Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Syriza: Merrymaking While in Opposition Follymaking While in Government

America celebrates The Fourth of July as the day of independence of a great nation; Greece remembers The Fifth of July as the day of ignominy and gross stupidity of an abject nation, fallen from its former illustrious and glorious history, that voted “No” in the referendum and thus opened the door to the exit of Greece from the European Union and its entrance to the drachma.
By Con George-Kotzabasis—July 07, 2015
On last Sunday’s Referendum on The Fifth of July, sixty-one percent of politically and economically illiterate, not to say ignorant, Greeks, voted a “proud” and “dignified” “No” to the EuroGroup’s proposals, thus putting a noose around the neck of the nation, and celebrated this victory by dancing frenetically and entranced in Syntagma Square Zorba dances as if by putting a noose around someone’s neck was a festive occasion. And they did this in the background of closed banks, pensioners mass queuing to get a small part of their pensions, depositors unable to get a preferential amount of cash from their accounts, businesses unable to make transit payments on the exchange of goods and services, tourism, the major export of Greece, decimated by tourist cancellations. All this therefore leading to a free fall of the economy with the prospect of leading the latter to a catastrophic end with innumerable business enterprises closing, the present level of unemployment rising from 1.5 million to three-to-four million, engendering shortages of food and medicines, and with the ghost of the returning drachma--and thus absolute poverty of the country--looming over the head of Greece. Not since the launching of the Sicilian Expedition in 415 B.C. by the fatal decision of the Athenian General Assembly, that according to the great historian Thucydides was the stupidest decision ever taken and which was the cause of the ignominious and irretrievably annihilating defeat of Athens in the Peloponnesian War, has a democracy, as has been shown in last Sunday’s referendum, taken such a ludicrously irrational and fatuous decision on such a crucial question as whether the country should stay within the European Union or not.
Syriza while in Opposition in a crescendo of populism, ‘caressing’ promises, and purported macho stand against the Troika whose Memorandum of austerity, which according to the emotional fulminations of Syriza was humiliating and offending the pride and dignity of Greeks and leading to no end to the economic crisis, promised to the Greek people that by negotiating implacably and strongly with its European partners it would extract an economically better and dignified deal from the latter that would lead the country out of the crisis.
Of course all this merrymaking of Syriza was vacuous and wishful thinking, topped by a mountain of shameful lies, and never had a chance of being realized; it was never grounded on pragmatism and was bound to crash, like a house of cards, at the first touch with reality. The Greek people, however, irate and disgusted with the austerity measures of the Samaras government, but oblivious of the fact that these necessary measures were pulling the country out of the crisis, as stated by serious economic analysts world-wide, ratings institutions such as Standard & Poor’s, and Moody’s, as well as top-of-the-branch European politicians, were enraptured with the demagogy of Alexis Tsipras and became prone and willing to take a ride on the carousel of merrymaking provided by Syriza, that made by a magic wand hard things easy. Hence, on the 25th of January they elected the hardline left of Syriza in government.
Once in power Syriza revealed the inner lineaments of its nature and politics. It was a mixture of political immaturity, administrative incompetence, and hardline leftist ideology. A dangerous cocktail for anyone to hold in one’s hand at any time, especially when one steers among rocks the ship of state. This was illustrated by its two major players, Alexis Tsipras, and Yanis Varoufakis, respectively as prime and finance minister, who both of them, unlike God Who dares not to play dice, to paraphrase Einstein, gambled the fortune of the country in one throw of the dice and lost, as events showed down the track. But the hoodwinked politically innocent people along with the nipple-fed intellectuals aka “useful idiots,” to quote Lenin, still continued to throng as guests the merry party of Syriza in government and still believed the fairy tales of these two political spivs, Tsipras and Varoufakis, that by the strong stand of the Greek negotiators they would force their European counterparts to give in and provide Greece the tailor made program that was sewed up by these two spivs. The Europeans, of course, in their professionalism, would never accept the economically irrational and hare-brained demands of the Greek finance minister Varoufakis. Instead, they compelled the government, on the 20th of February, to sign and pledge itself to the implementation of the second Memorandum extant but which the government shilly shallied and refused to implement thus losing all trust and credibility in the eyes of the Europeans.
This is why the result of the Referendum has no impact in the thinking of the leaders of the European Union as they have lost all trust and have no confidence in the Tsipras government. On the contrary, as already seems likely, they will impose the most severe measures in the third coming Memorandum as an ironclad condition of Greece remaining in the Eurozone. Thus the trumpeted argument of the Tsipras government and its ministers that a “No” vote in the referendum would be a strong negotiating weapon, proved to be a paper sword in the hands of Tsipras, as is currently shown in his negotiations with his counterparts in the European Union.
The comedy of the rise of Syriza by the Aristophanean basket into the clouds of an ideal government is rapidly turning into an Aeschylean tragedy. The same audience that will joyfully be clapping the Aristophanean comedy will sorrowfully wailing and crying when it will be staged as an Aeschylean tragedy. Pride riding high always precedes the inevitable falling.
I rest on my oars: your turn now

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Pure Marxism and Lack of Strong Leadership Will Ruin Tsipras Government

Trust those who seek the truth; beware of those who claim to possess it. (Paraphrasing a German dramatist)
Marxists, like God, are omniscient and possess the truth by the Mandate of Heaven, so it is useless to argue against them.
. By Con George-Kotzabasis –May 28, 2015
The inevitable unravelling of the Marxist Government of Syriza will not only be an outcome of its barren stand in its negotiations with Troika and atavistic economic policies, but, also, of its weak leadership. A Marxist led government indispensably requires a centre of power dominated by a strong leader. This absolute requirement is palpably missing in the radical government of Syriza. Its Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, does not hold an indisputable unchallenging dominance in this centre of power due to his effete leadership. The seismic plates of leadership, therefore, continuously move under his feet to the different Marxist factions and personalities of the Party, of whom all in an agonistic rivalry contend for the ever-eluding purity of Marxism whose possession would place the crown of leadership on their head. But since no one in the event can possess the purity of Marxism as by its nature is a disembodied spirit, this agitation among its rivals nonetheless places the government in a chaotic situation, that in the absence of strong leadership, a Tower of Babel rises whose ministers contradict each other and even the Prime Minister. An example of this is Tsipras’s support of the privatization of a public entity and the blatant refusal of the minister in charge of this area to accept this privatization. In such a situation when the reins of a radical government are not in strong hands, its ministers tend to do their own thing as each one of them boastfully professing to have the manifest Marxist destiny to represent and lead the proletariat. (And who could challenge the sundry ministers in their claim to such destiny other than a strong leader?)
Hence, in such conditions where all the factions of Syriza chaotically compete for the mantle of pure Marxism, Lenin’s Democratic Centralism, consisting of a Central Committee and a Politburo, on whose apex sits one person invested with supreme power, is replaced by a politically cacophonous and multi-active polycentrism whose lack of control and direction, in default of strong leadership, not only makes a mockery of democratic centralism and Lenin, but also, more gravely, engenders inexorably a failed state.
Not that Syriza is in want of all the trappings of a Bolshevik state. It has all the corollaries of democratic centralism, such as a Central Committee and a Politburo, which it names a Political Secretariat to eschew any resonance to Stalinism, but it ludicrously lacks the sinewy ruthless leadership material at the centre of power that is the sine qua non of a Bolshevik Party. So it is not surprising that all its methods of how to handle the Memorandum, that has been imposed by the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, as a condition of Greece of being continued funded during its financial crisis, have been in shambles and lack coherence. While Tsipras, and a substantial part of the Ministers Council, show a willingness and a predisposition to make the necessary compromises in their negotiations with the Troika that will convince the latter that the Greek government will implement the austerity policies of the Memorandum and make the necessary structural reforms that will make the country competitive and lead it in the short term to solvency (As the Samaras Government was in the process of achieving), the radical Left Platform of Syriza refuses adamantly to make these compromises and constructs a “strategic breach” with the Euro zone and a return to the drachma. But even in the event that the Government clinches an agreement with the Troika early next month--there is a great doubt whether the Tsipras Government will be able to implement and materialize these structural reforms in the face of dogmatic and strong opposition by the faction of the Left Platform and the client Unions of the public sector--the Government will be just as doomed. Hence, this political and ideological chasm between the top leadership of the Party and its major faction, the Left Platform, is unbridgeable and will remain so as a result of the non-existence of strong leadership.
Tsipras is no Lenin. The latter realizing that the first socialist policies of the Bolsheviks by 1921 were failing, immediately replaced them with the New Economic Policy that was capitalist oriented giving people more freedom to produce and trade, he imposed this capitalistic policy upon the Party by dint of his strong unchallenged leadership and thus saved his government from obliteration. Tsipras on the other hand with his feeble weak leadership is unable to impose upon the recalcitrants of his Party the policy that will save both his government and the country. The Tsipras Government is a mad house whose “interns” all think they are Lenin and practise the ruthless and callous policies of the “great” man, breaking eggs to make omelettes, to paraphrase Lenin.
The cause of the ruin of the Tsipras Government is located in Alexis Tsipras himself. But the great tragedy for the Greek people, who in a lapse of prudence elected Syriza into power, will be that while Tsipras ruins his government, at the same time he will be wrecking and ravaging Greece for at least a generation.
I rest on my oars: your turn now.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Greece: A Government of Contrived Smiles Behind which Attempts to Hide Incompetence

By Con George-Kotzabasis--January 02, 2015

Not only the ideologically antiquated and totally irresponsible and hasty announcements of the ministers of the new government, that led to the collapse of the Greek stock exchange and the stratospheric rise of interest rates, but also their body language, as shown in their performance before TV cameras, exposed with ridicule their witless incompetence. The Minister of State, Nikos Pappas, interviewed on Mega TV, was trying in despair to evade and not to answer the questions of the two interviewers and to cover the poverty of his arguments behind endless contrived smiles.

More gravely, but also more comically, the Minister of Finance Yanis Varoufakis, in the press conference held in Athens last Friday with the head of the European Union (EU) Jeroen Dijssebloem, with tongue-in-cheek and with supercilious righteousness was elaborating with complacent fabricated smiles the ‘perfectly remedial’ counter proposals of the Tsipras Government that would end the crisis to the presumably destructive austerity program of the EU that according to the government was exacerbating it. A program however that aimed, and apparently was succeeding, as indeed did in Ireland and Portugal, in pulling Greece out of the crisis, as recent economic statistics were indicating and serious international commentators were averring. Varoufakis in his last answer to the question of a journalist, in a bravura theatrical performance, described the Troika, the representatives of the EU, the IMF, and the European Central Bank, as being “rotten in its foundations” and the Greek Government would not negotiate with it but only directly with the heads of these three institutions. Dijssebloem sitting next to the Greek minister listening to the translation from Greek to English had a look on his face as if he couldn’t believe his ears. Varoufakis on the other hand had lost all his pompous confidence and showed in his movements and facial expression that he was unsure whether he had said the right thing or not. Totally riveted in his self-doubt and diffidence he seemed like a little child that had lost its way. But the crown of thorns that was placed by Dijssebloem on the head of Varoufakis came when the latter proferred his hand to the former and receiving a contemptuous cold handshake and hearing in bafflement at the same time the head of the EU whispering to him that what he said “was a big mistake.” At the end of this grandiloquent thespian performance by the minister of finance, just before the curtains fell, Varoufakis’ body language showed the depth of his confusion and perplexity and his attempt to hide them behind contrived artificial smiles.

It is by such stuff and political buffoonery that the Tsipras Government will remedy all the ills that the ‘evil’ Troika brought to Greece.  This government of a medley of Marxists, socialists, and anarcho-syndicalists posit a great danger to the country as it plans to implement the by now defunct nostrums of its ideology, such as the expansion of the public sector, the nationalization of banks, airlines, ports, and electric and water services, the unbridled extension of the State, a highly regulated business sector, hence, replanting all the poisonous seeds into the soil of Greece that brought a blighted crop of economic bankruptcy.

As to Syrizas’ stand toward to the EU and the IMF, it will either stiffen it and thus lead the country to tactless insolvency and back to the drachma, or it will blink before the sharp sighted Europeans and will be forced to renege, and reverse, all the bombastic promises it made to the people before the elections. Indeed, it will pour so much water in its wine and make it so tasteless that will turn all the people, who so frivolously believed its false promises and lies and voted for it, into teetotallers.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Greece's Electoral Theodicy: The worst of all possible worlds

Those “whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.” The Greek middle classes, who, with inimitable stupidity, voted for the multi-factional neo-communist party of Syriza, deserve their fate. Like Hitler’s Nazi party in 1933, a communist party has taken power in 2015, not through revolution, not through the bullet but through the ballot of a moronic electorate.

Con George-Kotzabasis January 25, 2015

7.30 pm Greek time

Friday, November 21, 2014

Return of Troika to Athens to Consummate Negotiations with Greek Government a Compulsion

By Con George-Kotzabasis November 19, 2014

The Greek Opposition and the media in general by demonizing The Memorandum with its austere measures that has been imposed upon Greece by the Troika, i.e., the European Commission, the ECB, and the IMF, as a condition for the flow of funds from the latter to the Greek Treasury for the purpose of saving the country from insolvency and gradually placing it on a trajectory of economic recovery, has made it impossible for anyone to reasonably argue, or even to imply, that this necessary austerity, after a mindless profligate spending by previous governments that sunk Greece into an unfathomable debt and debarred it from the financial markets and threw it into an unprecedented spin of economic crisis since the ending of World War II, would generate beneficent results and would pull the country eventually out of its economic crisis.

History has repeatedly shown that countries in critical situations, almost like a law of nature, give rise to extraordinary men/women of stupendous wisdom, mettle, and will power that saved their nations from destruction. Themistocles at the battle of Salamis that saved Greece from Xerxes’ despotism and his barbarian myrmidons, Lincoln in the American Civil War, and Churchill in World War II, are outstanding examples. Likewise in contemporary Greece from the ashes of its economic holocaust, a phoenix, in the figure of Antonis Samaras, had risen to salvage the country from its tragic economic mess. In the short space of two years the Samaras government accomplished an unprecedented feat, that no other government in the world was ever able to consummate, i.e., to draw the country from the edge of a precipitous calamity and place it by gradual firm steps on the solid ground of inchoate economic recovery. This was achieved by a series of structural reforms that made the country more competitive, and by painful cuts in the budget that generated for the first time a primary surplus in the current year, after many years of budget deficits that was the embedded malaise of the policies of previous governments and were the major cause that pushed Greece into bankruptcy. Also, for the first time after forgetting, but not forgiving, many years of negative growth, the country’s GDP in 2014 has increased by 0.7%, and unemployment has decreased from 28% to 25.9%, in the same year, and is estimated to decrease to 25% by the end of 2014.

It is because of these achievements of the Samaras government, that I believe that the TROIKA will be compelled to back down from its severe and apparently unyielding demands, in its impending negotiations with the Greek government in a few days, and will render a positive review of the policies implemented by the latter as stipulated in the Memorandum, which is the sine qua non of Greece’s exit from the strictures of the Memorandum by the end of 2014. It is inconceivable that the TROIKA will persevere with its hard position and put in jeopardy these successes of the Samaras government, that after all, emanated from its own austerity measures that were contained in its own directives as designated in the Memorandum. The TROIKA cannot be so foolish as to throw a spanner in its own works! Hence, the nonsensical fear, that has been so gloomily and frivolously fanned by the Greek media that the TROIKA will continue its hard-line toward the government and place in predicament, and waste, all the sacrifices Greeks had made to turn their country into a modern economy and fecund with prosperity, will dissipate with the softening and compulsion of the TROIKA to withdraw its hard stand.

I rest on my oars: your turn now.


Friday, October 03, 2014

The Search of Neuroscience for the Quintessence of Economics

By Con George-Kotzabasis—October 03, 2014

A reply to “of markets and minds” --by professor Peter Bossaerts
Melbourne University Magazine

Economics is the application of scarce means for the attainment of countless abundant ends. Since all ends cannot be fulfilled because of the scarcity of resources, human choice selects those ends that are more needful or pleasurable to man than those that are less so. The attainment of those more needful ends is a result of human action. These ends, however, are the fruits of the future and the inevitable uncertainty that is riveted upon it. Therefore human action is always speculation based, however, not upon the throw of the dice but upon ratiocination. Furthermore, actions are determined by the value judgments of individuals i.e., the ends they are eager to attain. These valuations differ among individuals due to the different circumstances and living conditions of these individuals and to the variable desires and wishes that emanate from the plethora of their personalities. There is no constant relationship between these valuations, as they emanate from the different wishes, desires and caprices of an umpteenth of individuals, and are therefore beyond the bailiwick of science to measure them; what scientific method could measure with precision the capricious longings of man and the uncertainty that surrounds his existence?

Professor Bossaerts’ attempt therefore, to identify and control the ‘cells’ of the economy and finance and the complex interactions that determine their course by the scientific method of neuroscience for the purpose of rationally directing the process of the economy to a more beneficial path, is in vain and is bound to fail. Science measures constant relationships in the controlled experimental environment of the lab but cannot measure uncontrolled innumerable variants that determine, in our case, the process of a free market economy. The search, therefore, of finding the inexorably elusive quintessence of the economic process by the tools of the hard sciences, though a laudable task, is purblind, as it cannot see nor understand that science is incapable of measuring the measureless.

The endeavour to supplant and redress, on the one hand, the imperfections of the free market economy, and on the other, the failures of government dirigisme to regulate and direct the economic process of the free market to a more optimal state, by the powerful algorithmic tools of science, will be found to be another futile attempt to direct the economy from a central command post, this time by the methods of neuroscience and not by an omniscient cabal of socialist planners.

In an imperfect and uncertain world, the free market economy will proceed and move by trial and error and continue to spread its benefits to mankind. But the intervention of man’s reason and understanding will substantially diminish the errors by increasing their correction in time by the power of man’s imagination and ratiocination.                 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Samaras Government and the Frivolous Populist Chattering of the Media Harlots

By Con George-Kotzabasis  August 19, 2014

The Greek economic crisis has brought on its heels a moral and intellectual crisis and “prostitution” of its media. The Fourth Estate in Greece has been transformed into a “red-light” district where a populist seraglio of colorful journalistic harlots has assembled to hustle their “quickies.” Only with few exceptions, such as Babis Papadimitriou, whose analyses of current economic events in Greece are illustriously admirable and an example for imitation, most of the media spoke persons and journalists in Greece are wallowing in the putrid waters of populism and from that position are publishing their disheartening, gloomy, and misleading comments about the economic and political situation of the country. But while it is easy to please and mislead the hoi polloi it will not be easy for these commentators to erase the mark of shame that they have self-inflicted upon themselves and their intellectual integrity.

To the incomparable achievements of the Samaras government in restructuring the economy, making it more competitive and freeing it from the dead weight of the public sector–which was a major cause that had brought Greece to the precipice of default and its citizens close to absolute poverty–that were the prerequisites for keeping the country within the European Union and with the latter’s financial help saving it from economic collapse that would have thrown its people, for at least a generation, into the hungry fangs of poverty, the Greek media, almost in toto, has not emitted one word of praise toward this remarkable performance of the government.

This accomplishment is unprecedented in the history of nations, that in a short period of two years any political leadership was able to accomplish and salvage their countries from bankruptcy. The Greek media, however, did not make one twit about this great accomplishment. On the contrary, it criticized the government, and often condemned it, of being responsible for the immiseration and economic suffering of its people, and of being the puppet of the European political elite, especially Chancellor Merkel of Germany. In a chorus of tragicomedy its commentators reproached and blamed the coalition of the Samaras government for accepting and implementing the austere policies of the second Memorandum, that were imposed by the European Commission as a condition for Greece’s continued financial assistance by the former, as being the cause of the calamitous economic blight that has scourged a major part of the population in the last two years. However in this prejudiced and populist castigation of the government by the media analysts, they studiously ignored the fact that the real culprits for this economic disaster were the leaders of past governments who had created a false and unsustainable economic prosperity, fuelled by loans and debts and passing the latter to future generations, and by creating a gargantuan flabby and totally inefficient public sector for the purpose of ensconcing their political clientele in leisurely unproductive jobs at the expense of the public purse. Hence, it was not the Memorandum that had brought the economic crisis and the level of unemployment to stratospheric heights, but the imprudent and foolhardy policies of past governments that led the country to the brink of insolvency that had brought the Memorandum with its inevitably austere remedies, and just as inevitably some errors in its policies, but which were tragically essential for Greece’s economic recovery. As is often the case throughout history, nations and men/women in great dangers can only be saved by the most severe measures.

The Samaras government did not flinch before this formidable responsibility and carried this hard task with the characteristic moral strength and intellectual astuteness of its leader. It surmounted the mountainous populist waves that a petty and completely incompetent, and by now, a historically obsolete amalgam of ex-communists and socialists, who compose the Opposition, Syriza, stirred among the populace with the aim to get rid of the government. And despite the fact it had the unions and its strikes on its side and using them as a battering-ram to overthrow the government, nor the fact that the media in general took a neutral stand and did not decry this disgraceful and dangerous action of the Opposition that would lead to the political destabilization of the country and would put in jeopardy all the successes of the government in pulling the country out of the crisis, the Opposition failed ignominiously in its goal.

Antonis Samaras, like Theseus, is finding Greece’s way out of the labyrinth of its economic crisis while the Greek media inexorably demeans itself by polluting its readers and viewers in a rancid flood of populist biased misleading comments and information, that puts the great accomplishments of the government and its exit from the crisis at an immense menacing risk.  

I rest on my oars:Your turn now!