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Has there been any talk in Greece of making common cause with Portugal, Ireland etc. and setting up a debtors Union to negotiate better terms?

How did the €600 billion get to Swiss bank accounts, and how, in practical terms, could it be taxed?

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Feb 17th, 2011 at 06:18:28 AM EST
Talk about common cause with the other peripheral countries is coming basically from the left, economists and some, marginalized now, socialist politicians. The government is selling the line that says that this current crisis is first of all due to internal pathogenicities and "we are all to blame" thus we should "manage our own house" according to our debtors dictates, and never mind the others  - and on the other hand seems to pursue a n EU strategy of being an obedient poodle of Merkel's, thus hardly likely to participate in any sort of peripheral disgruntlement.
Perhaps behind the scenes there is some sort of communication with the other debtors, but it certainly isn't part of the rhetoric or the official policy of the Greek government.

Regarding the Swiss bank accounts, the government has gone on record saying that there is a lot of Greek money in Switzerland but not that much (perhaps 40 billion, they say). It seems likely that the 600 million might be some sort of total amount of transactions through Swiss banks. I would trust Spiegel (the alleged source of this information) over the Greek government on such matters however. The government has suggested that it might pursue a German-style deal with Switzerland regarding tax-evaders, perhaps by imposing a one-off 10% tax on any deposits by Greek citizens not declared to the tax authorities already (I reckon that 2-3 billion Euros of all Greek Swiss bank accounts are properly taxed in Greece). However it has also been rumoured that after the Swiss-German deal a lot of Greeks moved their deposits from Switzerland to other, ostensibly "safer" tax havens. So I'm not sure how large a part of this stash can be taxed. But any part would help.

As to how it got there: Political corruption, bribery, crime, shady bookkeeping and no effective watchdogs...  a lot of money changed hands in Greece over the last couple of decades, money that was not invested in the real economy, or money extracted from the demolition of the real economy

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Thu Feb 17th, 2011 at 06:44:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have to wonder if a lot of that money comes from asset sales by people in shipping whose main companies are not subject to anything but a tonnage tax. When they redeemed company shares, where did this take place? In what country, in what market? Seems to me that the Greek shippers could easily and legally launder their money out of the country even while maintaining Greek citizenship.
by Upstate NY on Thu Feb 17th, 2011 at 09:21:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
+1.  I have also come to the conclusion that a common front of 'the periphery' is the only way to get more than token changes from the controlling interests in the EU.
by Pope Epopt on Thu Feb 17th, 2011 at 09:04:16 AM EST
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But first the periphery needs to accept the idea that the core is screwing them.

There's too much Stockholm Syndrome here, stemming from feelings of inadequacy over being excluded from "Europe" for decades (mostly as a result of dictatorship persisting into the 70's).

Keynesianism is intellectually hard, as evidenced by the inability of many trained economists to get it - Paul Krugman

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 17th, 2011 at 09:10:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As Adam Smith put it:

a creditable day-labourer would be ashamed to appear in public without a linen shirt, the want of which would be supposed to denote that disgraceful degree of poverty which, it is presumed, nobody can well fall into without extreme bad conduct.

To be poor is shameful, maybe this also holds when it comes to representing an indebted nation. Sure sounded so when Persson talked about sneering twenty year olds and woved to pay down the swedish debt (and embrace the third way).

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Feb 18th, 2011 at 04:00:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For Smith this was an observation. I suspect that he would have been horrified at the thought that elites would try to manipulate downward the perceived standard, though it is certainly part of the tool kit of today's elites.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Feb 18th, 2011 at 10:11:13 AM EST
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personally I dont think anyone will even think about turning the ship around till one of the big three begins to spiral the plughole.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Feb 17th, 2011 at 09:17:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How did the €600 billion get to Swiss bank accounts, and how, in practical terms, could it be taxed?

Repatriating funds from flag-of-convenience countries is reasonably straightforward, as long as the funds are in bank accounts, not in cash, diamonds or products.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Feb 18th, 2011 at 02:18:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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