Greeks Set to Suffer for Years to Come, as the Rest of Europe Claims a Job Well Done

Alexis_TsiprasBanks in Greece have reopened following three weeks of closure, albeit with withdrawal limits still imposed, all while harsh austerity measures begin to take effect in the country.

Sales taxes have now nearly doubled, while the products and services they’re attached to will also increase in price, and pensions are set to be reformed, all in a country that is facing severe poverty and unemployment. These measures-widely seen as worse than those voted against on the July 5th referendum-were loathingly accepted by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in an agreement with the creditors of the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, and the European Commission in exchange to a bailout amounting to €86 billion. Tsipras made it very clear that he did not believe in the changes that he was being forced to implement, saying that he is doing it “to avoid disaster for my country, the collapse of the banks,” and the likely exit from the Eurozone that would follow.

Unsurprisingly, there has been staunch opposition to the move, with thousands of protesters marching in Athens as Tsipras’ own Syriza party remained heatedly divisive over accepting the cash-for-austerity deal that Tsipras himself had said was akin to blackmail meant to humiliate the Greek people. Former Finance Minister has compared the deal to the Treaty of Versailles, intended to crush and punish Germany for their actions in World War I, saying that this new deal will “go down in history as the greatest disaster of macroeconomic management ever.”

Nonetheless, support for Tsipras has not dwindled as might be expected, with Greeks seemingly realizing how hard he pushed for a better deal. And though he did fail in the end, it was not due to a lack of trying, and instead the bitter resolve of the creditors to kick the Greek people when they’re down. And meanwhile the banks that got Greece-and Europe along with it-into this mess in the first place have been left largely unaffected.

Such a prime example of capitalism at its worst.

Further reading:
http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/greek-prime-minister-tsipras-shows-greeks-he-can-save-them-a-1044265.html
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/07/finance-minister-greek-bailout-versailles-150715164751774.html
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33578778
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/15/world/europe/tsipras-is-seen-as-holding-greeks-approval-while-selling-tough-bailout-deal.html
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/07/greek-banks-reopen-150720044008477.html
http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/07/greece-crisis-banks-greedy/398603/

Image: “Alexis Tsipras Syriza” by FrangiscoDer  CC BY-SA 3.0

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