Thursday, March 8, 2012

Greece debt swap deadline looms, no debt swap, no bail out, the Greeks need to totally default and rebuild their economy, pain now for brighter future

Dear All

At present the Greek people are unhappy, very unhappy, the austerity measures introduced are causing great hardship on the people and the country.

And it’s all about trying to shore up the crumbling economic situation which is only going to get worse.

The Greeks need to look north and slightly west, to Iceland in fact, when the Icelandic banks crashed the government came to the conclusion that the only way to rebuild was by way of default.

They did so, their economic prospects improved dramatically.

The Greeks need to do the same, but on a wider scale, I would say that the EU needs a Marshall plan for a total default to wrestle back sovereignty from the banks.

New political leadership to think the unthinkable is needed.

Investors have until Thursday evening to sign up to a swap of bonds that is vital to keeping Greece in the euro.

Unfortunately the euro wasn’t set up properly, hence the current crisis; the fault was greed, predatory greed within the banking system.

Greece needs at least 75% of its bondholders to agree to take a cut in the value of their holdings by 20:00 GMT.

They are signing up to get less back, but something is better than nothing.

Greek officials said that almost 60% had signed up already and were "optimistic" the deal would be successful.

It is a temporary measure, the slide to chaos and civil unrest grows, Greece maybe the first EU country to get an ‘Arab Spring’ to overthrow the government.

If bondholders don’t agree, Greece will not receive another bailout.

Greece has said it wants 90% of bondholders, such as banks and pension funds, to agree to take a 53.5% cut in the 206bn euros ($272; £172bn) of Greek bonds they hold.

In the Euro zone crisis, it is the Germans who call the tune, they are the ones paying the piper.

A Greek government official said:

"The pace of responses to the bond offer is good, the percentage of bondholders tendering voluntarily is very high."

Although a positive spin, this isn’t a feel good story for anyone.

The number of creditors signing up for the deal is growing, but it's likely the Greek government will still need to force this through with the 'Collective Action Clause' mechanism.

That would make it less than voluntary and more like a default.

The bond market is a huge ponzi scheme, which is collapsing unfortunately politicians are in the pockets of the bankers who fund their election campaigns.

And the mentality of ‘too big to fail’ isn’t helping.

If banks go to the wall, then governments should ensure that customers are protected first, then if possible salvage the bank, if not then sell off what is left.

Credit-default swaps (CDS) insurance on the original bonds would then probably be triggered.

They played a role in the 2008 financial crisis and brought down the US insurer AIG.

Because Credit-default swaps (CDS) aren’t backed by anything, no collateral, it is a myth, it’s a con, and it’s a joke.

On a global scale certain types of products such as Oil and food need to be removed from trading on the futures market.

Already one bondholder told the BBC that he had "no incentive" to accept the deal and would not do so.

Patrick Armstrong, managing partner at Armstrong Investment Managers said:

"I'm not in the business for altruistic reasons; Capital markets function best when people are out to deliver return on capital investment."

The government said an announcement on take-up of the swap will appear on its Greek bonds website at 06:00 GMT on Friday.

Greece should look to Iceland and how it solved its problems, what is required is so painful that not to default leaves Greece completely stuck.

Trouble is already happening on the streets because of austerity and it will grow.

The European Union and International Monetary Fund have said that if the debt swap does not go through then Greece will not get its latest bailout of 130bn euros.

Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said there would be no better offer, and the deal was vital for eurozone financial stability.

The eurozone is like a wooden shack which is promoted as a marble palace to investors, a few good hard kicks and the entire shack will come crashing down and take many EU countries with it.

To save it requires an EU wide solution to rip it all down and start from bedrock, then on firm ground the EU can rebuild again.

But demolition has to happen first.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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