Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Other views on Greece

There have been some very good pieces written on Greece, but they aren't in the MSM. Here's a sampling of some I have found useful. My criteria, BTW, are that they be clear, logical, factually sound, in line with well understood economics, and largely invective free... in other words, they must generate more light than heat.

Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) does very good work.  This post by analyst Angel Uribe nicely documents that austerity worked until Syriza upset economic growth, and that the entire Greek debacle has become a battleground for differing economic schools of thought.

Jacob Funk Kirkegaard, also of PIIE, has quite a few posts on Greece.  Here's one of his best, in which he nicely sums up the intransigence and irresponsibility of Syriza and why Greece's creditors must be unforgiving with them.

There are numerous other worthwhile posts on this subject on PIIE's Real Time Economic Issues Watch.

How many people are aware that over the five years of the Greek crisis France has managed to shift almost all of its holding of Greek debt -- both by banks and by the French government -- to Germany, Italy, and Spain?  No wonder it's the French who are most adamant that Greece be given another chance while nearly everyone else in Europe is disgusted with Greece.

And despite the new Finance Minister, Syriza continues to be a clown act.

The Independent Institute's analyst Ivan Eland concisely summarizes the argument that it is Greece's own financial irresponsibility to blame and simultaneously documents (and nicely criticizes) Paul Krugman's position that continuing to pour other peoples' money into Greece indefinitely is the answer.  And in the comments you'll see hostile responses from readers who imagine themselves "libertarians."  Don't these "libertarians" realize they are endorsing raising taxes on people in the rest of Europe (and all over the world since IMF is a party here) to pay for Greek government spending?  Good grief!

I cited previously, but in sp!ked Tim Black makes a good case for why Greece should simply get out of the eurozone.

Analytic philosopher John Pepple has two nice posts on Greece that distill the complex issues to a few clear basic points, something he tends to do quite well.  The first, on the disadvantages of debt, I don't fully agree with since, as I've argued, there can be good reasons to take on debt, but he is largely correct -- a person, family, firm, or country should avoid debt unless there's darned good reason for it.  Pepple's second looks at the (IMO ridiculous) argument that the Greek referendum was a triumph for democracy, and asks if perhaps all the people in other countries who are expected to bail out the Greeks shouldn't also have a referendum to see if they want to have to pay.  Like most impertinent questions, this one is quite appropriate.

Finally, from an otherwise hideous blog on personal debt restructuring (from which I took the "debt free" picture a few posts down), some very perceptive advice:

Here’s the biggest tip anyone could possibly give you to reducing your debt and staying out of debt once you get everything paid down; stop spending more than you make!!!

Greece, are you listening?

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