Monday, October 22, 2012

The Television News…

…on Thursday night was full of talk on two subjects. The first topic was how well Greece is doing in the negotiations with the Troika (European Commission, European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund) and the other topic was all about uniting all the banks in Europe into one.

WARNING: Obviously this post is going to be a rant about European politics, so skip it if this sort of thing disturbs you.

Yes, the news analysts assured us, we’re doing very well in the negotiations with the EU. Does that mean Greece has won some concessions, some relaxation of the ever-increasing hardships the Troika imposes? No, the opposite. It means we’ve already managed to meet 90% of their new demands, showing we are indeed capable and worthy of remaining within the Eurozone. We expect to come to agreement soon on the remaining 10%. We are on track to pay all the remaining debt, and the Greeks should be very proud of this.

The main thing is Europe, say all the politicians of virtually all parties. All our efforts, all the people’s suffering, must be geared to the preservation of the EU. Greece must make great sacrifices to that end. Europe first.

Now in the old days, if you were supposed to be working for your country but were found working for someone else instead, especially someone intent on destroying your own country, well, that was the very definition of a traitor.

And only one bank in all the EU? Imagine! One bank, controlling debt, credit, interest rates, monetary supply; fixing prices and fees, sharing all your account information all over Europe. All over the world, really, because of course American and other non-European banks operating in Europe would have to be merged as well. If the bank decided to charge you 40% on your credit card, you couldn’t escape by changing banks. If the one bank wouldn’t give you a mortgage, there wouldn’t be another bank to try... and on and on. In the old days, merging all the banks into one would result in what was called a monopoly (an anti-competitive, anti-consumer, price-fixing, anti-free-market entity) and a monopoly, at least in America, used to be illegal, as in, criminal offense.

When Greeks call their politicians thieves and traitors, they are not exaggerating. They’re just being terribly old-fashioned.