Democracy dies ?

TCSTigersClaw

Greek Special Forces B' Company "Naoussa" 2007-200
Hello wingnuts.

I dont know what to say exactly ,or why I even started this thread. I am very sad and dissapointed I just want to share this.

These are very dark times for my country.The past year everything changed.Everything.Our ways of life.I dont have a job right now along with 40% of the country.I earned about 1200 euros a month and in the past months after IMF`s economy mesures I ended earning 450-500 euros/month.Ofcourse all the prices are about 20-30% up.
I dont know if anyone here wathces the news or something.People is angry.This week is crucial.
The Goverment cant do anything they stand there like puppets .People becomes more angry.

Anyway. This was a good Wing Commander year , COG released some games , a DVD release of Wing commander academy (really who could have thought that), a re-release of the WCMovie.But.... I cant be happy for any of these.Its damn to much misery here.

All happened so quick. Damn . Anyway please give me your thoughts.Does anyone know about our situation ? About EU/IMF stance ? Does anyone really know whats happening here ? I know we have European members, what does your News say to you ?what do you believe and what not

-TCSTigersClaw
 

Youngblood

Rear Admiral
I think its hit everyone in the UK in some form or another the amount of people here without a job is record high, prices of fuel and everything else is so high its unreal and now big debates have started about if we should stay in the EU or not. (personaly I think staying in Europe is a very bad idea for many reasons that I wont go into).
 

MartySheen

Rear Admiral
Yes the situation in Greece is grim indeed. No jobs, massive cuts, tax increases, inflation, relying on bailout money etc. We see the riots and unrest on UK tv. Worrying.

I'd say its only a matter of time before the Euro collapses. Then the EU will be no more, or it will be reorganised into something...else.

Things are bad everywhere now and will only get worse. The new deal that was announced last week, I believe is a short term measure only and will actually make things worse in the long run.

As for democracy - ha! what a joke. David Cameron promised a referendum on the EU before he was elected, and now that he's in power he denies us our right to vote. Probably wouldn't matter anyhow. Look what happened to Ireland - they voted no on the EU - Brussels didn't like this so they forced Ireland to vote again and this time the answer was yes. Now theres democracy at its finest. EU is not good. Especially when you look at the background of some of the major players within (including the UK).

If anyone has a more optimistic view id truly like to hear some opinions.
 

Aginor

Vice Admiral
Well, this isn't an easy topic so please forgive me if I don't find simple words to describe it.

I also apologize in advance if I say something that sounds offensive, I don't mean to insult anybody.

That said, I admit I might be seen as somebody defending the "bad guys" in the EU (again), but I hope I can deliver some information about how they think and how I see this whole situation from the German point of view.

First of all:

I fully understand why the Greek people is angry and I hope that the rest of the EU can find a way to help Greece fix the problem, and not just because it will worsen the situation in the whole EU but for the sake of the people of Greece.

So what caused the situation and who is to blame, but most important: How can we fix it?

I am quite angry about some people:

- the banks
Well, I don't like them a lot and that's because they build up huge bubbles of non-existing money for decades until they blow up. And when they do they are saved by the governments because they are so important. Almost every economic crisis was caused by them and had to be paid for by you and me.

- the rating agencies:
Always keep in mind that every important rating agency is a US company. This is not meant to be US bashing but how is it possible that the US has such high debts and is still rated AAA+ while for example Ireland cannot be bancrupt until 2014 (because of the EU) but is rated B or C? This is what also happened to Greece. When a country is rated poorly then it has to pay higher interest rates. In some cases that is the reason why a country has liquidity problems in the first place. So basically it is similar to this situation: Somebody says you are broke, so no one lends you the money you need even though you can in fact pay it back. That leads to the situation where you cannot pay some bills and you really get broke. What a ball of bullsh**!

What does a rating agency do? What do they make money with? It doesn't sound like a real company but like something criminal. Who watches them anyway? I think people should stop listening to them and judge companies and countries according to real numbers instead of Wall Street make-believe. One company I worked for nearly had to file for bankrupcy because of such a rumor. And others have.

- the media
They jump on every train and start making the situation worse than it is by frightening the sh** out of people. Here in Germany there are already quite a lot of articles in newspapers and "documentaries" on TV that show what could happen in a worst case scenario and they show it like it is bound to happen in any case. Things like "Euros won't be worth anything so you will have to carry them around in shopping carts and people will take the shopping cart instead of the money because it is worth more. It will be 1929 all over again" I can't see any point in doing that besides frightening people.
They tell frightening stories about Greek people coming to Germany and stealing all of our jobs and ruining us and such things.
They picture Greece as a country full of lazy people who don't want to sacrifice anything to help their country to get out of the situation, and they point at some numbers about the Greek economy and say: "Here you can see that they don't want to change it, look how broken their system is."

Here in Germany our chancellor Mrs. Merkel is pictured as somebody who wants to throw our tax payers' money out of the window by helping Greece, her party might even lose the next elections because of that. (I don't like her and her party very much but that has other reasons) On the other side Germany is the most wealthy country in the EU and Greece is an important partner, so who can help them if we won't? So basically she is with her back against the wall. International pressure tells her she has to do something, and national pressure (buildt up by the media says she mustn't do anything.
And then we see pictures of the Greek press calling her "Nazi-Merkel" and talking about "Germany invading Greece economically", and a lot of people think this is the majority's opinion in Greece. When there are protests in Greece some German media simply say things that sound like "in Greece the people protest because we said they should stop being lazy, those morons!"
So everything is a bit one-sided, as always. Full of clichees. Greeks are all lazy sheepherders eating a lot of Zaziki, Americans are all like those strange religiously extreme Tea Party people, and the Polish steal cars all the time and sell them to vodka-gargling Russians, haha. The world isn't that simple. I'm very angry about that.

So it is a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy: If everybody only waits for the worst-case scenario it might happen more quickly.


- the greek government
I think they lied to their own people a lot in the last few years. They delayed the neccessary reforms until it was too late. Now they don't want to be blamed for it and act like it was all the EU's fault.
They refused to even think about cutting their spendings on some important things:
In 2007 to 2009 Greece spent over 6% of their GNP for the military. That were €14 Billion each year. That hurt. Of course nobody in Germany protested because we were the ones who sold most of the weapons...
The wages grew faster than the economy could really afford, especially those public engineers, and Greece has a lot of them. The government had time to fix that slowly without too much people losing their jobs at the same time. Maybe it wouldn't have worked well, but it would likely have worked better than what they are doing now.
They even lowered taxes although they already had far too less income. Don't get me wrong, everybody loves tax cuts. In Germany the effective tax rate is about 25%, in the UK it is around 40% but in Greece it is only 15% They lowered taxes to win elections, but they did significant harm to the economy with that.


I might be wrong with some points I think, I admit that I am not an economy expert. But there are certainly a lot of things that went wrong economically. But always remember: I only have the numbers, I don't have all the information behind it.


Some important questions and my personal answers:

- Should Greece remain part of the Euro zone? --> From an economic point of view Greece (and others) shouldn't have joined the Euro zone in the first place without a stable economy. The value of our currency is in great danger because we expanded the euro zone too early. And even some of the older members were included for political reasons: Portugal, Greece, Ireland and Spain should not have been included until they were stable. But there were good reasons to include them from a political point of view. So now we have to live with that decision and solve that situation. So the answer is yes. Greece should stay. Papandreou's decision to ask the people might sound very democratic, but I think it isn't. It is a delay tactic I think. Plus he can blame whatever happens to the people because "they wanted it". You said they are angry. I understand that. But being angry will lead to decisions that are even worse. The government should know that and act accordingly.

- Should Greece carry on with reforms to help stabilizing itself? --> Yes, this is very important although some changes will hurt. International help can't save Greece if it doesn't change a lot. Even the EU has not unlimited money, that's why they insist on those changes. It's not because they have fun in dominating Greece, it is because they are frightened of the possibility that everything might break down. I think the media paint the wrong picture here, in Greece and also here.

- Should Greece be saved by the EU? (economic point of view) --> Yes. It will cost us a lot but Germany is economically powerful because of its partners, Greece is one of them. If Europe wants to continue competing with the US and China in the world it has to stand together.

- Should Greece be saved by the EU? (moral point of view) --> Hell yes! We Germans haven't forgot that it were Greek immigrants and guest workers (along with Portugese, Spanish, Italian and Turkish ones) that helped to rebuild our country after WWII. We owe Greece a lot.


That's it for now. I didn't cover everything and I hope I wasn't wrong too often.
I'm looking forward to other points of view (and also to corrections if I got something wrong in the wall of text above :) )
 

TCSTigersClaw

Greek Special Forces B' Company "Naoussa" 2007-200
Well you are right thats a big topic. I shouldnt have opened it. I have relatives in Germany I know how the people think. If I was in Germany I would feel even more angry about the situation .Why should *I* give my money to another country ?

Now from our point of view.In the past 4 years lots of EU Banks and Corporations gambled and profit from Greece.We had scandals similar to SIEMENS every 2 months for the past 4 years.Whats happening ? Its like a massive economic attack.

So IMF came to find the solution to the problems they created. The big propaganda *you cant do without us you should stick to this plan and save your Country*.

2 Years now we do exactly what we are told. Guess what nothing changed, the situation is even worse.Now they say we must change the plan the markets are dry.We have to take even more measures.

You know what is the problem ? That should have never happened to a truly United Europe.We dont deserve to be a Union.If we can be controlled sooo easily by corporations and banks .

anyway thanks for replying :)

EDIT : P.S. About the military funds you are right ,but you should know that countries like Greece, Turkey etc have no choice but to do what they are told.We buy mainly from Germany,France and USA. If we are lucky they are not problematic...(German Submarines, Leopard 2 HEL)
 

Nomad Terror

Rear Admiral
Well you are right thats a big topic. I shouldnt have opened it.

I think it's a fine topic. You're frustrated about the state of your country and the European Union, and as long as we all stay friendly and respectful and agree to disagree when necessary, we can discuss pretty much anything.

Heck, sometimes I think political topics like this are less inflaming than issues within the Wing Commander Universe (just look at some of the old topics about the movie. Boy, talk about polarization).
 

Aginor

Vice Admiral
@Nomad Terror:
I agree. While political discussions are dangerous if the participants don't submit to the rules that should apply in such discussions I have seen similar flame wars because of topics about fictional problems. I am a moderator in a political web forum and if there is one thing I have learned in all those years participating in discussions it is that people can start flame wars about almost everything.
You need a lot of self control, avoid letting people insult you (regardless of whether they want to or not) and making clear that you don't want to insult others. If everybody does that political discussions can be interesting or even great fun.

But BTT:
If I was in Germany I would feel even more angry about the situation .Why should *I* give my money to another country ?
That's an interesting thought. Sometimes I feel like that, too. But there are good reasons why I think one should not think that way:
- If other countries around us crash, so do we
- We are alright and our neighbors have problems, why don't help them?
- Germany has to take part in international politics, and we decided not to do it by military force. Why not use our economical strength?
(man that sounds cheesy, I hope you get what I mean)

I think in Europe we have some sort of national rivalry that roots deeply. We have fought each other in bloody wars for centuries. It is not easy to realize that our countries are too weak if they are on their own. I'm a bit proud that nowadays I can go freely from Lissabon to Warsaw without fighting anybody, even though our grandfathers killed each other.
There has been much progress in Europe during the last 60 years (finally!) and I want it to go on.

Sometimes it helps when you think of yourself as European instead of German, Greek, or French. Of course we will maintain most parts of our sovereignty (does that word mean the same in English as in German, I'm not sure) but with enough time we will form something a bit similar to the USA, some sort of "United States of Europe" so we can act as one to compete with other countries and achieve our common goals. At first glance that doesn't sound all that good but there are examples that worked. Germany itself is such a country. It consists of 16 smaller parts that even have their own constitutions and haven't lost their cultural specifics.
Ok, maybe that is still a utopia, but with enough time... who knows?

Alright, now I will stop to write that cheesy stuff, I sound like yoda or something (only with slightly better grammar).
 

Mace

Vice Admiral
From the news, we know that there is a crisis, and in a lot of countries the economy is failing, but this is not the fault of the average joe, and those who are responsible will have a toast over it in a fancy restaurant about how they resolved this issue while you are checking your bank-account to see if you have enough credit for groceries over the weekend.

What we hear is that a lot of people retire in their early fifties, while the bar was raised in the netherlands from 65 to 67, and even upwards in the future. France and Italy also have problems, and Greece is blaimed(as a government, not as a people) for spending EU money and investing in worthless things. If Greece falls France will loose their triple-A status, and cause problems for Germany, the Netherlands and other smaller states.

Getting laid off because of the crisis is bad, I went through the 2001 dutch " internet bubble", and the 2008 lay-off run. As long as you can pay your rent, food and get yourself some decent clothes to dress up for a next job interview, you'll be fine. Some of our provences actually invested money raised from local taxes in Iceland(Landsbankski), and that's(funded from things like dogtaxes, parking taxes, waste disposal taxes) gone now. The latest estimates for saving Greece and keeping the problem from escelating throughout the European union has been estimated by our ministery of finance to be 440.000.000.000 euro! Maybe we should just reset the counter and cancel out debts among one another. On all sites of all borders, the ones who are responsible for wrongly investing the money-wasting(the oldboysclub) are settled and happy.

But keep in mind, that money needs to spended, just to keep the economy going.
 

Nomad Terror

Rear Admiral
@Nomad Terror:
I agree. While political discussions are dangerous if the participants don't submit to the rules that should apply in such discussions I have seen similar flame wars because of topics about fictional problems. I am a moderator in a political web forum and if there is one thing I have learned in all those years participating in discussions it is that people can start flame wars about almost everything.
You need a lot of self control, avoid letting people insult you (regardless of whether they want to or not) and making clear that you don't want to insult others. If everybody does that political discussions can be interesting or even great fun.

Oh, sure. I agree with you completely that politics is a sensitive topic. That's why it's generally avoided in most social situations.

However, I've been here almost 10 years, and other members of the community have been here even longer than that. I think we've proven ourselves to be one of the friendliest and civilized communities on the Internet. Plus, there is little tolerance for personal attacks.

Unfortunately, I can't really contribute much to this conversation, personally. I don't exactly keep on top of current events in Europe. But I'm glad people are bold enough to talk about it!
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
I can't add much, except to say that I see Greece on the news every day and always wonder how our "Greek Hellcat pilot" is doing. Please keep us informed as you can. Remember, even if you have no money or prospects... we'll always be here to talk about Wing Commander. :) In all honesty, I have never understood finance, so I won't pretend to have an opinion beyond a core belief that everyone should be kind to each other.

However, I've been here almost 10 years, and other members of the community have been here even longer than that. I think we've proven ourselves to be one of the friendliest and civilized communities on the Internet. Plus, there is little tolerance for personal attacks.

If we have made a place where people will kill each other over the length of the Rapier while also being able to have a friendly political discussion, then we've done what we set out to do!
 

Ijuin

Admiral
I think that one of the problems with the way the Euro zone is set up is that even though the system takes away some of the economic policy tools that a nation can use to shore up its economy (e.g. devaluing its currency internationally or "quantitative easing" at home by flooding the domestic market with fiat currency), there is not much of a counterbalance on the other end--bailouts and such can not compensate completely for this loss of monetary policy latitude. Instead, we see a hybrid that is something of the "worst of both worlds".

In short, if the European Union is to run a common currency, there must be more integration between the economies of its member nations. Merely transferring cash between them (bailouts and loans and write-downs of loans) is insufficient. What Greece needs is not a fat wad of cash so much as assurance that Greek products will find a market if employers in Greece hire more people to work for them. Who after all would build a factory to build Widgets and hire people to make them if nobody is going to buy any Widgets? That would stimulate employment, which would mean that Greeks would be earning wages and would have money to pay taxes to pay off Greek debt. Rather than offering X billion Euros in outright bailout funds, there should be an agreement to purchase X billion Euros worth of Greek exports. Bank bailout funds tend to just be sat upon by the banks because having more cash-on-hand does little to make lending more attractive when nothing has been done to improve the borrowers' ability to repay loans.
 

TCSTigersClaw

Greek Special Forces B' Company "Naoussa" 2007-200
I can't add much, except to say that I see Greece on the news every day and always wonder how our "Greek Hellcat pilot" is doing. Please keep us informed as you can. Remember, even if you have no money or prospects... we'll always be here to talk about Wing Commander. :)

Well , I am happy to hear that :) . The "Greek Hellcat pilot" sold his Hellcat V and now flies an old crappy looking -but nostalgic- Scimitar due to funding cuts.
I agree that this community is the friendliest and most civilized out there.Thats why I felt like home and posted what was bothering me so much and I am glad all the answers were in a friendy tone.

Long live the Confederation -even if I feel like living in the Border Worlds now-
 

Mace

Vice Admiral
What Greece needs is not a fat wad of cash so much as assurance that Greek products will find a market if employers in Greece hire more people to work for them.

Finland wanted to lend them money, if Greece opted to pawn their land. I do understand they did not agree to this.

Short of tourism, from my countries view, there is little productivity in Greece that could not be copied way cheaper by another country in eastern europe. And with the way their social security system works(retirement at 52??), and the way they handle infrastructure maintenance(not only electronicly, but also things such as roadworks), they are worse then belgium. But this is not the choice of their people, but of their government. Mind you; a lot of governments try to take the heat off by looking elsewhere in the media and discussing minor, more local issues so people talk and think about those things rather then the real problems their country is facing.

Where the EMU(European Monetary Union, or EEG as my country called it) was once profitable, the EU and common funding is a bottomless pit.
 

Youngblood

Rear Admiral
You couldnt make anything in eastern europe as all the workers are in the UK lol thats another problem with the EU IMO
 

Oggy

Rear Admiral
Aw man, this whole thing is soul crushing.
I work in the construction industry and its so unpredictable at the moment its untrue, everyone is stressed/scared/worried about their jobs, those who are redundant can't get any work in their fields and I have friends literally taking any job they can (even part time bar work), which is commendable, but is that the best use of their architecture/engineering/mechanical & electrical engineering skills? just strikes me as a waste. if the feelings are this bad here, I can only imagine whats its like for you in Greece.

The whole EU is so complex a layman like me can't hope to fully understand it but it seems to me that if you are tying the economies of different countries together, with widely different agendas and concepts, then the only way it stands a chance of working is from a single unified government (Like in the US) which requires all participating countries (and their populations) to surrender their independant rule to the EU and accept the idea that decisions are being made from a single government of the EU.

I would agree with the statement that the media needs to carry part of the can here, they need reigning in so they report the facts, so people can be informed. I live in the UK, and it seems like the majority of our papers are "trash rags", more interested in doom saying and gossip rather than cold hard facts, the only paper I have any time for these days when I want facts is the Independant.

Sensationalist press who will do or say anything to sell a paper on one side telling me its worst catastrophe in the history of the world and will doom us all, politicians on the other side telling me its not that bad, somewhere between the two lies the truth, but the common man like me and you will never get to see it, so how can we make informed decisions? the lack of reliable information then leads to the battening down the hatches mentality, which I have done myself, incase I lose my job.

In the UK, I suspect we need a mix of long term defecit reduction through public spending cuts, but capital investment on infrastructure to give us the road, rail, power and water we need to meet the demands of the 21st century. Our country always seems to skimp on investment, whats the saying "To spoil the ship for a ha’porth of tar".
 

TCSTigersClaw

Greek Special Forces B' Company "Naoussa" 2007-200
Finland wanted to lend them money, if Greece opted to pawn their land. I do understand they did not agree to this.

Short of tourism, from my countries view, there is little productivity in Greece that could not be copied way cheaper by another country in eastern europe. And with the way their social security system works(retirement at 52??),

Where the EMU(European Monetary Union, or EEG as my country called it) was once profitable, the EU and common funding is a bottomless pit.[/quote}

Just a heads up

Finland doesnt have the resources to lend money to Greece. Finland and Norway wanted an agreement for the Gas extraction north of Crete.

Retirement at 52 ? hmmm retirement is at 60 for the dangerous jobs and 65 for the regular ones. 55 is for officers in the army ,airforce and navy and 47 for the officers of the special forces. That is how it is for at least 20 years. Now with the IMF and all everyone retires at 67.

:)
 

Aginor

Vice Admiral
According to my information the average age of retirement in Greece was 61.3 before may 2010, it was decided to increase it to 63.4 on may 6th 2010 by the Greek parliament.

So while the Greek retired earlier than most other Europeans before the crisis they changed it in 2010. Of course that was too late but I can't understand how newspapers like the German "Bild" or the British "Sun" got numbers like the 52 stated above. When I first read that I couldn't believe it and searched for it in the Internet. And of course it was wrong.

There are other things that are true, though. Civil servants got 14 monthly wages until 2010. Greece has a lot of them so this was significant amount of money. They had to fight hard to change it to 13, but in Germany for example it is normal to only have 12.
Of course we have to take into account that I don't know how high the wages really were, so maybe that wasn't the biggest problem.

And of course I can understand that Greece doesn't want to sell parts of its territory or give others access to resources. That's because natural resources don't lose value, they gain value over time.
But I heard they still have a lot of gold reserves, I wonder why they don't sell them if they are that big. I don't know much about that, though.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Just a quick note - and for once, I must apologise for actually replying without reading almost anything in the thread itself (no time!). Right now, TCSTigersClaw, my money would be on, ahem, democracy in action. In other words, I think that now that your government is backtracking out of the referendum promise, for many Greeks that's going to be the end of negotiations. While the notion of a revolution in a European state may seem abstract and old-fashioned to most people, I can't help thinking that this is exactly what's going to happen. I actually think that, in the space of the next few weeks, you will see either a revolution or a military coup, in both cases linked with final bankruptcy.

I just can't see the Greeks swallowing the fact that they were promised a referendum, and then denied it because the EU governments (correctly) predicted what the results would be and blocked the whole thing. So, hang in there and brace yourself, because I'm afraid that for you, the worst may be yet to come.

Of course, I'll probably be wrong about this - my predictions usually are. Still, if I were a betting man, that's what I'd be betting on...
 

Aginor

Vice Admiral
I agree with Quarto, unfortunately there is some evidence that makes it more likely to happen than I originally thought. :(
I really hope we are wrong though, and everything stays peaceful in Greece.
 

Mace

Vice Admiral
@TCStigersclaw, it was not real money, but support in exchange for:
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-08-17/finland-gets-collateral-deal-with-greece.html

Now here, the retirement age is set 65, and has been for decades, and is now slowly being raised to 67. But nobody retires at that age, either people continue working if the job allows it, and a lot of people here got opted "early retirement" in their late 50's until recently(You maintain a full salary from your former employer but the governments compensates them, this is for promoting the hiring of young people).

From what we hear in our media a lot of greek money is invested in the government employees itself, and not in the country. I saw a newspaper article tuesday about a fight in the greek parlement. Ofcourse my country probably raised some eyebrows too when our Prime minister was adressed "dude!", and told to "chill out" in parlement meeting.. Followed by other stupid theatrics from the opposition parties.

@Youngblood
Wait, the rest of them are overhere!! that means their countries must be empty!!
 
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