Chris Trotter’s politically incoherent rant about Greece

Chris Trotter can usually be relied on to give a sensible opinion on most political matters, though occasionally he loses himself in an orgy of self congratulation when it appears someone can claim ?Capitalism doesn?t Work?.

Chris’ delusions about capitalism and the Greek Crisis have come to a head with a piece where he welcomes the bludging Greek ratbags voting not to pay their debts.

He usually gets the diagnosis right, but doesn’t always get the treatment right.

THE UNFOLDING CRISIS?in Greece has stripped Neoliberalism of its protective disguise and the world is recoiling from its ugliness. In normal circumstances the true purposes of the world?s neoliberal elites are masked by their use of opaque economic jargon. In the case of Greece, however, the social science of economics has been turned against them by some of its most impressive exponents. Nobel laureates Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman have told the world that what is being done to Greece has nothing to do with economics, and everything to do with politics. A whole country is being driven to the wall in a desperate bid to destroy its left-wing government. Neoliberalism simply cannot allow the Greek Prime Minister?s, Alexis Tsipras?s, powerful lessons in democracy to go unpunished. If his Syriza Party is allowed to defeat austerity in Greece, what is there to prevent Podemos from defeating it in Spain? Or Sinn Fein in Ireland?

Yes Chris, it is all to do with politics, although those from the Austrian or Chicago schools of economics might disagree with well known left-wingers and Keynsians, Stigliz and Krugman. The politics is pretty easy to understand, especially if you take a step back from the ideology of a looney left Greek government who says ?We won?t pay you?.

Germany?s 72-year-old Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schauble, has clearly been unable to cope with his 54-year-old Greek counterpart, Yanis Varoufakis. Everything about the free-wheeling Greek economics professor offends the unyielding German ideologue. Varoufakis has been unsparing in his criticism of Germany?s inability to grasp the necessity for Greek debt relief (which even the IMF now acknowledges). It?s an act of insubordination which Schauble and his colleagues are resolutely determined to punish. So unchallenged has neoliberalism?s ideological hegemony been since the collapse of Soviet-style socialism that it finds itself unable to adequately respond to Varoufakis?s neo-Keynesian populist critiques. Their greatest fear is that, like the little boy in the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, the Greek Finance Minister will draw the world?s attention to the fact that the neoliberal German Emperor is wearing no clothes.?

Despite Chris? rhetorical flourishes, he has failed to identify why the Germans might have the shits with the broken arse Greeks who are trying to dodge paying back their debts.

The ratbag Greeks borrowed money to pay pensions to 50 year olds, and piss away money on a bloated government bureaucracy, and failing to collect taxes properly, bludging off the Germans to let the Greeks live the kind of life hard working Germans would love. The Germans won?t do a deal until the Greeks stop paying middle aged people for doing nothing, or that all Greeks pay their fair share of taxes.

The reason for this has got nothing at all to do with the Germans love of Neoliberalism. Most Germans wouldn’t know what Neoliberalism is if it came up behind them and bit them on the arse. What the good hardworking burghers do understand is that the Greeks expect hardworking Germans to keep paying Greek pensions, Greek make work schemes and let the Greeks avoid tax.

Politically supporting paying the ratbag Greeks to let their people go on the bludge while the Germans are working their guts out is a non starter. Any German government that voted for more Greek bludging would be turfed out at the next election by the hardworking Germans who don?t want to pay another Euro to the bludging Greeks.

And it is not just the Germans. The Finns and the Dutch political class know that if they tax their voters to fund the Greeks the voters will kick them out at the next election.

Chris? mistake is to fail to realise that democracy works right across Europe, and politicians from creditor countries like getting reelected.

Democracy trumps neoliberalism, especially in countries where they work hard and pay their taxes, so there is no way the Germans or the Dutch or the Finns can ever let the Greeks bludge more from their hardworking voters.


– Bowalley Road