Greece Succumbs, the Outcome Was Written

Erasmo Calzadilla

Alexis Tsipras, leader of Greece’s governing Syriza Party. Photo:

HAVANA TIMES — Back in January when Syriza was about to win I published a post saying how difficult it would be them to fulfill their election promises. These included a wage increase, provide assistance to the needy, reverse layoffs and reject the austerity plan of the EU Troika.  This was the program of the left coalition led by Alexis Tsipras.

To achieve such noble purposes the Greek economy would have to grow in no small way, but such growth would be almost a miracle in the midst of the serious crisis plaguing the countries of southern Europe.

Analysts who believed that the crisis was irreversible due to the global energy decline, predicting a dark future for Greece, were right on target. If politicians and the Greek people had listened to those predictions the path taken would have been different.

But no, they opted to bet on growth and now they are harvesting the bitter fruit of this misguided and irresponsible approach. Today the Greek economy lies in ruins (restrictions on access to people’s financial assets included) and the left shows a blot on his record while the right (fascism included) rubs its hands.

In a few months it will be up to Spain to decide who will govern for the coming years. I pray that the new political party Podemos wins but with the disaster facing its cousin Syriza, things look ugly.

By the way, Podemos also aspires to achieve exponential economic growth.



Erasmo Calzadilla

Erasmo Calzadilla: I find it difficult to introduce myself in public. I've tried many times but it doesn’t flow. I’m more less how I appear in my posts, add some unpresentable qualities and stir; that should do for a first approach. If you want to dig a little deeper, ask me for an appointment and wait for a reply.

22 thoughts on “Greece Succumbs, the Outcome Was Written

  • PASOK is considered a social democratic party. I never said otherwise. My use of political terminology is consistent, specific and accurate.

    The economy of Brazil is in serious trouble and a massive corruption scandal is engulfing Dilma’s government. Corruption, public & private, was the biggest cause of Greece’s economic woes.

    I did not say that austerity has not hit hard. I said that if they think the half-assed austerity budgets their government has half-heartedly enforced have been bad, they haven’t seen anything yet. Just wait till they get booted from the EU and have to go back to the drachma, and with no access to IMF or EU capital loans. That’s when the real austerity starts.

  • The spell-checker changed Syriza to Syria. Greece under the social democratic PASOK had a mixed economy, mainly capitalist but with extensive social programs and state ownership of key sectors of the economy. They also had rampant corruption,

    You can call it whatever you like, but PASOK called it Greek socialism.

  • Half the population under 25 is unemployed creating massive poverty and likely future civil unrest .
    It is in the interests of the owners to produce with as few workers as possible to increase profits.
    That is a factor of capitalism and would not a problem for a socialist society in which work would be guaranteed .
    The problem is the way we distribute goods and services in the world and that method is capitalism .
    An example: The world at present produces some 119% of food needed by the planet’s people .
    Yet each year millions die of starvation because they can’t earn the US$2.00 a day it takes to survive.
    That is a factor of capitalism that kills daily.
    Greece is the tip of an emerging iceberg of unemployment and poverty caused by globalization and more and more now, automation .
    As bad as things are for Greece , it’s just the beginning of a general collapse of capitalism worldwide.
    The bad news: capitalism is collapsing.
    The good news: capitalism is collapsing.

  • “The far left Syria government ……” ?
    Can you list the insane policies of the Syriza Party ?
    When Pasok ran Greece, did it have a capitalist economy or a ( worker-run , from the bottom ) socialist economy ?
    Hint: In the 100,000 year history of humanity there has NEVER been a socialist economy.

  • There has never been a socialist economy in the history of humanity.
    In order to be a socialist economy, that economy must be run by the workers from the bottom up in a democratic (majority rule ) fashion.
    What you CHOOSE to erroneously term socialist economies in the Soviet Union, Cuba etc were, IN FACT, state capitalist economies with politicians acting as the bosses do in free-enterprise capitalism .
    Democracy has yet to be tried in capitalist enterprises because capitalism is antithetical to democracy.
    So whether it is free enterprise capitalism or state capitalism it CANNOT be democratic.
    And because all the so-called communist countries had totalitarian economic forms they far more closely resemble free-enterprise capitalism and calling them either socialist of communist is just plain wrong.
    Moses, living in retirement community I get to deal with many aged people to whom it is necessary to repeat things because of their mental limitations and afflictions .
    You make me feel right at home repeating basic truths you can’t seem to either remember or effectively argue against .

  • Margaret Thatcher, like you deliberately misstated what socialism is .
    The problem with Greece is the economy.
    Any economy with a 50% unemployment rate in the under-25 bracket is in deep shit and no loan or other method WITHIN capitalism can address the present and worsening unemployment problem .
    Both ongoing globalization and the rapidly developing automation of all workplaces will create many, many Greeces all over the world in the next two decades.
    Capitalism is in a process of collapsing worldwide due to these factors and the last nail in capitalism’s coffin will be the smarter-than-human very advanced robots/androids that will widely come on line in almost every occupation during the mid 2020s.
    In short, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
    I just finished reading Robert Ford’s “Rise of The Robots: Technology And The Threat Of A Jobless Future and ” The Second Machine Age: Work , Progress and Prosperity In A Time Of Brilliant Technologies ”
    Brynjolfsson and McAfee.
    You can’t have capitalism without all those human workers’ paychecks and although you will not accept that the technologies will replace most humans in the workplace in the short time frame in which it MUST happen ( Moore’s Law) , the end of capitalism is not only in sight but well within most of our lifetimes .
    So Greece is just a harbinger of what is to come for most of the world’s capitalist economies .

  • PASOK are normally described as a center-left party rather than socialist. But what we get from you and Moses is terminology hopping when it suits you. Where the economy is doing well you will say “but it’s not really socialist” and if things are going badly “it’s socialist”. Take Brazil or the UK under Blair – both countries where left of center governments have done well.

    I don’t think the Greek people would agree with you that austerity hasn’t hit hard. They’ve suffered greatly and it hasn’t helped the economy at all.

  • Greece was ruled by socialists, PASOK, for decades. That’s when the problems were started. After the financial crisis of 2008, a caretaker independent government ruled briefly, followed by brief governments alternating the centre-right New Democracy Party & PASOK. They were hamstrung by the Leftists in parliament and were never able to implement proper structural reforms. The so-called “austerity” budgets of the last few years were watered down and largely unexecuted. The far left Syria government rules today, with support in parliament from the far right Golden Dawn party. Good luck getting any sane policy from either of those two extremists.

  • You are mistaken. As proportion of the public budget, the military is a small fraction.

    In 2014, Greece spent 2.2% of GDP on their military. This compares with 3.5% in Cuba, 5.2% in Israel, 15% in Oman, 4.5% in Russia, 10.8% in Saudi Arabia, and 3.5% in the USA.

    Greece spends a lot on public sector employees & social programs. But their biggest problem is the failure to collect taxes. Tax evasion and benefit fraud are costing Greece over $100 billion per year in lost revenues.

  • Well said. The theory of aggregate demand where spending borrowed money on public sector via hiring inessential workers and give aways is the same as building productive capacity is nothing short of political malpactrice.

  • Greece has failed six times to adhere to the limits imposed by these budgets.

  • Greece’s problems started way before the Socialists came to power. The country has suffered six neo-liberal austerity budgets already. Why hasn’t that worked?

  • Greece’s debts are primarily due to huge military spending…including 2 submarines bought from Germany. (A Greek admiral resigned in protest against the submarine purchase.) But bourgeois propaganda is to blame pensioners and workers and make them pay for the politicians alliance with the military. There is a danger of a coup (like Chile in 1973) unless Greek workers are armed.

  • Global recession? Is that what this thread is about? What is a pseudo – capitalist? Face it, socialism has failed everywhere it has been tried. How’s that for sticking to the facts?

  • How is it being bled dry exactly. As I understand it, the problem is simple, Greece spends more than than the revenue it takes in. They simply don’t have enough money to pay all the massive social programs and benefits. It actually would have been better if they were not part if the Euro because they could have devalued the currency. But that’s not an option.

    … back to my question. How was Greece being bled dry bay “capitalist”

  • Stick to facts, the global recession was created by you and your so called countrymen.
    The late Lady Thatcher said many things but everyone including you Patterson are entitled to an opinion.
    As for Greece, it is the thin edge of the wedge as far as the Eurozone is concerned. Too many pseudo capitalists bleeding it dry.

  • The government of Puerto Rico screwed up the economy. Instead of helping to foster the growth of local industry and agriculture, they borrowed and spent money they didn’t have, hiring far too many public sector workers. High taxes drove investment out of PR. The result is a huge debt and a shrinking economy. Meanwhile, the Puerto Rican people are now leaving in droves.

  • Greece’s failure has nothing to do with the price of oil. The country defrauded Europe, a fraud they have ocknowledged. The fraud was made naked after Lehman failed. The bail out package has failed to assist Greece restructure their economy. While they made some progress with pension reform, little progress on a transparent tax system and open labor market has been made. They need to fail in order to rework their economic regulations.

  • Very similar to what happened to Cuba after the Soviet Union failed. The Greeks are in for a special period.

  • Erasmo, I think the world needs to step back and understand what exactly is really going on. We in the US just got a wake up call, totally expected, that Puerto Rico cannot pay their debt. Time to figure out how to find solutions as this, I believe, is just the tip of the iceberg.

  • What is your opinion on the debt problems of Puerto Rico ?

  • Margaret Thatcher said it best, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” The Greeks have run out of German and other EU bailout money.

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