The Neo-Marx­ist threat to na­tional economies

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

The the­atri­cals and melo­drama of the cur­rent Greek cri­sis mask a far more se­ri­ous is­sue than mere po­lit­i­cal en­ter­tain­ment. The self-cre­ated se­quence of threats to Greece, i.e. sov­er­eign debt de­fault, bank­ruptcy, Eu­ro­zone exit and rel­e­ga­tion to the sta­tus of eco­nomic and fi­nan­cial back­wa­ter, if not in­ter­na­tional pariah, has al­ready started to be­come re­al­ity.

The EUR 1.6 bln debt re­pay­ment to the IMF was not paid on June 30. Over the pe­riod of July 10 to 20, Greece has to re­pay a fur­ther EUR 7 bln in var­i­ous debts (ECB, IMF, na­tional cen­tral banks and short-term trea­sury bills) and has no means to pay. Strin­gent cap­i­tal con­trols are al­ready im­posed and fi­nan­cial col­lapse im­mi­nent. A Greek ref­er­en­dum on con­tin­ued ac­cep­tance of the in­ter­na­tional bailout terms on July 5, on a bla­tantly false Yes/No prospec­tus, pro­duced a re­sound­ing No re­sult – and a show of pseudo-democ­racy at its most cyn­i­cal.

None of this hap­pened ei­ther by ac­ci­dent or ex­ter­nal malev­o­lence. This was the de­lib­er­ate in­ter­nal de­struc­tion of a na­tional econ­omy and fi­nances by its own gov­ern­ment for the sole pur­pose of ruth­lessly im­pos­ing a failed po­lit­i­cal ide­ol­ogy, namely Marx­ism dressed up in a mod­ern form.

Debt and debt de­fault have long been an ac­cepted way of life in Greece. Greece has ben­e­fit­ted from sev­eral in­ter­na­tional bailouts since 2010, each with strin­gent aus­ter­ity con­di­tions at­tached, which suc­ces­sive Greek gov­ern­ments failed to im­ple­ment. How­ever, in 2014 many felt that the sit­u­a­tion was con­trol­lable. The new fac­tor, which has pro­pelled Greece from ail­ing but just about man­age­able econ­omy in 2014 to the verge of eco­nomic col­lapse in July 2015, is the ar­rival in Jan­uary 2015 of the new hard left-wing gov­ern­ment of the Syriza party and its prime min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras.

Syriza won on a pop­ulist anti-aus­ter­ity and anti-Troika agenda. It por­trayed all of Greece’s woes as be­ing the fault of its in­ter­na­tional cred­i­tors and es­pe­cially the troika of the IMF, the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank and the EU. When Greece was verg­ing on fi­nan­cial bank­ruptcy in 2010, the Troika stepped in with a bailout pack­age cou­pled with strict con­di­tions such as eco­nomic re­form, dras­ti­cally curb­ing public ex­pen­di­ture, greatly in­creas­ing the ef­fec­tive­ness of tax col­lec­tion and tack­ling tax eva­sion. Lit­tle head­way in com­pli­ance oc­curred, ow­ing to the Greek gov­ern­ment’s re­luc­tance and a gen­eral cul­ture of debt de­fault, tax eva­sion, feather-bed­ded public sec­tor jobs with early re­tire­ment at 50, and gen­er­ous state pen­sions. How­ever, even­tu­ally the gov­ern­ment was forced to cut back. By 2014, the re­al­i­sa­tion that af­ter nearly five years of aus­ter­ity and more cuts com­ing with no end in sight drove many vot­ers into the arms of Syriza who were of­fer­ing im­me­di­ate sal­va­tion: a quick end to aus­ter­ity, re­ver­sal of public sec­tor job cuts, and a re­ver­sal of state pen­sion cuts.

But, the Syriza prospec­tus was and re­mains a com­plete eco­nomic and fi­nan­cial fan­tasy. The money for gov­ern­ment largesse has to come from some­where. For years, Greece’s fi­nances have been propped up by bailout funds from in­ter­na­tional cred­i­tors, but these are pri­mar­ily loans and they have to be re­paid. To do that, Greece ab­so­lutely needed to un­dergo rad­i­cal re­form of its econ­omy, public spend­ing, banks and tax gath­er­ing, so as to bet­ter bal­ance its books and re­turn to growth. Syriza be­lieves the op­po­site. They say that what must come first is public pride and dig­nity, that ev­ery citizen is en­ti­tled to a ba­sic stan­dard of liv­ing, and, cru­cially, that the state will en­sure that the public purse will pro­vide it re­gard­less. They say that the in­ter­na­tional cred­i­tors, and par­tic­u­lar for­eign gov­ern­ments they don’t like, owe the Greek peo­ple a high stan­dard of liv­ing which they are en­ti­tled to de­mand and re­ceive. Syriza has ab­so­lutely re­fused to coun­te­nance the ma­jor re­forms needed to de­liver such largesse – but nonethe­less in­sists that the in­ter­na­tional cred­i­tors must keep on pay­ing out bil­lions to Greece. Oh, and by the way, Greece will no longer make its sov­er­eign debt re­pay­ments (be­cause it has run out of money). On June 30, Greece be­came the first ever de­vel­oped coun­try to de­fault on an IMF loan. Greece is now on the cusp of fi­nan­cial col­lapse and a ru­inous fu­ture for its pop­u­la­tion.

Syriza

could not

pos­si­bly

de­liver such

a

pre­pos­ter­ous prom­ise to the elec­torate, based as it was on an end­less sup­ply of “other peo­ple’s money” and a re­fusal to re­form. The Syriza prom­ise ap­pears to be lit­tle more than a cyn­i­cal con­fi­dence trick on a po­lit­i­cally naïve and gullible pop­u­lace: tell them we will fight fe­ro­ciously to se­cure their jobs in the over-bloated public sec­tor, their overly-gen­er­ous pen­sions, their re­tire­ment at 50; they can also bor­row as much as like and never have to pay back any debts; it is their right and en­ti­tle­ment and it’s all those nasty for­eign cap­i­tal­ists and ‘neo-lib­eral’ poli­cies of for­eign cred­i­tors who say oth­er­wise who are to blame for your im­posed aus­ter­ity. The ag­gres­sive and of­ten ob­nox­ious rhetoric of dem­a­gogues such as Tsipras and Yanis Varoufakis against the EU, IMF and ECB built up over Syriza’s first and dis­as­trous six months in power to some­thing of a crescendo.

In Greece, Syriza’s neo-Marx­ist ide­ol­ogy of feck­less en­ti­tle­ment has be­come the opi­ate of the aus­ter­ity weary, ben­e­fit claimants, debt de­fault­ers, tax evaders and those un­will­ing to take any per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity for any­thing. When Greece was drown­ing in 2010 as a re­sult of its own in­com­pe­tence and eco­nomic mis­man­age­ment, the only life­line came from the Troika. Yet, hav­ing been saved by the Troika, many Greeks be­lieve (en­cour­aged by Syriza pro­pa­ganda) that their saviours were ac­tu­ally the cause (sic) of their debt-rid­den econ­omy and aus­ter­ity! A drown­ing man surely does not ac­cept a life­line and then, hav­ing been saved, com­plain bit­terly about the qual­ity of the life­line and the mo­tives of his saviours – and then blame the saviours for him nearly drown­ing and, worse, de­mand yet another life­line from those saviours as he now threat­ens to jump over a cliff!

Syriza is openly de­mand­ing that the Troika ca­pit­u­lates and hands over yet more bil­lions on an empty ‘Syriza prom­ise’. With their ap­palling track record to re­flect on, the Troika has pulled up the draw­bridge. More­over, the other EU mem­ber states are mind­ful of just how in­fu­ri­ated their own pop­u­la­tions have be­come by Greece’s par­a­sitic be­hav­iour. As EU taxpayers and con­trib­u­tors to the bailouts, they will no longer stand for Greece, in ef­fect, steal­ing their hard earned money. Not just Ger­many and other large economies but also small coun­tries such as Slo­vakia, Bulgaria and Ro­ma­nia whose av­er­age earn­ings, pen­sions and liv­ing stan­dards are half those of Greece.

Why would any sane gov­ern­ment be­have in such a dis­grace­ful and sui­ci­dal way?

The Syriza prospec­tus and modus operandi are not all what they claim. Syriza and its al­lies and sup­port­ers such as An­tarsya are re­ally hard-line neo-Marx­ists mas­querad­ing as so­cial­ists and so­cial democrats. Their es­poused agenda is the pro­tec­tion of Greece’s dig­nity (what­ever that means) and the main­te­nance of high public sec­tor em­ploy­ment, high wages, early re­tire­ment and gen­er­ous pen­sions – far be­yond what the state can af­ford and far be­yond the lev­els of com­pa­ra­ble EU states. Their real agenda, how­ever, is the de­struc­tion of cap­i­tal­ism and the in­ter­na­tional in­sti­tu­tions that main­tain cap­i­tal­ism. To that ob­jec­tive, gov­ern­ments such as Syriza are fully pre­pared to de­stroy their coun­try’s econ­omy and fi­nances, i.e. the end jus­ti­fies the means. A toxic mix of in­com­pe­tence, delu­sion and mega­lo­ma­nia.

Syriza is not alone. Other erst­while com­mu­nists and ul­tra-left rad­i­cals have re­branded them­selves as new so­cial­ist and so­cial demo­cratic par­ties while in fact car­ry­ing for­ward their old Marx­ist poli­cies and agen­das, for ex­am­ple AKEL in Cyprus, SNP in Scot­land and the Chavez regime in Venezuela. These fel­low trav­ellers all have a com­mon agenda to de­stroy cap­i­tal­ism and its in­sti­tu­tions at any price. In Cyprus, by 2012 the for­mer AKEL gov­ern­ment over five years had de­stroyed the econ­omy and nearly bankrupted it, only be­ing saved at the last mo­ment by a new non-Marx­ist gov­ern­ment and a Troika bailout. Let the self-im­posed de­struc­tion of Greece be an ob­ject les­son to all.

Greece is on the brink of fi­nan­cial col­lapse af­ter years of EU and IMF bailouts to­talling some­where in the re­gion of EUR 240 bln. It has failed to re­pay EUR 1.5 bln to the IMF on time and it has now be­come the very first Euro­pean Union coun­try in history to fail to re­pay such a loan. Greece now joins an unglam­orous club con­tain­ing Zim­babwe, So­ma­lia and Su­dan. By the end of this year, it needs to re­pay SDR 4.4 bln ($6.2 bln) and SDR 18.5 bln ($26 bln) over the course of the next ten years. (Source: Staista.com)

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