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The same would have been true if they left the European Union. Suggesting a temporary Grexit was a fairly meaningless act — a bravura performance by the Germans. When you desperately fear something in a negotiation, there is no better strategy than to demand that it happen…. The lesser line was that France and Germany were not linked on dealing with Greece, though they were not so far apart as to be even close to a breach.

The second, and more serious, line was that the final negotiation was an exercise of unilateral German power. Germany had allies.

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But it also had major powers as opponents, and these were brushed aside. These powerful opponents were brushed aside particularly on two issues. One was any temporary infusion of cash into Greek banks. The other was the German demand, in a more extreme way than ever before, that the Greeks cede fundamental sovereignty over their national economy and, in effect, over Greece itself.

Germany demanded that Greece place itself under the supervision of a foreign EU monitoring force that, as Germany demonstrated in these negotiations, ultimately would be under German control…. It was the pressure point that the Germans used to force Greek capitulation. But Greece is now facing not only austerity, but also foreign governance. They do not mean the government now, but the Greek electorate. Therefore, they want monitoring and controls. This is reasonable from the German point of view, but it will be explosive to the Greeks.

This will be seen as the return of German occupation, and opponents of the deal will certainly use that argument. The manner in which the deal was made and extended by the Germans to provide outside control will resurrect historical memories of German occupation. It has already started.

This is not the first time in Europe in recent years that electorates have been sidestepped or subverted for having inconvenient collective opinions. Elections themselves could become increasingly problematic :. So you either sign on the dotted line or you are out. The Greek debacle is being referred to as a diplomatic disaster :. It is difficult to see how this situation could be described as other than the worst way for the European project to proceed:.

The Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, has admitted that it would violate an election pledge he made in As we have consistently maintained at TAE, cash is king in a period of deflation, and the conversion to a cash-only economy can unfold very rapidly once credit instruments cease to be regarded as credible promises to repay. The banks are on the verge of collapse. Tourists are finding they cannot change foreign currency for scarce euros. People fear bank account haircuts. Medicines, particularly insulin, and access to medical care are very limited as the healthcare system has converted to pay-as-you-go, in cash.


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The power system struggles to cope as consumers cannot pay their bills. Purchases cannot be made outside the country, so vital imports are not possible, meaning that stocks of raw materials are being run down. Operations may shortly cease for many businesses:. Constantine Michalos, head of the Hellenic Chambers of Commerce and a food importer, said the economy has reached near paralysis.

We are going to start seeing shortages of meat by the end of the week.

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The network of chambers in the Greek islands reports that the local payments system is breaking down since nobody wants to accept transfers into backing accounts that could be seized at any moment. Businesses have little remaining room for manoeuver :. One particular problem is that Greek businesses rely heavily on imports especially of raw materials which they can no longer access easily; this means that, for example, a lightbulb factory reliant on copper from Chile can only make lightbulbs as long as its existing inventory holds out.

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Exports also fall; Greek manufacturers have already had to cancel orders from buyers abroad and more will follow soon. Redundancies are already starting to happen as businesses slim down to counter losses. Whereas some of the bigger businesses with bank accounts abroad or foreign income streams are able to circumvent some of these controls by using their foreign bank accounts to pay suppliers, most family-run businesses and smaller firms—the backbone of the Greek economy—are not so lucky.

In theory, they can apply to a special bank committee that assesses applications; in practice this is proving wholly insufficient…. Capital controls have quickly thrown normal pay arrangements into chaos, and businesses are increasingly resorting to delayed payments, forced holiday for employees, and layoffs.

Those who still use banks for deposits say they do so in order to pay staff electronically. Cash-heavy businesses that have stopped paying into banks have started to pay staff directly in cash.

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This is what a liquidity crunch looks like in practice, and very much what we have been warning about at TAE since its inception. Finance is the operating system, and when the operating system crashes, nothing moves. In a complex system, that translates rapidly into cascading system failure. Without liquidity to act as the lubricant in the engine of the economy, it is not longer possible to connect buyers and sellers, or producers and consumers. In a cash-only economy, where credit instruments have ceased to be viable, there is very little cash available, and of what little there is, people hold on to as much as they can because they are unsure when they may come by any more of it.

This means the velocity of money — the prime determinant of the level of economic activity that can be supported — remains extremely low. As we have said before :. As with many aspects of financial crisis, Greece is the canary in the coalmine…. For a long time, money will be the limiting factor, and finance will be the key driver to the downside, just as was the case in the Great Depression of the s.

Resources will remain available, at least initially, but no one will have the means to pay for them during a period of economic seizure.

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As we have discussed at TAE before, prices diverge under conditions of liquidity crunch. As a much larger percentage of a much smaller money supply starts competing for the essentials, they receive relative price support.


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In contrast domestic good of little immediate essential value become virtually worthless very quickly:. Some Greeks of means are reportedly going on spending binges, buying expensive goods in order to empty their bank accounts. Most Greeks are living off meagre salaries, have little money in their accounts and are prioritising the basics. Food and petrol sellers have been the big winners, so to speak, of the past week as people hoard dry foods and fill up on petrol to prepare for potential severe shortages in future. For most other businesses, selling less-essential goods and services, business is very bad.

Domestic production is falling as a consequence, which suggests that a sharp rise in unemployment may soon follow. To the extent that they can, people are hoarding cash and have been in modest amounts since January, when Syriza came to power. These hoards will support some segments of the Greek population well if the crisis continues, but the cashpiles seem to be distributed in highly uneven fashion. Debt to GDP is past the point of no return in Greece, meaning that default is inevitable.

Austerity is merely frog-marching the country in that direction even more quickly, as it suppresses economic growth. With the rate of growth less than the rate of interest paid on debt, Greece is in an exploding debt scenario. The greater the extent to which austerity forces economic contraction, the larger the debt will loom in comparison to falling GDP.

Debt relief is not on offer, maturity extensions will make little difference, and assets set aside to cover debt from privatization revenues are not going to attract the expected valuations under conditions of distressed assets prices. The banks, which have suffered from deteriorating asset quality and massive deposit flight, need a faster and bolder recapitalization than Europe is currently offering, Mr.