear of the worst of the global downturn.The German protests didn&#8217;t see any of the violence encountered in Rome over the weekend, where Black Block, autonomist demonstrators delivered some of the worst altercations with security officials seen there in years. Some are nevertheless asking if Germany and Europe are on the verge of experiencing widespread social unrest. &gt;continue&lt;

The World from Berlin

In Germany, the main marches took place in Berlin and the country’s financial center, Frankfurt. Demonstrators mounted protests in around 50 German cities, with total participation of more than 40,000 people…

Although Germany has been largely untouched by the crisis — at least compared to countries like Spain, Greece, Ireland or the United States — concerns are still growing here that the situation could soon deteriorate in a country that has been admired for so far steering clear of the worst of the global downturn.

The German protests didn’t see any of the violence encountered in Rome over the weekend, where Black Block, autonomist demonstrators delivered some of the worst altercations with security officials seen there in years. Some are nevertheless asking if Germany and Europe are on the verge of experiencing widespread social unrest. >continue<