CNN asks a question that quite frankly a lot of people around the world are asking: who gives a crap about Greece?
Other than the Greeks, naturally. Seriously, though, why not let it collapse and let it rebuild? Author Tim Lister does a very good job of summarizing why letting Greece topple is a good idea, why it is a bad idea, and whether there are alternatives.
Here is your rundown of the possibilities. Let her fail: the Germans cannot keep dumping their money into a country that simply does not want to change. Let Greece collapse, and then pick up the pieces at the end. Alternatively, let Greece leave the European Union and let them figure it all out for themselves.
Let’s save Greece: letting them fail would severely hurt the value of the euro, which would strongly, immediately, and negatively affect the economies of the other EU members. Plus, it sends a bad message if a member of a union needs help, and the solution is to just kick them out.
Maybe there is a middle way: of course there isn’t. You either fail or survive; the problem of course is that Greece has had the power to right their own ship for decades, but they cling to the European fantasy that a handful of people who insist upon stiil working menial jobs can easily pay for the extravagant lifestyles of those who do not. Greece consists largely of spoiled brat kids who want want want but have little concept of who pays the bill and how. Last we checked, οἰκονομία is a Greek word.
While the CNN article is a refreshingly good summary for those of us not caught up in the minutia of international governmental finance, a bigger question is really on the plate, and so far we only nibble at the edges. The reality is that the entire concept of the European Union is, well, it is a fantastic joke.
There is no doubt that many senior heads in the EU want to create something like the United States, but better (that is, more liberal and socialist). You are most welcome to try, but the problem with Europe is that it is filled with Europeans: different languages, alphabets, economic structures, cultural traditions toward problem solving, attitudes toward liberty, healthcare structures, educational structures, and more. You cannot simply take all that and make a truly (or even partially) unified infrastructure out of all that—any more than you can take peas, taffy, almonds, lemon zest, pork fat, and chewing gum, throw it all together, and produce fruit salad.
The most glaring inequities in Europe were the currencies. The lira was effectively worthless. The mark was strong. The pound was performing exceptionally well. The Swedes are heavily regulated; the Finns far less. The Irish had low labor costs, the French had high labor costs. You cannot simply erase those inequities and give them a euro whose value is fixed across the board. What happens is that local regulatory compliance and labor costs cause the same divisions that unbalanced the original currencies, and you have a cup of coffee in one country costing €0.95 and twenty miles away costing €14.75.
The British knew this, and refused to see the value of their pound diminished; they insisted that they keep the pound. And guess what happened? The euro started to fluctuate internally for all the reasons given above, and the British pound remained strong against the dollar (and, not ironically, the euro). But this was a second mistake: by allowing Great Britain to opt out of the euro, the EU really made the currency valueless when a member state can opt out. The loss of value did not happen at first—it took a while for all those differences to catch up. But catch up they did.
Europe is the least suited to imagine it is in any state of unity. The British, the Finns, and the Czechs have a very strong sense of liberty: each country has been humiliated to see themselves becoming twisted into liberal weenie nanny states. Other countries insist on having unelected authority figures tell them what to do. Still others, like Greece, simply want to laze about, smoke cigarettes, drink coffee, and watch the welfare fairy deliver checks into their dwindling bank accounts. And the remainder, hard-working countries like Germany, get to pay for it all.
This was never going to work.
Americans, however, understand the difference. Although we were a collection of states with sometimes very different ends (slavery, religion, agriculture, industry, and so forth), we had a common language, a common sense of identity, and a frontier-like work ethic. Here, you can see it like this:
And this our point: as long as Europe wants to cling to out-dated, disproven fantasies of socialist democracy as its premise, instead of as a collection of peoples who fundamentally distrust each other, the European Union is exactly what Neil Farage keeps saying it is.