The first of May might not have meant much for most people out there.
But Greeks held that day to their utmost importance this year, as riots took place to demonstrate against the government for the country's bankruptcy. And on 5th May, they held a nationwide protest.
I have been following the news just to find out what will happen to Greece if it does go bankrupt. Who will own the country then? Will it be wiped out the map? Will the people turn into slaves? Or will some Arab or Russian billionaire buy the country? Yes, i am THAT naive in world economics.
It comes to a boring conclusion. A bail out. Well, of course i expected Superman to come and rescue the Greek people and expel the perpetrators from the country, but he the man who wears his red spandex outside was nowhere to be seen.
So what really happened? To explain it in simpler words, the Greek government overspent in some large scale projects (in other words, profligacy of the government), such as the Olympics in Athens in 2004 which went over the budget according to the BBC, just to state an example, and was not able to repay the loans and bonds, made easier to borrow due to Greece's membership in the Eurozone, which had swelled due to the increasing interest rates. Plus, tax evasion cost the government about 40 billion euros, a white collar crime committed by the higher hierarchy of society ; doctors, lawyers, engineers.
The economy downgraded Greek citizens to the point of being peasants for the government. Pay cuts, tax hikes, pensions reduction were some of the austerity measures planned by the current government. The hardworking people of Greece who had done nothing wrong are suffering while those criminals run away without any trace of evidence. I've got sympathy for the current socialist ruling party of Greece because the dirty job of overspending was done by the previous government, the New Democracy.
Owh Superman or maybe Supergrandwoman did arrive in the form of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. However she is working with an indifferent partner, something like a Superman-Lex Luthor partnership. Yes, it's the IMF. IMF disguises as a friend who comes to you and asks you, 'You look rather penniless, want some money?', only to stab you with a high interest rate later. Ah long, big time. As a result the public sector is affected. For example, the south American countries and some other countries which have resorted to the help of IMF have higher cases of tuberculosis due to the impairment of the health system which are not rich enough to supply adequate medication to save the population.
So the German parliament have decided to fund part of the bailout of Greece, along with the IMF which in turn angers the German population. Why? Because it's the taxes of the hardworking Germans which are being used to rescue Greece. And what if Greece won't be able to pay them back? Would Germany itself become bankrupt in the future? Greeks are also against the help of the IMF for it would only result in higher debt.
Angela Merkel said they have no choice. Anyone could turn a blind eye on Greece but the risk of Euro collapse would be higher if they did so and a chain reaction of economic breakdown would ensure. Germans have lambasted the move, while some other people have lauded the approach. Some Germans want a return back to Deutschmark, so that they won't be responsible the next time a European country goes bankrupt.
This event draws parallels with the American economic crisis 2-3 years ago. However that was worse. The story is too long to tell but i will try to sum it up in 2 paragraphs. Mortgage loans or housing loans were on the up in the early half of the decade, and as a result a lot of houses were built for the anticipation of the same trend in the next half. Banks invested by buying theses housing areas but this oversupply of houses resulted in a reduced value or price of these settlements. So banks started to give out subprime mortgage loans, loans given to those who have an unfavourable credit ratings (poor earners who were tricked by these money moguls) with adjustable-rate mortgage in order to sell these houses. So in the long run, they are paying more than the initial value of the house due to the hikes of interests.
Banks do that to cover their own faults in finances and their debts, and certainly, in order to earn more. As expected, these people are not able to refinance their loans as they were tricked by the banks. Banks take back the houses and made them theirs but at the same time, the banks were running on empty as their initial investment or overspending of the housing areas were at a loss. So here comes Captain America, George W. Bush to the rescue!
He sanctioned a $700 billion USD bailout of the banks that were affected in the crisis and whose money is that? It's the money of the hardworking people of America. Some of the people involved might get a slice out of the deal. One of the banks, AIG, which sponsored the best club in the universe (Manchester United) decided to hand out part of the money as bonuses to its financial service division. The criminals ran away, again.
I think Malaysia has overspent in the Dr M regime, only to be saved, according to Tengku Razaleigh by the money generated from Petronas and its petroleum industry. It was risky but how else could you describe Dr M.
Believe me, Dubai will be the next to crumble. Not that i pray for it, but their finances have been unstable lately and the fact that they are working with American 'financial experts' is a big risk for their economy.
In other unrelated news, the deputy prime minister of the new British government, Nick Clegg decided to give power to the people by allowing them to name the laws which they want to be scrapped. So if you don't like this or that particular law, drop the new government a message and they will scrap it. However i think this is just ridiculous. It's the case of the new government trying to give that first impression on the people. If a law were to be scrapped, then it has to go through a bureaucratic process, i would think, before it is finally dropped so that they could discuss the pros and cons rather than practice a veto power in the parliament which requires 2/3 of the votes of the ruling party.
Secondly, some might have an impression that a government which needs to be told of which laws that need to be scrapped is a lazy and incompetent government. Why couldn't they think of it themselves?
It pains to be a European at this very moment. In the United Kingdom you can express your views on the laws.
While in Malaysia, the people are so rich they are allowed to gamble in the world cup. I can't understand the logic of 'legalising' gambling. Why would they want to curb 'illegal gambling' during the world cup only to allow a 'legal form' of gambling? Why don't they just curb gambling all together, because these gambling addicts will eventually go gambling on the internet? By allowing only one license to that tycoon to handle world cup gambling, it means that all other gambling businesses, big or small for the world cup may be sued as they will be qualified as criminals. This is a monopoly of business which is punishable under US laws (Microsoft was sued once for this).
But in the end, Malaysians are not allowed to tell the government of the laws they want to be scrapped. So live with it. Gambling is legal for the world cup if you've got license.
PS : A rather incoherent post with a rather unrelated title. I hate editing, that's why i haven't written for a very long time because i don't want my articles to be as lengthy as this one. It was partly due to some other commitments too :). However i hope you are able to finish reading it.
PS : I highly recommend watching Michael Moore's Capitalism : A love story.