Telegraph, By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
Greek unemployment rose to 25.4pc in August. Youth unemployment rose to 58pc.
Under the official forecast, the economy will contract by a further 4.5pc next year, so it fair to assume that lots more people are going to lose their jobs. It is certainly not going to improve in any meaningful way for years to come.
This is what happens when you lock into the wrong currency and block the escape routes – or join a “burning building with no exits” in the words of William Hague.
Even if Greeks comply with all demands, public debt will reach 179pc of GDP next year. Perhaps there will be some sort of formula to cut debt service costs by shaving 50 basis points off interest on rescue loans, and persuading the ECB to forgo “profits” on its estimated €40 billion holdings of Greek bonds (though unrealised profits would seem be courting fate).
Yet it is hard to see how the salary and pension cuts, etc, pushed through the Greek parliament last night with enormous difficulty can do any more than buy a few months’ delay. The protests on Wednesday bordered on urban guerrilla warfare. It will not take much to cross that line.
Even if the EMU machine succeeds in keeping Greece in the system, is this any longer a remotely desirable goal? Has it not become a vicious and immoral policy in itself?
I agree with the IFO Institute’s Hans-Werner Sinn that upholding euro membership has by now become an act of cruelty. It not being done in the interests of Greeks. It is being done for the Project, by enforcers of the Project. Only by breaking free can Greece restore a minimum of economic vibrancy and national dignity.
Everything we know from labour studies is that the early twenties are crucial years, shaping lifelong career paths and earnings ten to fifteen years beyond. The worst economic crime you cannot commit is to leave 58pc of youth grinding away their days in frustration in cafés, if they can afford the coffee.
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