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  1. ''I wouldn't be so sure about the usefulness of pure marxist dichotomy in this problem. The problem with Greece seems to me to be in consumption, not in government's unproductive investments.'' The problem is Greece's consumption? What part of Edric O's post did you read exactly, apparently it was the imaginary part that speaks about unproductive government investments. Seems like you're just speaking random nonsense to me. ''It borrowed on the EU market, but couldn't produce wares capable of competition there.'' ''Yet, what does actually Greece produce? Baklava? You get it ten-times cheaper across the border in Kjustendil or Edirne. Greece couldn't improve its private sector, so the state absorbed many persons unable to find or start to work.'' And this is the fault of the Greek on the street how? Might want to re-familiarize yourself with the topic. ''The "workers" have their say, I think, they are thus the cause of Greek turmoil'' And what gives you that idea? The Greek government has been the loyal lap dog of the Troika, who, it is said, even appointed their new prime minister (I don't know much about the prime minister business to be honest) ''low retirement age, with wages and rents on a "western" level, despite economy's unproductivity'' Low retirement age? I believe we've been through that. While I'm on the topic, here are some facts supported by reputable organizations (mostly anyway).... ya know, if anyone is interested in that sort of thing: '' Public spending: according to the Center for American Progress, public spending in Greece is only 44.6% of GDP. This is lower than the EU average, lower than Germany’s 46.6% and considerably lower than Sweden’s 55%. Tax collection: the real problem is not social expenditure on the poor but the lack of tax collection from the rich. From 2001 to 2007, Greece collected only an average of 39.4% of GDP in taxes, compared to the EU 44.4% average. Hours worked per week: According to Eurostat data of 2005, the Greeks worked 43.1 hours per week (compared to 35.7 hours in so-called ‘thrifty’ Germany, with its much-touted ‘Protestant work ethic’). Hours worked per year: More recent OECD data shows the Greeks to work an average of 2,119 hours per year — 690 hours more than the average German, 467 more than the average Brit and 356 more than the OECD average. In fact, out of all OECD countries, only the Koreans work more. Amount of paid holidays: The paid leave entitlement in Greece is 23 days per year. This is actually below the EU average, and significantly lower than the minimum of 28 days in the UK and 30 (!) days in Germany. Retirement age: Again, Eurostat data from 2005, shows the average age of exit from the labour force in Greece to be 61.7. This was higher than in Germany, France or Italy and higher than the EU27 average. It is being raised even further now as a part of the EU-IMF bailout conditions. According to Eurostat, even before crisis, in 2008, one in five Greeks (among them almost half a million children) lived under the formal poverty line of 500 euros per month. An independent survey by Kapa Research and the London School of Economics found even worse data: a third of the Greek population now live in formal poverty (and mind you: this was in 2007 – it’s actually gotten a lot worse since as a result of these draconian austerity measures). Every child in Greece is born with a 40,000 euro debt on their name. Greece’s youth are now referred to in the country as Generation 700: because that’s the maximum monthly wage that young Greeks will typically make – that is, if they are lucky enough to find a job: according to the Financial Times, over 35 percent of young Greeks is out of work right now. The so-called 13th and 14th salaries (Christmas, Easter and summer bonuses) are not additional salaries. As a Greek reader on this blog, Amalia, pointed out: “Greeks do not get two extra salaries a year; their annual salary is simply divided by 14 and they get two installments at Christmas, one and half at Easter and one and a half sometime in the summer.” The Dutch get a 13th month worth of salary and Austria has a 14th month. Since these countries are not experiencing a similar budget crisis, this simply can’t be the cause of Greece’s debt. The bottomline is: it doesn’t matter in how many installments you receive your salary (whether it’s in 12, 13, 14 or 2,000 parts); what matters is your annual salary. As long as you make less than 6,000 euros a year (as is the case for 20 percent of Greeks) you live in poverty — period. Living costs in Greece are the highest of all of Europe. As a result of this lethal combination of low wages and high living costs, millions of Greeks are forced to work two or three jobs just to survive. Since last year’s bailout, the Greek economy contracted almost 5%, 50,000 to 65,000 business have been closed, unemployment increased by 400,000, industrial activity declined by 11%, the construction sector contracted by 73%. Partly as a result, suicide rates are reported to have nearly tripled. All in all, this is a humanitarian tragedy of unprecedented proportions. How could Mr. O’Brady possibly keep a straight face arguing that the people experiencing all of the above, are somehow spoilt children? First of all, the bailout is not a handout: the Greek people don’t actually benefit from the EU-IMF bailout. Even if the bailout money really did go to the Greeks, this wouldn’t necessarily be beneficial for the Greek people at all. After all, the bailout is a loan for which the EU and IMF charge an exorbitant 8 percent interest rate, meaning northern European tax payers and the IMF should make a handsome profit from their so-called ‘rescue aid’, while the Greeks will only be further indebted by it. The bailout serves not Greece but Europe’s insolvent banks: as former IMF Chief Economist Kenneth Rogoff pointed out last year already, “a lot of European banks are insolvent.” The real problem of the European crisis isn’t the fiscal crisis in the periphery, it’s the financial crisis in the banking sector of the core. Private bank exposure to Greek sovereign debt: BNP Paribas: 5bn – 7 percent of equity; Société Générale: 2,5bn – 6 percent of equity; Postbank: 1,2bn – 21 percent of equity; Kommerzbank: 2,9bn – 27 percent of total equity. That’s just a handful. More data here. Central Bank exposure to Greek debt: the European Central Bank has 190bn of exposure to Greek debt. ECB close to insolvency: according to a recent report by Open Europe, asset losses as small as 4.25% could tip the ECB into insolvency. Greek default alone would chip 2.35% to 3.47% off of the ECB’s capital base. Add in a Portuguese or Irish default and you have the European Central Bank – the flagship of European capitalism – literally going bankrupt.'' Courtesy of Jerome E. Roos, who somehow managed to actually dig this shit up. http://huey3man.word...a-lies-exposed/ The Eurostat, OECD, Open Europe, Financial times, e.t.c links are all on the page. ''The actual resources that must be expended to produce things are human labour and raw materials'' Even raw materials can be put in terms of human labour. It's not like we'll ever actually run out of anything, it just takes more and more to get to it. Taken together with technological advance, this can make raw resource acquisition either more or less expensive.
  2. What does any of that have to do with the average Greek? I doubt the average Greek would mind a downsizing of their army as opposed to an economic crisis or massive public cuts. Of course, if your going to play the ''modern democracy is representative'' card then its different I suppose. If we're just speaking about the government being terrible, well most likely I'd be liable to agree, since in terms of serving its people I've very rarely (if ever) been impressed with any government. p.s: Wow, both Edric O and Wolf. I'm very surprised that anybody was still watching. I guess the will to maintain a place for sensible discussion is still very strong.
  3. The article does not strike me as being of quality: ''He’s open, friendly, fresh-faced, and clean-shaven, and like many people at the top of the new Greek government, he comes across less as Greek than as Anglo—indeed, almost American.'' I can see how this would come across as racist. Some people may get the idea that he is trying to paint who he considers to be the good guys as non-Greeks. I also like the picture he paints on the last page (sarcasm). The men of the west ''Spartan warriors''**, outnumbered and courageously defending against Sauron's evil hordes ''the mob''**. Apparently Greeks are not just particularly lazy, but are also much more prone to general evil-doing than other people. "if there were any justice in the world the Greek bankers would be in the streets marching to protest the morals of the ordinary Greek citizen" Ahhhh. Everywhere else in the world the bankers, the proud lords of humans and elves western civilization had somehow fallen and become ring wraiths! involved in dubious deals! But of course Greece was different, if only the unwashed masses who looted and pillaged as soon as the lights went out could have followed the example of these men instead. :( "The deputy prime minister has told us that they are looking to have at least one death, a former Greek minister had told me. They are looking for blood"* See, if the deputy prime minister says so it must be true! The article's language seems (to me at least) propagandistic. As another criticism, the article appears to be devoid of sound (as in, organizations) official sources. It only has: So and so (if that, sometimes the particular individual remained anonymous) said this. It does at least include some numbers but these are often lacking. Eg: ''The average government job pays almost three times the average private-sector job. The national railroad has annual revenues of 100 million euros against an annual wage bill of 400 million, plus 300 million euros in other expenses. The average state railroad employee earns 65,000 euros a year'' Right, the bolded part at the end is good. a straight up payment figure. However, that's just one job and the rest is just babbling. Knowing that the average government job pays three times as much as the average private sector jobs can only be a source of outrage when we can determine hourly pay and for this we would need to know the average private sector wage and hours worked. If the private workers are sweatshop employees then it hardly seems outrageous if the the government employees are paid 3 times as much. The article needs lines like these: ''According to Eurostat, Greek workers work on average longer hours than the rest of Europeans. They work a 42-hour week, while the average working week in the 27 member states of the EU is 40.3 hours and within in the “Eurozone” it is 40 hours'' And on top of that, it should then provide the relevant link to confirm that, indeed, Eurostat claims this to be the case. Many articles neglect to do this, but at the very least the article should contain references to organizations so that the reader can confirm the claim for himself. Finally, the article had too much ''story time'' stuff. I don't care about the fantastic beards of the monks or what his sources were wearing. Some of the stuff may have had some minor relevance, but it could have been provided far more concisely. All in all, the article seemed like something out of People magazine or some such. I can say in summary that up to Edrico's last post Wolf, the article, and Edrico have all failed to provide much in the way of evidence for any claims. In the interests of not being annoying, I will assure everyone by repeating that, yes, I did read Edrico's last post and know that he is about to put out something much more solid. *I only sped-read the article (and ignored the monastery bits entirely) as it was very boring and long-winded. Way too much fluff. **The author's exact words.
  4. ''The retirement age for Greeks is 55 for men; 50 for women'' This at least would appear to be verifiably false. According to the OECD*, the ''normal retirement age'' (I assume that refers to an average or some such) of Greeks is 65. *http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retirement#Retirement_in_specific_countries
  5. ``In canada it was 61% turnout.`` Whoops, I was thinking of the ontario provincial election. Sorry about that. (edit: posting from a cellphone is horrible)
  6. ''1. We just had a federal election, if people wanted change they could have done it then. '' Less than half the enfranchised populace voted. It is possible they have no interest in any of the parties or their policies.
  7. Sneakgab

    Gulf Oil Spill

    Well I get you about news being shitty nowadays. No doubt about that. That they prefer making money to making news is the problem. Well, isn't all the shouting and talking already an effect? Since BP doesn't want it's image ruined it provides discouragement for further such acts... OK, let's be realistic BP won't give a shit. But now let's be even more realistic: There isn't anything the public can do about much of anything, short of changing government. Some would say that the truth being revealed is in itself useful, but if you're going to ask for much more than that for legitimizing news, then most news will be illegitimate; It is rare that people have the capability to act on news (other than using it to form their opinions). All that can be hoped for is people giving a hue and a cry over it, and when has it been otherwise? At the end of the day, there is nothing special about this news. It's as useful as the typical piece of news. Through this way of thinking, most news ever should not have been broadcasted. ''So when people are all screaming how BP is being bad about everything my response is how do you know they are doing a bad job? '' ''Some interesting pics showing they are using small absorbent pads to try and clean it up.'' That doesn't strike me as a serious attempt at a cleanup. I don't have all the information but everything I've seen so far shows that this is no serious attempt, and that BP is not willing to incur the financial expense of a proper clean up, which isn't surprising seeing as how they were not willing to incur the financial expense to prevent it in the first place. As for people ''screaming'', there's nothing wrong with expressing your opinion. Take the new Dune books for example. There something wrong with people saying they're shit, even though saying so is not particularly constructive? In summary: This news is as useful as any other. People are doing what they can: nearly nothing. What's wrong with calling shit shit?
  8. Sneakgab

    Gulf Oil Spill

    Patently absurd. No offense, but perhaps you would like to reconsider taking the stance that most supports the status quo on every occasion. This ''Noise'' is what news is. People getting information. It is also necessary in some cases for a person or group to suffer some consequences for his ill deeds (as typical civilized society deems necessary). As for people getting sick... give me a break. Talk about stretching it. Do I seriously need to even say anything? ''In the end people love to scream about problems but got no solutions to offer, that is why BP is asking for ideas from the public. This is them saying: You think you can do better, alright give us your ideas.'' Yeah. Taking a shit on somebody's floor and turning around and saying ''well, give me some ideas!'' when the guy screams somehow makes it wrong for him to continue being critical of your choice of defecation locations. The people have the right to scream. That BP asks for ideas is slightly nice I guess (no big deal) but other than that. This is very similar to someone abusing public property and asking that no one say anything.... After which some guy comes up and supports this saying that we should avoid pointless ''noise'', should keep the media away from the property for their own safety (with there being no real danger) and then criticizing the onlookers for criticizing the guy who broke the public property without offering any solutions.
  9. ''Palestinian official Raed Fattouh, who coordinates the flow of goods into Gaza with Israel, said SODA, juice, jam, spices, shaving cream, potato chips, cookies and candy were now permitted.'' Soda?...SODA!? OH SHIT! GET OUT OF ISRAEL NOW BEFORE THE BOTTLE ROCKET STORM!!!! It's NOT good! another rocket strike OH SHIT THEY GOT IT RIGHT THIS TIME! RUN!! RUN BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!!!
  10. Sneakgab

    Gulf Oil Spill

    The police quickly assist with giving the roundabout and preventing media access in general after the oil incident. Quick, organized, and efficient. When hurricane Katrina came around, service was decidedly slower and of less quality. Heh, I guess they were too busy doing corporate dirty business to actually do their jobs. :D
  11. I'm trying to burn at 4x (or lower) with Nero. I could with a CD-RW, but the option isn't coming up with CD-R. (I need to burn at low speeds to *ahem* ''back up some old PS1 games'' as it were. Yes... back up some old PS1 games) (edit: Wow this post was actually made. I thought my dinky computer's crash had prevented it)
  12. In general, that wealth is concentrated into fewer and fewer hands (or rather, a smaller proportion of population perhaps), is a nigh indisputable rule of Capitalism. All history has shown this (as far as I know).
  13. The aim is to have local voting on local issues, not on national ones. Even if Marxists simply just wanted more local power, it doesn't mean they'll be happy about it regardless of the form it comes in and the scenario it is placed in. You might like meat, but that doesn't mean you'll want to eat it in puree form, or right after you just filled yourself to the brim with dinner.
  14. *Dragoon Knight posts refutation of 100 stupid points* And so, Dragoon Knight's dirty little secret was revealed to the world: Masochism. Wolf: Make green profitable. Nothing new. However, relying on legislation is useless: ''On January 24th, the US Supreme Court, by a 5-4 decision, ruled to remove the remaining spending limits on corporate involvement in elections.'' I don't think I need to say much more on that. Modifying the state may help (things like reversing the above decision for example), but in the end, power corrupts. So then there is the issue of technology. Well, saying let's make ''green'' the most profitable via technology is in essence saying and doing nothing (not an active solution), unless you are personally pushing forward such technology. Almost all enterprise is in private hands, and this includes research. Even where researchers are not directly employed by companies, they still rely on their funding (even when they rely on government funding, with the government as it is...). So obviously companies need to get interested in investing into ''green''. We all know that under capitalism, the most profitable option is chosen by the companies (or at least what they think is the most profitable option). So if we can agree on that, then clearly the fact that ''green'' tech is not heavily invested in or used says something about it's profitability. To change things, we must change profitability (don't see how you'll do that), increase investment (only if your a billionaire) or change the nature of rule. (Of course things can change by themselves, I'm speaking about active change) The lattermost can be done to any extent between minor (legislation to reduce corporate influence on government) and major (direct democracy) and the effects vary accordingly. If the population moves for minor changes, they must keep moving or defend their changes indefinitely, for the ruling class does not sit idly but also moves for changes that benefit it.
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