Greece Calls Out IMF

Greece is growing a spine. Seems the EU and the IMF are demanding Greece sell off their public assets, and in response to these demands, Greece said:

"The behavior of the representatives of the EU, IMF and ECB during yesterday’s press conference was unacceptable,” government spokesman George Petalotis said in a statement today, referring to the European Central Bank. “The only agent responsible for these decisions is the Greek government. We take orders only from the Greek people.”

Associated Press:

It was the first time the government has publicly struck back at the IMF and the European Union, which rescued Greece from bankruptcy but at a price that many Greeks consider too harsh.

The IMF, the European Central Bank and the European Commission delegation said Greece must privatize euro50 billion ($68 billion) in state assets and speed up structural reforms in the next few months to keep the country's troubled finances afloat. The IMF representative also said some of the frequent demonstrations against the Greek government's reforms were being carried out by groups angry at losing their "unfair advantages and privileges."

Just incredible and good for Greece. The IMF is pushing their austerity program, which is privatization and reductions in pensions, social safety nets for workers, who I guess are those of unfair advantage and priviledge.

Beyond the previous agreement for loans to Greece, now the ECB, EU and IMF are demanding massive privatization:

Most importantly, Greece will have to privatise on a massive scale in the coming years, with privatisation goals raised to 50 billion euro by 2015, of which 15 billion euro by 2013 instead of the seven billion euro initially announced. This objective is "feasible" and "realistic," Commission representative Servaas Deroose told the press in Athens, upon conclusion of the third inspection of the country’s finances. These privatisations form part of the "necessary" structural reforms that the country must "extend" to attain its objectives.

Meanwhile Greek transport workers, hospital workers, Doctors go on strike.

The Socialist government has been implementing strict and unpopular austerity measures, increasing taxes, raising retirement ages and cutting salaries and pensions. It has also pledged to restructure loss-making state transport companies, reform the public health sector and eliminate tightly controlled licensing practices and fixed profit margins for dozens of professionals, from pharmacists to lawyers and notaries.

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Good for Greece??!!

The IMF representative said: "...some of the frequent demonstrations against the Greek government's reforms were being carried out by groups angry at losing their "unfair advantages and privileges."

to which you reply: "Just incredible and good for Greece."

What universe do you live in? Hairdressers, teachers, cab drivers and many other professions in Greece can begin retirement at between 55 an 57 years of age, while in financially more viable countries (obviously those that have to bail out the Greek population!) people have to work until 63 to 67 years of age. I wonder how your reaction would be if someone actually collected your money and gave it to someone else and told them to retrire early...

it's not what you think

Read the main directive, privatization. Forcing Greece to sell off public works, national assets, to large multinationals , selling off public assets to private entities, and while it's being proclaimed for "debt", it will be profits for multinationals, buyers of the state assets.

Never waste a crisis and selling off public assets owned by the government and therefore the nation, to multinationals, including FIRE, is a classic, Milton Friedman never waste a crisis and when the deal was struck, I don't believe there were terms of "sell off your nation-state to the highest bidder" in the fine print.

Retirement age is just one minor element to what is really under attack in Greece. This is also a pattern of the IMF, ask those in Thailand for more information.

Empire Economics


When I completed a first degree, which was a study Political Economy in the mid 80's, I dismissed Monetarism and the whole Chicago School. I dubbed this 'empire economics' a body of knowledge designed to justify and underpin the theft of public assets and the 'commons' via a number of vehicles - privatisation is one. To also facilitate the destructive redistribution of wealth in economies - Chile after the overthrow of a democratically elected government.

History is replete with examples of such 'theft' of public assets sold to a narrow group of wealthy private interests to pocket the rent from the use of assets that the public has already invested in. Greece is just another example of empire economics in action and an ongoing war between the sovereign State and the globalisers (banks, transnationals, global NGO's, etc.)

That's all a lie told by lazy

That's all a lie told by lazy media members. The retirement age in Greece used to be 65 for men, 60 for women, and they raised it to 65 for both. The average salary is less than $7k. To say that the problem in Greece is citizens getting fat on Social Security when SS averages less than $3k is flat out wrong.

The Greek gov't needs to get its budget down to sustainable levels, but anything which doesn't help future growth (like selling off state assets) should rightly be ignored. The pones on the hook for Greek debt are the German and French banks. Greece should not destroy its future growth prospects to make those banks whole.

Be careful what you call

Be careful what you call "workers". Almost all professions you mention here are de facto civil servants who, on average, earn at least double the amount from the workers in the private sector. And when we then look at the workers in the quangos you can quadruple the amount of their sallaries compared to the workers in the private sector.
And non of these, non-privat-sector-workers can and will loose their jobs. No, that only is the case with the workers in that private sector, because they are not guaranteed by law and constitution a job for live. Yes those transport workers, hospital workers, Doctors that go on strike time and again are civil servants too.
Nothing in Greece is what it seems. The workers that drive the metro earn about 100,000 euro. Train drivers up to 110,000. Stevedors in the harbour? Up to 150,000 annually. And all with guaranteed jobs for live and pensions starting at just over 50 years of age.

And be careful not to fall for the oldest trick in the book: the ruling party is preparing for snap-elections. They already announced that they would cut the salaries of the top civil servants by 30% to give that to the lowest paid civil servants (10-15% pay rise). And now this posturing on a total non-event. This press conference had nothing new. In fact, according to Reuters, “A finance ministry official, however, had said on Friday that Greece had agreed to the new target of 50 billion euros.”

Yes, elections are just around the corner.

...EU embarassment

It must be really embarrassing for the EU representatives to criticize Greece for the financial downturn especially when the same representatives were not able to point out these impediments earlier even though they clearly had the information about the country's rising debt.

Why is the "bloated" public

Why is the "bloated" public sector being attacked rather than the super rich who pay virtually no taxes and have benefited from the corruption of the conservative government. Sounds like a bit of a red Herring to me. Goldman sachs was complicit in this mess and the average citizen is bearing the brunt of this massive swindle.