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寫於希臘公投之前 On Greek Referendum
2015/07/02 17:43:20瀏覽834|回應7|推薦3

PIIGS,中文叫歐豬國家,乃指歐元區內出現債務違約危機的葡萄牙、意大利、愛爾蘭、希臘及西班牙等5國。希臘於2015630日要向債權人IMF國際貨幣基金償還15億歐元到期債務,不還或者還不出就是違約。跟著可能發生的事包括希臘國家宣告破產、被迫退出歐元區...等等。
這些國家的債務危機已存在了超過10年。之所以出現債務,是同一個原因,入不敷支。一個國家的收入主要是經常性的稅收,而歐豬國家最大的開支則是福利,尤其是退休金及失業救濟金。惡性循環。每當經濟不景時,失業率升→繳交薪俸稅人數減少→政府收入下跌;但與此同時領取失業救濟金的人數卻上升而導致國家開支增加。債務已存在多年,危機未爆破是因為有債權人願意繼續放債使歐豬國家能不斷以新債冚舊債,苟延殘喘。

至於希臘現在很有可能成為歐豬國裡首個爆煲,乃源於2015初之希臘國會大選,36%的希臘人選出左翼激進政黨,其領袖Tsipras出任總理。Tsipras的競選綱領是推翻包括希臘在內所有歐豬國均遵行債權人要求的開源節流政策。開源是加稅,節流是削減福利。本來道理是一字咁淺,不開源節流怎能解決入不敷支呢?說到這裡,先岔開一下,歐豬國家有另一稍為不同版本PIGS,不包括愛爾蘭,剩下4國全是位於歐洲氣候最怡人的南歐地中海。這些國家的居民認為下午溫度太熱,不宜工作只宜午睡,Siesta。所謂熱,與長江中下游的重慶、南京以至上海夏天經常愈35℃其實還相差頗遠。余曾在西班牙自由行10多天,很多地方下午2點至5點差不多所有商店/機構全都關門像死城一樣。在很多歐洲其他國家的人眼中歐豬國民最懂享受生活。換一個角度看,生產力亦最低。在20世紀後半葉之前,生產力低也不要緊,勤奮的德國人用Mercedes奔馳、BMW寶馬;西班牙人、意大利人用Fiat快意,同樣可以代步,少點豪華設備而已。但隨著福利主義在40多年前興起,大概20年前這些生產力低、交稅少,又要求與西歐北歐看齊福利水平的地中海國家就開始靠舉債過活而成就歐豬國一詞。
希臘,尤其是其首都雅典,一直擁有『西方文化發源地』的美譽。誠然Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Hippocrates,Sophocles,Herodotus諸人在哲學、科學、醫學、戲劇及史學等範疇的斐然成就是劃時代的。約3400年前以雅典作為楷模的City States城邦更被視為現代西方民主的鼻祖(雖然女人及奴隸都沒有公民權利)。此一時彼一時也,昔日古埃及、巴比倫兩河文明亦曾盛極一時,而今安在哉?今天的希臘人或許覺得舉債度日不正是西方世界的新常態。當今世上唯一超強美帝的雙赤(財政赤字及貿易赤字),與其軍事強勢等量齊觀獨步天下。這幾十年來美帝同樣以發行國債來維持其巨大雙赤。美帝能,希臘也能然乎?只要我們祖國及世界第三大經濟體日本都願意無限量購買希臘國債。美帝本來早已破產,但自從(余認為是)最了得的美國總統Nixon尼克松於1971年撕毀Bretton Woods金本位體系,美帝已立於永不會破產之地,因為祂可以無限量印發全球的流通貨幣。
再說回今年初的希臘大選。上屆政府執行債權人要求的開源節流政策,香港媒體一般稱為緊縮政策,因為削減福利是重點。36%希臘人認為自己無辜受到債權人迫害而選Tsipras及其激進黨羽,支持上屆總理同意節衣縮食以還債的希臘人有28%Tsipras是一個富有爭議性人物,高中年代已加入希臘共青團並在學運中登上全國電視台訪問而名噪一時,大學時則擔任全國學聯執委,風頭一點不遜於我們的黃之峰、周永康。不知是否搞事多過讀書,26歲才本科畢業。他40之齡當選希臘150來最年輕總理,但更突出的是他乃史上第一個以個人名義(而不是手持聖經以神之名)宣誓就任的希臘總理。從大選到今天,他一直呼籲人民反對節流。據外電報導Tsipras提交給債權人的解決方案拒絕繼續緊縮政策,只同意以後苛徵富人稅,充分反映其共產仇富心態。但主要債權人IMF不相信單靠富人能扭轉希臘入不敷支格局,所以不願把債務延期或放新債冚舊債。Tsipras可能相信歐盟不會把希臘踢出歐元區,因為或會導致歐元不穩,所以抓爛面皮打其爛仔牌。其本事就是有36%希臘人跟隨他,比其他政黨為多。看官不知可有留意香港電台有一個節目叫『科學零距離,31台介紹這個新節目的廣告中有一句"牛肉能否從樹上種出來?"。在今天希臘的民主制度裡,Tsipras的選民很有可能相信金錢也可以從樹上種出來,甚至像下雨從天上掉下來。選這樣一個總理出來,至少借了人家的錢不用還。
殺人償命,欠債還錢,是自人類社會演化數千年以來的普世價值。20世紀中葉起,西方國家越來越多保障殺人犯的生存權而廢除死刑。G2~美中~世界兩大經濟體可能最大的共同點就是仍然堅持殺人償命。幾天後的希臘公投看看會不會帶頭鼓吹廢除人類另一個普世價值~欠債還錢。一個以抗爭為業的人成為一國之首,便要尋找新的抗爭對象。老毛與蘇共鬧翻後,中國已被孤立,他在無甚選擇下,決定顛覆中國根深蒂固之『舊文化』,造成十年浩劫!Tsipras則聰明地選擇了相當一部分國民敵愾同仇『恫嚇』希臘還債的國際債權人。他要顛覆的是欠債還錢這個普世價值。
希臘民選國會的歷史不足200,Tsipras卻已是第186任總理。這個曾經民智最高的國家,在現代的民主制度下彷若每一次選換一個新的總理,其當選之前所存在的一切問題便能立刻解決了。2003年香港幾十萬刁民上街高喊打倒董伯伯,哪知一蟹不如一蟹!希臘人民可能又再第186次失望。

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2015/08/17 00:05
I didn’t study the Greece’s particular case in deep. But I am curious how Greece’s creditor would justify to lend to Greece. Apart from the low cost lending, possibly, they want to keep Greece in Eurozone (i believe there are gd reasons). Hey~ This is no longer a pure economic decision. Then, do we still have a pure right or wrong economic answer here?!

In fact, Greece was indeed able to obtain the cheap loans during the 2000-2008 time. It’s looked very much like the house buyers in US, right?! (but in US, the lenders also bet on the ever rising property market.) Ok, 2008, global meltdown, boom, Greece was unable to cover its shit.

To me, the problem is not on the citizen, but the Greece’s gov (whose politician wanted to keep their own popularity?! surely, it’s easier to borrow on behalf of the gov than think). A citizen has no say on whether they want the cheap loan. (I believe there is not a vote on every everything.) But of course, they enjoyed the benefits from the cheap loan.

On the other hand, Greece was not in a good shape even before they joined Eurozone (partly because of their polarised politics). Possibly because of this, their join date was not 1999, it’s later. Still having Greece to join the Eurozone, would they give up so easy now?!

PL
Germany's debt after WWI
2015/07/23 13:57

How soon we forget history.  Look what happened to Germany when the victors forced harsh terms on the Germans with the Treaty of Versailles after WWI.  The harsh and humiliating treatment played a key role in the rise of Hitler and the Nazi party who constantly reminded the Germans on how they had suffered under the victorious powers.  What do you think Greece and its proud people are going to respond?  Greece is already reaching out to Putin’s Russia for help.
What a mess! read this link
http://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2015/07/02/the-case-for-greece-when-it-forgave-germanys-debt

zhangWL(xingwanlilu) 於 2015-07-23 22:15 回覆:

it's good to read that the link u provided was giving a balanced picture with views from opposing sides. Yale's Guninnane is correct in saying geopolitics is just “partly” the reason why Germany 60 years ago & Greece today are getting different treatments from the creditors.
Reparation payments from germany for both european wars were “capital account” in nature, whereas Greece today & probably in the foreseeeable future has an ongoing “current account” deficit. Even all old debts r forgiven, Greece's banks still don't hv the liquidity to operate normally. Unlike any other debtors or mortgagee who repay their loans regularly with interest and a certain amount of principal, Greece is unable to repay just the interest portion, let alone repaying the principal proper. It is running both fiscal deficit & trade deficit on a perennial basis, net of interest payment & loan repayment.
Germany's case in the early '50s was like light is being seen at the other end of the tunnel, greece today is is digging a hole ever deeper into the ground, not drilling a tunnel through a mountain of known distance.
Last week I read somewhere that, as soon as Greece was admitted into the Euro zone, its then govt exemplified pork-barrel politics by irresponsibly raising the wages of its blue collar workers, an example cited was the train drivers were paid 100k Euros(or US$130,000) per year, on par with airline pilots. Greece surely is one big victory for populist democracy, achieving ideals that Mao could hardly dream of.


So
欠債還錢
2015/07/07 16:57

希臘和意大利我很多年前去過,從一個游客的角度去看,南歐給我的印象是風景秀麗獨特,充滿地中海風情,美女眾多,個個明眸晧齒,秀髮如雲,到處都有雄偉的古跡建築,滿街都是來自各國的游客。另一個較深的印象是這裡的人們生活節奏很慢,即使首都雅典、羅馬也是如此,那些住在海邊城鎮和海島的人們就更是優悠自在,快樂和平,若是剛從倫敦等繁忙大城市過來,這種感覺更是明顯。我不知道希臘的經濟結構,但旅游業應佔國民收入相當比例,另外農業看來應比工業發達,因我見過希臘的地中海特產,却從未見過她的工業產品。

非常同意網誌作者所言,欠債當然應該還錢(殺人填命較有爭議),長期倚靠對外借貸來維持全民高福利絕不可能持續,終有爆煲的一天,這個道理甚為明顯。奇怪的是該國的人民居然反對節約,難道他們大多數人對本國的經濟狀況毫無所知,抑或雖然知道卻抱僥倖心理,希望債權國家因顧全大局而繼續無限量放水?這種心態既盲塞又自私,須知別國的錢也是他們的人民辛勤勞動賺來的,怎可能無償用來幫你填無底洞呢?

我覺得歐盟應索性斧底抽薪,若希臘仍然拒絕實行緊縮措施,就停止放水讓她債務違約破產,估計到時她就會自動節約,甚至可逼使國民回復理性,選出一個較為"正路"的領袖,這樣經過一段時間,支出自然會回到跟收入相適應的水平,不過可能整體人民生活水平會下降,甚至淪為第三世界國家,但這是沒有辦法的,世界上第三世界國家多着呢,長痛不如短痛啊!再説,弄成這樣這也是他們國民的"共業",應該由全國人民承受。


PL
Greece is a very touchy situation
2015/07/03 15:08
Greece is a very touchy situation and despite all our predictions, we will never be able to fully anticipate what is going to happen.  The global system has been desgined to take advantage of the “weaker” countries in order to maintain dominance of the existing powers – goes back for centuries, not unlike the colonial/imperialist system.  Germany may take a tough stance at the moment and may even allow Greece to fall as an example to other countries who don’t toe the line and play by the rules that were put in place by the great powers.  All part of realpolitics.

With the growing mess in the Middle East and rise of Islamic extremists, it is not unlikely that the U.S. will stand by idly and allow an ally, who has granted American many military base rights, to fall.  But, yet, they feel that an example will be necessary in order to ensure that all understand and acknowledge the system that has been put in place.  Look what happened to Spartacus when he led a slave rebellion against Rome.  Look what happened to those in Hong Kong who speak out against the hypocrisy of democratic rule under the PRC.

Though we feel somewhat powerless, a lone voice that makes no difference, do not let this stop you from voicing your own opinion.  If this happens, it will be the end of us.

Keep up the interesting dialogue. 

Frankie
settlement one way or the other
2015/07/03 15:07

I agree that there will be a settlement one way or the  other. EU is very delicate. It can’t afford to lose any member. Germany has a deep pocket. However, Germany can’t help all those troubled countries. Anyway, this matter is too big.
My concern is my coming vacation to Santorini. News is saying that Greece is now a cash only country. I prefer not to carry too much cash in a troubled country.  Hopefully the matter will be resolved soon. My wife will be very disappointed if we have to cancel the trip.
Other than my trip, a resolution to the matter will certainly help the stock market. Most of everybody will be a happier man.


Gulliver
Greek default
2015/07/03 11:41
A little idea on the Greek default , many countries default on their debt , they got down graded on their rating , Russia , cypress , South America  , the Japanese , china before the communist etc,

EU is a political union , Greek can exit the eurozone only , a monetary union , just like UK , Poland n Belgium , 

Greek is strategically located between the east n west , invaded n conquer by rome n Turkey before, it has less debt than the cash in Apple bank account , small population , oil reserve n great agriculture n tourist islands etc  


Greek just need a good n strong leader to unite the people and bring the country forward for prosperity , if Greek leave , other southern countries might follow , I think they can come to a settlement 


Today is D day for china stock market , a fight between king Xi n ex king Jiang , this is much worst than Greek default , an hour trade lose more than what Greek owe , people are jumping off building n losing their life saving with debt , 

China internal struggle is the big problem now , went into financial warfare to turn the people against the government , Xi shaking hand with moustache Tsang is a fighting back , stop the market for a week n wipe out the short seller

Big fight today , beware
zhangWL(xingwanlilu) 於 2015-07-03 15:37 回覆:
Gulliver, many thanks for ur insightful response. indeed many people r v sympathetic towards the Greeks, incl our ex-editor-in-chief classmate & at least a couple of Nobel economics laureates. their view is not invalid in that the lenders r less than prudent in lending to Greece in the 1st place & keep on doing so, while they do know better Greece may not be able to repay just the interest much less the principal, as is the situation today.
some also think Greece can exit from Euro but remain in EU. i just wonder whether their way of life of paying more welfare than collecting tax revenue is viable, whether the currency used is euro or drachma or whatever ?

Amy
價值觀念的悲哀
2015/07/03 10:34

若濫用福利(金錢和物質)去不斷滿足人民,會養出什麼質素的人呢?