The 1% are the only beneficiaries of Greek austerity, not ordinary Greeks

by Linda Beale

The 1% are the only beneficiaries of Greek austerity, not ordinary Greeks

An interesting post over on Naked Capitalism on the Greek austerity measures being demanded by the EU leaders (Germany, mostly) and the IMF: Marshal Auerback: Greece and the Rape by the Rentiers (Feb. 10, 2012).

The austerity demands, in order for a sovereign nation to pay back its debt to mostly big banks that lent money recklessly in the leadup to the financial crisis, make no sense at all. If you impose austerity, you clamp down on the economy. If you clamp down on the economy, the poor and near-poor who are already struggling will struggle even more. Unemployment will increase. Desperation will set in and crime or revolution will follow. The 1% at the top do okay at least for a while–after all, they’ve been hogging all the good stuff for a decade at least, and many of them (if the scofflaw wealthy in this country are any guide) will have sequestered funds away in hidden offshore bank accounts to bide them through the rough times or even support them if they expatriate to avoid the mayhem. When austerity measures include privatization of public assets, that same top 1% is able to acquire very valuable assets for a song and then charge “rentier” rewards for the public to use their own assets.

That’s the story that Auerbach tells for Greece, as he wonders why they don’t just get the hell out of the Euro zone and go back to their own currency. They probably will default anyway. But they will have paid a high price for trying to avoid default–the huge cut in wages, increase in unemployment and suffering going on now, and the privatization of even more of their public goods. Greece plans to sell six national companies–energy companies and refineries are included. The banks must be shitting in their pants in excitement.

originally published at ataxingmatter