A very brief analysis of the so-called Greek problem

I wanted to repost here an analysis of the Greek crisis by Nightfall's singer Efthimis Karadimas. The reason for doing this is not just because he is my bandmate, as someone would argue, but because more people should be aware that Nightfall is not all about aggressive guitars & grotesque melodies. Nightfall is a philosophical artistic ship. I will let Efthimis now continue this introduction with his views on the economic turmoil that has been devastating this "land of holy grace"!

"Many things are said the last few weeks about the Greek debt problem and the attitude of the Hellenic State and its citizens collectively. As an artistic vehicle of Greek origin Nightfall take the opportunity to offer music people -who may lack proper information about the political and financial matters ruling everyone’s life these harsh days- a brief view of current events.
Firstly it is worthy to mention to everyone abroad that there is a massive pressure lately towards a financial reform. People become poorer or losing their jobs while a terror cloud of uncertainty regarding tomorrow’s state of events is haunting the skies. The effort is great and the majority of Greek people stands for the European Unity, and understands the urgency of the times who demand vast changes right here right now.
It is pity however reading comments and hearing voices about a supposing lousy Greek respond to the problem or total ignorance of the very difficult situation the Western world is experiencing nowadays. Moreover it is unfair to blame Greece only for all the evil deeds in the world’s economy, which are many.
To understand the problem we must accept that European Union is an experiment unique in the history of man. Never again so many different races and cultures with such a deep past have decided to come together in free will.
The Union includes all the great elements of the continent’s civilization starting from its monolith, the ancient Greek states, then the Roman Empire, the East Roman Empire aka Byzantine Empire and all the way to our fellow French and Germans among others.
The experiment seemed to be working with global prosperity being the most important supporter of it all. Then the common currency was introduced. That was a brave step. But without a central government, a sole Ministry of Finance to conduct everything, it was doomed to cause trouble sooner or later. That omission is what politicians and economists try to fix now. But it is a very difficult task as manoeuvres and ideas about solving it crush onto the wall of global debt crisis. That is the main problem here.
That infamous crisis was spawned in the US banking system and brought the entire financial mechanism to its knees on September 15th, 2008. Lots of leverage, lots of “cheap” money to everybody for a serial of years and absolute lack of regulation soon led to lots of loans being red and the Cult of Credit being shaky. Lehman brothers blew the heart of that devil in angel’s face by its collapse that literally shook the foundations of the entire world. The outcome is heavier debts, massive unemployment, and less cash to spend. That is a shrinking economy known as Recession.
Greece, a small market, could not react alone. Usually in such cases currency is depreciated to keep domestic economy floating. With Euro that is impossible. Hence other, new measures required, which are nothing but new experiments with unknown results. Corruption, on the other hand, and mismanagement exist and take a heavy toll too. But even without “black” economy and political mistakes things would not be that different to the grim reality of today.
Modern theories about a completely free market to boost global trade are deteriorating weak societies. That is not an excuse. It is a fact. You produce something I don’t have the monies to buy, but once you give me a loan or two, I will buy it. Good marketing is part of good strategy too. Who adds wins. Nobody doubts about the materialistic world we, the Westerns, live the last decades. So, you keep producing more and you are making more and your customers borrow money to spend more and the economy grows in numbers making everybody happy in this carnival of spending pleasure. Until the day the borrower cannot pay you back. You knew it that day will come. Lender and borrower have been together in this since day one. It always takes two to tango, and many more this time.
As this systemic crisis was not enough, illegal immigrants have made it worse. Greece, the eastern lighthouse of European civilization has been trying its best to block the ways to the waves of immigrants trying to go to the wealthier European countries. Efforts on this purpose made without serious support by fellow members as it never been taken seriously enough the fact that Greek boarders are also Europe’s ultimate frontier. And all those illegal immigrants finally settled in Greek territory with the negative effects such massive intrusion can cause to a fragile society.
Regretfully when the biggest part of Europe lived the Renaissance, poor Greeks had to secure their heads on their shoulders (there was specific tax for that purpose precisely); Ottoman Empire was an endless source of wrongful taxes anybody could come up with and demand it on the spot or you were dead. Struggling about four centuries in absolute injustice and fear can really change the way one faces “state” and the security it provides. That fear is maybe the reason of the crazy expenses for military means that cost a fortune too as Greece is number one spender among EU countries in terms of GDP percentage.
The above is considered as a very brief comment for an observer with no financial background to use in his or her effort to understand the whole mess named world economy these days.
For those wishing to go further, the issues of the ageing population in Europe and in the USA (the Social Security enigma or how the shrinking working force will succeed or fail to support the expanding retired masses), or the Chinese impact to the western world (with the millions of new mid class individuals increasing the global consumption of food and energy and their prices while minimizing the cost of labour and push western competitors out of the game) may secure endless hours of intense reading and wondering about tomorrow’s status.
Apparently we are reaching the end of times as we know it. Theoretically we are at a point similar to the pre World War II era where the situation described here above was horrifically alike. After all, when a society has movie or music idols as its prime role models in life what else can you expect?
Things change through suffering. But we all are obliged to move on. It is not Greece to blame but greediness and the wrong hierarchy of our priorities as civilised human beings."
Thank you for your time!
Efthimis Karadimas on behalf of Nightfall!

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