By Shahid Ehsan Khalid
The Greeks have voted for no on 5th July. The economic condition of the country can be gauged from the fact that its debt is 175 % of the GDP. Even more alarming is the fact that the economy is shrinking further. Thanks to suggestions and advice of IMF. The sufferings of ordinary Greek will not diminish, rather they will increase. The Greek thinking and mood can be gauged from the following. The advices for more austerity is all very good, but let us inform you that water does not have many nutritional ingredients.
In other words, there is a limit to austerity.
Even though only Greeks can be blamed for the present mess.
Logical consequences of electing corrupt political leaders by the public, again and again! (We in Pakistan should know. We are also playing the same game).
Standard/ classical thinking is that this suffering is unavoidable. So, let it happen and since ordinary people are born to suffer such cataclysmic events, it does not matter, if in this case they suffer more.
Hence, suggesting austerity measures like cutting the number of employees, when unemployment is already more than 25% is disastrous enough in itself. To add fuel to the fire, further proposals of reducing the developmental budgetary allocations, hence making sure that economy will shrink more is imprudent, cruel, foolish and self defeating. And all that in the name of making sure that the IMF and their European counterparts can get their money back.
IT IS A RECEIPE FOR DISASTER, FINANCIALLY AND SOCIALLY AS WELL
Let us try something less Shylock like and more like a humanistic approach. This approach had done wonders after Second World War in Western Europe. It is also THE RAISON DETRE OF IMF AND WORLD BANK.
Unlike all other financial institutions, the Bretton Wood institutions were created to help Europe stand on its own feet economically after the destruction caused by the Second World War. They did their job exceedingly well. After that great success, they turn into commercial bank and lender institute respectively. Probably because they recruited best known commercial bankers, with mastery over financials matters, but no heart. In this process, it is possible that Bretton Wood institutions forgot their raison de.tre. We should call this approach the true spirit of the New World.
The first step would be to start with a moratorium on all outstanding debt of Greece, spanning over a period of five years, at least. With a moratorium and the New World spirit , can these institutions, along with their European counterparts, play this in the case of Greek?
CAN GREECE TURN INTO A ROLE MODEL
The problem requires a new approach; let us spend our way out of this quagmire. (How the soul of Keynes must have felt elated and pleased). The original Bretton Woods spirit is to help, for creating a better tomorrow. Once this approach is adopted, probably, American and European lenders will be a lesser problem than the corrupt political and social system of Greece.
A CHECK ON GREEK POLITICIANS
For that, these institutions must have a vigilant eye on Greek politicians and officials and their spending. No, it will not be an intervention in the country’s internal affairs. Rather this should not be construed as intervention anymore, than forcing the same people to adopt austerity measures. The measures which increased suicide rate of Greece, dramatically. The conclusion is that if CREDIT MONEY IS NOT SIPHONNED OFF IN PRIVATE ACCOUNTS OF THE POLITICIANS AND OFFICIALS THERE IS HOPE.
Unless this approach is applied, it will be more of the same. How many more countries will have to suffer before the rules of the game are changed?
This time, in favor of ordinary citizens of the world.
Let us pray that the light at the end of tunnel is not of a coming train.
Good luck to Greeks, they need it.