Friday, February 24, 2012

what would happen if greece just said "fuck you"?

if greece rejected the terms of the latest bailout, what would happen next? greece would default, i get that. so everyone's greek bonds would not be worth anything anymore. and apparently, even with its entire debt canceled the greek government still wouldn't be able to pay its bills, so some form of austerity would be in the cards, especially since post-default, no one would be anxious to lend greece money to cover its bills. so then what? greece would be in an economic mess. but it's already in an economic mess. is anyone asking whether the post-"fuck you" mess would be any better or worse than the take-the-deal mess?

under the terms of the bailout, just about every bad thing i can think of under the "fuck you" scenario would still happen. greece wouldn't fully default (greek bonds would lose value, maybe paying only 30 cents on the euro, instead of being worthless), but it still would have severe austerity, only imposed by the european creditors rather than the circumstances of being broke. still taking a 70% write-down is going to discourage anyone from loaning anything to the greek government until it gets its financial house in order yet no one thinks this bailout will get greece out of economic jeopardy. on top of that, the demands being made by the european creditors are essentially anti-democratic. the greek people don't particularly want these changes. there's even serious talk about delaying greek elections.

i can't say i totally understand the entire greek situation. but it's hardly clear that accepting this package is better than rejecting it. proponents keep predicting if greece doesn't take the deal it will descend into chaos. but if outsiders keep forcing this stuff down the greek people's throat, that will also bring on the chaos. in fact, the choas has already started. unless the bailout leads to a clearly better outcome, the greeks should turn it down. i don't see a clearly better outcome.

ADDING: you can game it out, "choose your own adventure" style, here.