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Monday, May 03, 2010

Some European Reactions

Some reactions
La Vanguardia put up a poll asking if the Greek crisis would spread to Spain. 77% thought it was a threat. The comments were strikingly pessimistic. Sorry for crappy translations, so I'll list original and rough:
The poll question:
¿Cree que la crisis económica griega puede acabar arrastrando a España?

La crisis griega no va a arrastar a España, España se arrastra sola a su propia crisis.(The Greek crisis isn't going to pull down Spain, Spain will drag itself down with its own crisis.)

No hay duda de que ZP es un personaje que con su ceguera monumental nos va a llevar a la ruina. Se ha vendido a los sindicatos y su propio plan para volver a ganar las elecciones del 2012 y no perder el poder. De todas formas, reconozcamos que hay muchos paises, bancos, empresas y organizaciones mundiales que quieren hundir el Euro. El Euro ha plantado cara al Dolar y a la Libra, por ejemplo, y eso ha sentado fatal a algunos.(Without a doubt ZP is a person who will carry us to run with his monumental blindness. He has sold out to the unions and his own plan to win the 2010 elections and not lose power. In many ways, we realize that there are many countries, banks, companies and world-wide organizations that want to sink the Euro. The Euro has grown expensive compared to the Dollar and the Pound, for example, and that will be fatal to some.)

No, decididamente no. Grecia no arrastra a España a la crisis. España va sola a la bancarrota, no necesita a los Griegos. ZP solo el es capaz de hacerlo.(No, definitely not. Greek won't take down Spain - Spain is heading toward bankruptcy on its own, it does not depend on the Greeks. ZP alone can get it done.)

There are almost 700 pages of responses in the Spiegel discussion "Can German taxpayers save the Greeks?"
Here's a fragment of one long comment:
Die Krise Griechenlands ist eine schwere Existenzkrise der Europäischen Union, die auch Deutschland mit einem finanziellen Makeup für die Hellenen nicht beheben kann. Es wird unausweichlich, das monströse Gebilde grundlegend zu restrukturieren. Nur wenn sich die Verantwortlichen dazu bekennen und einschneidende Konsequenzen ziehen, kann die EU überleben. Im Rückblick geht es nicht um Schuld und Fehler: Utopien sind wichtig, sie bringen die Menschen voran, doch man darf nicht blind an ihnen festhalten, wenn sie zu scheitern drohen. Der Euro sollte der große Katalysator für das Entstehen einer europäischen Solidarität werden, doch nun stellt er sie akut in Frage. Das antizipierte Gemeinschaftsgefühl war mehr an der Profilierung gegenüber den USA ausgerichtet als an den ökonomischen Realitäten. Europa ist noch längst keine stabile wirtschaftliche Gemeinschaft, auf der eine ideelle aufbauen könnte – Europa bleibt ein Versuch.(The Greek crisis is a major existential crisis for the EU, that even Germany can't lift with a financial makeup for the Greeks. It's unavoidable that the monstrous debt must be restructured - but only if the responsible parties own up to it and extract the drastic consequences can the EU survive. In retrospect this doesn't involve guilt and error; utopias are necessary because they advance mankind, but one can't stick blindly to them if they are threatened with failure. The Euro was supposed to be the great catalyst for the development of a European solidarity, but now the [the Euro] is bringing European solidarity acutely in question. The anticipated community feeling was shaped [developed/aligned] more as a contrast [in opposition] to the US than economic realities. Europe is still no stable economic society which can serve as the foundation of an ideal - Europe remains an attempt.}

From page 301:
wie dumm unsere "Eliten" den gleichen Weg gehen
wie immer.
Hartz IV ist zu teuer!
Wir brauchen das Geld für die Banken!
Wir müssen den Gürtel enger schnallen damit die Griechen
/die EU weiter schlemmen können!

Unsere Kinder sitzen in zugigen Schulen auf 30-40
Jahren alten Stühlen und die Bücher sind oft auch
nicht neuer (oder müssen gleich selbst neu gekauft
werden), die Strassen sind voller Schlaglöcher
(schon vor dem Winter!) und für jeden Mist fallen
Gebühren und Zuzahlungen an bei gleichzeitig
stagnierenden Löhnen.

Ich halte nichts von radikalen (egal welchen Randes),
aber manchmal habe ich den Eindruck unsere Politiker
arbeiten Aktiv auf ein 4. Reich oder DDR 2.0 hin.

Anders kann ich mir deren dilettantische Politik
bald nicht mehr erklären.
(How stupidly our elites continue in their ways.
Hartz IV is too expensive! We need the money for the banks!
We have to tighten our belts to bring the Greeks closer into the EU!

Our children sit in antiquated schools on 30 to 40 year old stools,
and the books are often not newer (or must be bought new), the roads
are full of potholes, and for everyone a shit shower - fees and
additional payments on top of stagnating wages.

I don't hold with radicals (of either wing), but often I get the
impression that our politicians are working for the fourth Reich or
East Germany 2.0.

Otherwise I can no longer explain their dilettante politics.)

On page 401 a Greek showed up and apologized, but asked why they were singled out, said that most people in Greece worked hard, that life was much more expensive in Greece, etc. By page 501 Merkel is getting called a whole bunch of names. A whole lot of bitterness toward the banks. They're counting up how much in Greek bonds each countries' banks have. One poster lists short-term and total debts for several countries (including Great Britain, the US and Greece) and then remarks that it is only a matter of weeks or months until another larger country defaults and then the monetary system breaks down.

It's really interesting. There is a lot of chatter about Chinese competition. A proposal for Holland and Germany to adopt a common "mark" currency.

A comic note: one person had asked what measures a currency expert would recommend for the average person to deal with inflation. The reply:
30 % Goldbarren, 30 % Schweizer Franken, 10 % den Weinkeller mit einem guten Tropfen auffüllen, hält sich lange, 10% der Frau ein schönes Geschenk (Schmuck), 10 % Energiegewinnung aufs Dach und den Rest mittels eines schönen Abends versaufen oder zur Bank bringen ist aber dito. wie versaufen.
{30% gold bars, 30% Swiss francs, 10% fill the wine celler with good vinages, 10% a nice present for the wife (jewels), 10% solar on the roof, and the rest drink up in a nice evening or take to the bank, but that's the same thing, as if you drank it up.)

So through the IMF, the US taxpayer is bailing
out Greece and subsequently Euro banks. I suppose
further taxation will help our economy. The current
world has grown too complicated to function.

The more I think about it, M_O_M, the more I think you're right about WW3. It's about 10 years away. First we have to endure the secondary financial panic, and the political chaos that comes in its wake.

I have no idea what will become of Europe. There's a lot of dark and nasty things that have been kept suppressed, but not killed, the last 60 years. The lid is about to come off...
It was my belief that German schools are funded at regional level, so the amount of money available to schools reflects directly the strength of local industries and businesses.

Am I wrong?
That's an interesting question. I don't know. I do know that a lot of regional funding comes from their share of the sales taxes. So perhaps we are also seeing the consumption slowdown.

There was an additional unification tax added. I know the labor negotiations were bitter in 2008.
Sporkfed - a lot of the European commenters would seem to agree with you.
Neil - we're human beings. There is always a lot of dark and bitter stuff down deep.

In the US, for whatever reason, it has mostly come out in the wash and we have managed to rack up continuous progress, but that will be tested in the years to come. I do have the sense that in some European areas the mood is much, much worse than here.
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