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Dr. George Vardangalos
(Electrical and Computer Engineer, Independent IT & Business Consultant)


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Introduction

The EU Summit on 8-9 December 2011 has finished. It was decided that Eurozone countries will aim to finalize by March a new treaty that imposes more central control over national budgets. The treaty will set out stricter rules for a “fiscal compact”.

Countries that fail to respect limits on debt and deficit levels would be subject to almost automatic sanctions, which could be blocked only by a weighted majority of member states. It is obvious that a consequent loss of national sovereignty to the EU comes upon the members of the new “euro-plus” zone.

This new “euro-plus” zone is nothing more than a German fiscal panopticon [1]. Every time a member country fails to respect these limits, it must slash social programs (is there any limit in these cuts?) and impose austerity policies on the population without end. And of course, all the above won’t work. They will just result in the loss of sovereignty and democracy of the member country, economic misery, and a hopeless future for millions of people. Does anybody address the issue of sustainable growth?

This new treaty expresses the will of a part of the German financial elite to transform the Eurozone of the several member countries to One/United State (Единое Государство) [2] of Germany. In my opinion, there is a large possibility that all these that have been decided in the summit won’t be finalized by March, and what is going to be voted, if so, will be totally different from the agreement of the last EU summit.

In fact, the last agreement doesn’t do anything to stabilize the euro. It doesn’t give any solution to the debt crisis, not only concerning public debt, but also to the total and/or external debt of the biggest western countries [3], [4].  A probable downgrade of France in the next days/weeks will change the agenda of the next EU summits again.

Greek economic developments in the coming months

It was mentioned in a previous article [3]:

On the contrary, the plan kills any probability of growth in Greece for the next 3 years. The economy can’t proceed to growth paths, when there are huge tax invasions in the middle class income. And this killing of growth with these austerity measures is certain, when we know that Greece is in recession one year before the implementation of the “rescue plan”…

... The targets of the Greek budget for 2011 won’t be caught because the additional austerity measures that have been planned won’t bring additional revenues. That should be easily known for someone who has studied the theory of Laffer curve...

On the 13th of December 2011 IMF admitted that their plan had mistakes, especially in the imposition of very high taxes on the Greeks.  But, on the other hand, the catastrophic mixture of taxes and cuts in wages and pensions will continue till 2015 (at least), as it was decided and “signed” last October.

The collapse in the real Greek economy was obvious since the beginning of autumn and now is accelerating. This will be reflected in the final numbers of Greece’s economy in 2011. The downturn in 2011 will be finally 6% of GDP or more [5]. The deficit of the government will reach nearly 10% of GDP (more than 3% of GDP is owed to the private sector, not recorded in the overall deficit).

Once again, troika’s predictions failed. And they will fail again in 2012. I expect the recession to be almost 5% next year (or more), giving me enough data for a prediction of recession in 2013, and not of a slight growth according to troika’s predictions. 2012 is the year when the full intensity of the taxation storm will be felt by Greek citizens, the cuts in wages and pensions will be almost the sum of the ones implemented in 2010-11 and of course the unemployment rate will skyrocket. The credit crunch will spread to a large proportion of the Greek population.

The private sector is in a death spiral [6]. Consumers’ spending is not recovering; the government has suspended payments to the private sector in order to “reduce” its deficit. As Mr Athanasopoulos (Retail Banking of NBG) said a few days ago in a Banker’s review conference, 30-40% of the Greek businesses existent in 2007 will disappear by 2012 [7]. In the same conference, it was mentioned that in Greece there is a “third-world” percentage of self-employed in the economy (30%, that is not true, of course), which is an obstacle to growth. For this reason, the percentage of self-employed should be reduced 50% or more.

It immediately reminded me what I had written [8] concerning the “Kristallnacht” procedure against the very weak self-employed and the owners of very small businesses, which is implemented by new tax measures targeting them. And it is obvious the goal of reducing 50% the self-employed will be achieved by the new taxation act, which will be voted in the following months. It will impose an income tax of 20% from the first euro, this income will be defined by “objective criteria” whether it exists or not, leading a large proportion of self-employed to the labor market exit (for the majority of the self-employed, the burden will be more than 50% of their income, including the payment to their professional insurance fund). The following example of self-employed engineers is characteristic. According to the chairman of the Technical Chamber of Greece, 50% of engineers are now unemployed or under-employed. In July an increase to the amount “new” engineers pay for their health care insurance and pension was voted. This increase is up to 93% and taking into account that this payment is considered as income, many engineers won’t afford to pay it (as well as the new income tax that will be voted) and now they are seeking for solutions abroad (a huge brain drain in progress).

Following the inevitable economic collapse of the next year under troika’s policies, Greece will suffer a sharp increase in the rates of poverty and economic inequality. Estimates by the International Labor Organization, based on troika’s taxation policies against the Greek people that are implemented retrospectively on the incomes of 2011 [9], say that another 20% of the Greek population could fall under the poverty line. Taking into account that already 20%, or more, of the Greeks are under the poverty line now, it is concluded that 30-40% of the Greeks will be in severe poverty in the following months, as a consequence of the new measures decided in October.

Public health indicators will show a dramatic corresponding decline. Life expectancy will start to drop for men and women in the poorest parts of the population. Both health factors and sharp increase in deaths of mostly young people from causes (such as murders, suicides and accidents will be caused by increased disregard for safety) will significantly contribute to this trend [10]. Deaths from infectious and parasitic diseases will increase, mainly because medicines will be no longer affordable to the poor. Of course, this already happens in so-called developed Germany during the last decade, regarding the poor part of its population [11]. There will be supply shortages of consumer goods related to the impoverishment of the Greek people. Greeks on fixed incomes (the vast majority of the workforce) will see their purchasing power drastically reduced.

Conclusions

The financial and social conditions in Greece are obviously depressionary. The austerity measures have driven Greeks into street [12]. Athens features today the biggest number of homeless and poor people, since the German occupation in 1940. The real unemployment rate is above 20%. The most frustrating thing is that the unemployment rate in young people is 46%. As they feel there is no future in their country, they are fleeing to countries that can offer them a job in what is described as the biggest emigration wave since the 1960s. A significant part of the remaining young people will be forced to follow the organized crime. Under these economic conditions increased criminality will be a “common practice”.

Political chaos is also on the horizon with the latest voted measures rupturing the ruling Pasok party as never before. With politicians frequently attacked by angry voters, many of them say they no longer have the stomach to endorse new measures on January that are turning the nation into "a poverty house”. But troika demands yet more "shock and awe" measures that should be decided by Greek government next month – job losses, tax hikes and pension cuts in a desperate try to cut the deficit. Moreover, the destruction of the public health care system and public education will be continued at an accelerated rate. Everyone knows the new measures that have been already prepared will give no solution in the death economic spiral. One way or another, the present political system is going to collapse in the following months, though it seems the corrupted political ruling elite won’t be affected so much.

The last scene of the Greek drama will be played when the lenders will demand the seizure of Greece’s public wealth. Troika’s “rescue plan” will come to a dead-end very soon. At that time the lenders will buy Greece’s public wealth at 10% or less of its real value.  Everything will be privatized. That will be the end of troika’s plan orchestrated by Germany, a plan for Greece’s “punishment” in the new framework of the German fiscal panopticon. The other member countries of the “euro-plus” zone, seeing the social and economic destruction brought by this plan, will do anything Germany wants them to do in order to avoid such measures on their people.
But it’s just a plan on paper. If Germany pushes Greece too much, even forcing Greece to exit the Eurozone, the only thing that will be achieved is the destabilization and, finally, the destruction of the Eurozone. From now on, the “behavior” of Germany against Greece will affect the triggering of processes for the global monetary reset, which I estimated that could happen some years later, in 2014-2018 [13].  The countries concerned must intervene now in the policies and plans of Germany, if they want to slow down that triggering.

References

[1] Panopticon, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panopticon  
[2] Zamyatin Yevgeny, We, http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%9C%D1%8B_%28%D1%80%D0%BE%D0%BC%D0%B0%D0%BD%29  (in Russian)
 [3] Greece on the brink of depression and the myths accompanying the EU-IMF “rescue” plan, RIEAS, January 2011, http://rieas.gr/images/vard1.pdf
[4] Eurozone debt web: Who owes what to whom, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15748696
[5] 6,9% recession in the first 9 months of 2011, http://www.enet.gr/?i=news.el.oikonomia&id=330992 (in Greek)
[6] The private sector in a death spiral, http://www.enet.gr/?i=news.el.oikonomia&id=331091 (in Greek)
[7] http://www.capital.gr/capitaltv/player.aspx?id=1124
[8] The results of the troika’s “rescue plan” implementation in Greece and the global debt crisis , August 2011, http://www.rieas.gr/images/vardagalos.pdf 
[9] 2 million Greeks are to fall under the poverty line, because of troika’s policies http://www.enet.gr/?i=news.el.oikonomia&id=330144 (in Greek)
[10] Suicides rose 40% in 2011, http://www.enet.gr/?i=news.el.ellada&id=330696 (in Greek)
 [11] Life expectancy falls for the poor Germans, http://www.newsit.gr/default.php?pname=Article&art_id=111284&catid=7 (in Greek)
 [12] Austerity drives Greeks into street, http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=8MnbY55yeSo
 [13] Global monetary reset: 2014-2018 http://www.am-rus.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=136%3A2011-05-29-21-36-32&catid=41&Itemid=68  (in Russian)

 

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