It is astounding. The EU-greece crisis provokes a lot of comments in the temporary press. Politicians, which you have never seen before, are promoted to be ‘Greece experts‘ or ‘financial experts‘ and are allowed to give their two cents about the crisis. Within the German press there is a striking media framing along the lines that “Greece is guilty, unresponsible, irrationale” whereas the ‘Institutions‘ are the benevolent caretakers, “holding the door open”, “wanting to rescue Greece”. If one reads international newspapers, the picture is completely different. Here, the critical voices are much stronger, blaming the German EU-policy based on the dogma of austerity. I want to mention a few articles that are especially noteworthy in this context.The following articles and op’eds are pieces from renown scientists, philosophers and scholars who shed an interesting light on the Greece-EU crisis. They present an academia or intelligentsia view on the topic, in stark contrast to opinion pieces by politicians who have little expertise on economic topics at all.
Slavoj Žižek on Greece: This is a chance for Europe to awaken The Greeks are correct: “Brussels’ denial that this is an ideological question is ideology at its purest – and symptomatic of our whole political process. What is interesting about this article is that Zizek, a leftist critic of ideology brilliantly unmasks the ideology held by the EU-institutions which themselves blame the left-wing government in Greece to be ideological and unrational.”
German conservatives are destroying Europe with austerity, says economist Thomas Piketty. Piketty, who wrote a brilliant book about new economic theory and who is a renown expert summarizes the double-standards within German austerity doctrine: in the past, Germany never fully repaid its debt (after WW1, WW2) and the German ‘Wirtschaftswunder‘ (economic bloom) was only possible because of a debt-cut in the 1950s and the generous infrastructure program called the Marshall Plan.
- Habermas: Warum Merkels Griechenland-Politik ein Fehler is (Jürgen Habermas on why Merkel’s Greece policy is a failure). Although the article is written in German, Habermas makes a few key points. The plan to create a monetary union first, and afterwards a political and cultural union failed because money does not integrate as well as common culture. Now, with the binding element in form of the Euro in crisis, Europe is on a brink of failure. It was a failure to treat the interests of banks and investors as primary while ignoring the people in Europe. The referendum on Greece is a noble act of rebellion against a technocratic elite governing Europe, restraint to change and ignoring the enormous democratic deficit.
Joseph Stiglitz: how I would vote in the Greek referendum. Stiglitz, Nobel Price winner, writes: ” Of course, the economics behind the programme that the “troika” (the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund) foisted on Greece five years ago has been abysmal, resulting in a 25% decline in the country’s GDP. I can think of no depression, ever, that has been so deliberate and had such catastrophic consequences: Greece’s rate of youth unemployment, for example, now exceeds 60%. It is startling that the troika has refused to accept responsibility for any of this or admit how bad its forecasts and models have been. But what is even more surprising is that Europe’s leaders have not even learned. The troika is still demanding that Greece achieve a primary budget surplus (excluding interest payments) of 3.5% of GDP by 2018. Economists around the world have condemned that target as punitive, because aiming for it will inevitably result in a deeper downturn. Indeed, even if Greece’s debt is restructured beyond anything imaginable, the country will remain in depression if voters there commit to the troika’s target in the snap referendum to be held this weekend.… We should be clear: almost none of the huge amount of money loaned to Greece has actually gone there. It has gone to pay out private-sector creditors – including German and French banks. Greece has gotten but a pittance, but it has paid a high price to preserve these countries’ banking systems. The IMF and the other “official” creditors do not need the money that is being demanded. Under a business-as-usual scenario, the money received would most likely just be lent out again to Greece.”