Roland Dürre
Friday November 4th, 2011

All “Bullshit”

It happened as expected: “under pressure of the Euro partners, Prime Minister Papandreou agreed to think about not going through with the announced referendum on the subject of strengthening the Euro” (source: ARD). And now it seems that he will actually do what he said.

Well – this is how far we have come in our EU. Foreign countries can decide whether or not one state can ask “its people” about their opinion on an issue that is of central importance to them.

But I was even more surprised to read something in one of the SZ comments. On the first page of the business sector, you could find two articles. The first was “for” and the second “against”  re-establishing the “Greek Drachma”. Two really excellent pleadings with many good arguments.

Only the proponent of the “for” position conceded that the re-estabilshment of the drachma might have one disadvantage: after a declaration of bancruptcy and re-establishment of the Greek Drachma, Greece would not find anyone prepared to lend them money for many years (!).

In my opinion, this is nonsense. In fact, I would seriously offer a bet that in such a case the international banks would queue before the doors of Greece and offer new credit.

In other words:
If Greece, for example, were to declare total bankruptcy as of January, 1st, 2012 and at the same time introduce their own currency, then the banks would probably offer their service to the new Greek Minister of Finance early in the morning of January, 2nd, 2012.

Is there a better debtor than a country with no debts? And would such a scenario not provide the best reason of the world to expect better collateral secutiry – simply because you can always refer to recent experiences. …

How can intelligent persons write such stupid things?

To be sure, banks are probably better than arms dealers, but they are certainly more buyable than prostitutes. I apologize for the drastic choice of words, but one way or other, I am fed up.

(Translated by EG)

5 Kommentare zu “All “Bullshit””

  1. Chris Wood (Friday November 4th, 2011)

    Sorry Roland, but I find this posting extremely dubious, (to avoid the word bullshit). Just what “better form of security” would the banks be able to demand? If a bank takes possession of a house, this is done with the help of courts and police. If a country chooses to go broke (again), how will the banks take possession of the securities? The local courts and police will certainly not help to dismantle and export valuable industries. Would the banks recruit a private army to collect what is due to them? When Egypt “stole” the Suez Canal, which was built by the French and then bought by the British, even Britain was not powerful enough to impose its ownership, (partly because the Americans were against this).

    Added to this, at a state bankruptcy, countries have to rescue their banks that have lent money. This is necessary anyway with the proposed Greek default of half their debts. These countries are unlikely to let their banks start the whole mess over again. Would perhaps China or India step in with huge credits for a country which had already shown contempt for its neighbours and for international agreements?

    Anyway, why should Greece borrow money? They could surely organise printing of Euros or Dollars if they don’t worry about foreign opinion.
    It is a bad joke to refer to a country as “without debt” just after it has decided to ignore its debts.

    So why does an intelligent person like Roland write such rubbish? I still don’t know whether it is mainly due to overrating himself, or whether he wants his blog to be provocative and interesting rather than reasonable. If the latter, it worries me that so much information is going this way. I watch too much television, (like most), so I see how many chat programs go for bitter argument, rather than intelligent problem analysis.

    I am sure Roland truly overrates the value of plebiscites. I do not go as far as Strauss, (“vox populi vox Rinderviech”, i.e. the voice of the people is the voice of cattle, not of Gods). It could almost be reasonable for a Greek plebiscite to decide to revert to the drachma. Nobody would prevent them if they decided to do this. But it would take time to prepare, various details would need (international) agreement, and it should not be coupled with defaulting all debts. I am sure that Papandreou thought he could get his people to accept the European package. But one can see that even his own party was shocked by this proposal, made public without due consultation. In this situation Merkel etc. did well to crush the idea, rather than subsidise the Greek debt further while waiting to see how the coin falls. This was certainly not unjustified meddling in the Greek democratic process.

  2. hans-peter kuhn (Friday November 4th, 2011)

    Kein ernstzunehmender Kommentator oder Politiker will den Griechen das Recht an einer Volksabstimmung absprechen. Skandalös war hingegen das Verhalten von Papandreou gegenüber seinen Verhandlungspartnern, die sich, durch die überraschende Kehrtwendung, zurecht hintergangen fühlten.

    Natürlich würde Griechenland Kreditgeber finden. Jedoch unter extrem drakonischen Auflagen und Bedingungen… Banker mögen gierig und nuttig sein, dumm sind sie jedoch nicht!

  3. Chris Wood (Sunday November 6th, 2011)

    Hans-Peter, (or Roland), can you explain what extreme conditions can be applied for lending money to a country that has defaulted all its debts and broken its international agreements. Did banks lend money to the Taliban government?

  4. rd (Sunday November 6th, 2011)


    Die Taliban werden auch finanziert (vor Jahren z.B. durch die USA) und haben auch Waffenlieferanten.

    Das mit internationalen Recht und Vereinbarungen ist doch Quatsch. Wann wurde denn bei den letzten bewaffneten Konflikten z.B.schon mal ein Krieg erklärt und wie oft Vereinbarungen gebrochen?

    Schuldner, die nicht mehr zahlen können, gibt es überall. Und natürlich haben die dann einen Darlehensvertrag oder ähnliches gebrochen. Früher kamen die dann in den Schuldturm. Da das sinnlos ist und nur Kosten macht, hat man es aufgegeben.

    Nach einer Privatsolvenz bekommst Du einen Tag später schon wieder Geld. Schlimmstenfalls brauchst Du einen Bürgen (einen guten Freund, im Fall China vielleicht China – die regeln das dann mit Dir schon) oder Sicherheiten (z.B. ein Oma’s Häuschen, im Falle vielleicht eine Insel.

    Das Problem ist doch nur, dass es kein Insolvenzrecht für Staaten gibt. Sogar die USA schaffen das nicht für ihre Bundesstaaten, obwohl sie so etwas dringend bräuchten. Und ein Grundbuch bei der UNO gibt es halt auch nicht.

    Eine Regierung, die Verträge macht, ist übrigens juristisch eine sehr problematische Person. Wenn es die nicht mehr gibt und durch eine neue ersetzt wird, dann mag es sehr spannend sein, ob das eine Art Rechtsnachfolger ist. Stell Dir mal vor Länder zerbrechen oder es gibt eine Revolution gegen einen König, der Schulden gemacht hat.

    Aber mir ist klar, dass das alles zu schreiben ziemlich sinnvoll ist, wenn die Leser in einer Welt leben, die mir schon seit ein paar Jahren vorbei zu sein zu sein scheint.

  5. Chris Wood (Monday November 7th, 2011)

    Roland, you bring irrelevant comments just to have the last word. I asked whether banks lent money to the Taliban. It is irrelevant that USA delivered weapons to them, (or rather their mudjahidin predecessors), in order to annoy the Russians. I wrote about banks, organisations that lend money, hoping to earn interest.
    Strangely, there are strictly Moslem banks where interest is forbidden by the Koran. But I guess if they gave money to the Taliban to promote extreme Islam, they did not expect repayment.
    There could be insolvency laws for states in USA. The FBI and the courts could impose it, backed by the army. It probably would not lead to civil war. But international insolvency laws could only be imposed on weak states, (unless UN was ready to go to war). Look how USA .refuses to acknowledge international courts, and how N. Korea breaks solemn promises with considerable impunity.
    Germans seem to have great respect for the letter of the law. It should be remembered that law is useless unless it is enforced. Also a degree of flexibility is needed, as it is impossible to define every detail reasonably in advance.

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