Selling Greece

Photo by Eastlaketimes

As has been the case for every Monday over the last X weeks, Greece is the financial headliner.  It was dragged kicking and screaming back to the negotiating table this weekend.  Little negotiation was had.  A deal was made… but not really.  Basically, Europe scolded Greece and everyone decided to give Greece a little more time (72 hours) to get their act together before negotiations begin in earnest.  This sounds like another silly kick of the can down the road, but this time Europe might really take action beyond a strongly worded letter.  They have attained concessions from Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (dubbed the ‘AGreekment’ *groan*) that go beyond the previous negotiating round’s demands.  This sounds odd since Tsipras fought these demand tooth and nail just a couple of weeks ago, the Greek people voted against these demands last week, and it seems like part of the demands include some surrender of Greek sovereignty as the country is forced to sell assets.  Civilized folk might prefer to say Greece is monetizing assets via a privitization program.  Others may be tempted to say Europe is selling Greece in a manner akin to a garage sale.  Does this set a precedent that government property is actually collateral after a certain number of bailouts?  I’ve heard of seizing sovereign vessels, but it looks like islands and infrastructure are going to be up for grabs in Greece.

What this boils down to is a disagreement over debt that Greece cannot or will not ever repay.  Why this show of ‘lending’ money to Greece when the terms virtually guarantee default?  No one (other than the fed-up Germans, perhaps) wants the crisis to happen on their watch for fear of losing political power at home.  The Greek people elected Tsipras and the Syriza party because they thought they had nothing left to lose.  Tsipras put on a brave face, but that just ended up pissing off their creditors.  The situation isn’t going to get any better until tough decisions are made.  Europe just wants some of their money back (ok, and maybe to not be called financial terrorists by Greek game theorists).  Greece is suddenly negotiating for their very sovereignty.