Fri May 6th, 2011 at 08:15:26 AM EST
Last night (Tuesday May 3 - Nomad) in one of the most viewed shows on Greek TV, Lakis Lazopoulos a popular comedian showed an excerpt of an edited part of a documentary that has been shown on Canal + last month, if I'm not mistaken. We already knew, since March, that in this documentary, he divulged that the Greek Prime Minister was scheming with the IMF, to impose the sort of Shock Therapy Greece is living through - as the respected daily Kathimerini reported that:
Prime Minister George Papandreou called for the intervention of the International Monetary Fund in Greece at the beginning of December 2009, or two months after he took over the governance of the country, while he was publicly categorically rejecting such a possibility
In fact Papandreou was elected, less than two months earlier, by campaigning against the relative light austerity program that the New Democracy Conservatives ran on (and with quite reasonable arguments) and explicitly dismissing the idea that Greece would have to turn to the IMF for help. His, by know infamous, campaign slogan was "there is [plenty of] money".
The video (it's in Greek but DSK's statements are in French - starting ~ 0:42) reveals that the discussions between the two men involved more than a single communication:
frontpaged with minor edits - Nomad
A quick translation:
DSK: When I said, exaggerating, that when the IMF came to Greece we solved the issue in 15 days, we closed the issue because we were working months before with the Greek authorities and we did so "underground".
Why this? Because the Greek authorities wanted the IMF intervention even if Papandreou for political reasons didn't tell the Greek people. But very early on he had called me. He called back in November-December of 2009, telling me "we need help". And it is true that he had realized that he needed help...
And afterwards came the austerity desert: Dismantling collective bargaining, cutting public services and public employee salaries, shutting down schools and hospitals, increasing official unemployment already around or above 15%, planning to sell off public utilities, including power and water companies, increasing indirect taxes to astronomical levels, gutting public investment... etc.
Papandreou had to know that this was the sort of outcome that IMF programs achieve, especially during a recession, yet he pursued it, vigorously. In the months before Greek bond spreads reached unmanageable levels (and in February of 2010 the budgetary expense of serving the government debt was near a 30 year low as a percentage of GDP) the Prime Minister himself, as well as various ministers, went on record lamenting publicly the state of the Greek economy and the country in general, in the midst of (anyway) deterioriating international perceptions of the country. No effort was made to borrow some (soon to become very scarce) cash at what the Greek government obviously knew were rates lower than what they should expect anytime in the foreseeable future...
I think that whatever one describes as "democracy" in what used to be a western sense, is utterly negated by this blatant behind the scenes scheming. It seems that Papandreou was sold very early on a neoliberal version of "reform" which he knew would be politically impossible to implement under normal circumstances. He campaigned on exactly the opposite platform he is imposing and for which he was not elected. He then claimed "unforeseeable circumstances" to dismiss his party's electoral program. Thus came to be the IMF "shock therapy" - with what sort of understanding with the ECB and the European bankers one can only guess - and thus the precipitous fall into the economic abyss for the whole of peripheral Europe, a fall that started in Greece...
A final point: I would think that DSK should certainly be aware that by these statements he is "burning" his fellow "socialist" in Greece. Yet he does so. Greek government members have gone on record stating that DSK is in the begining of a presidential campaign where he wants to shift the burden of the plight of Greece to the Greek government and away from him. That might be true - although it is an admission of the disastrous effect that the IMF program has had. Yet it seems to me the large part of the european elites might be getting rid of a "burnt card" in Greece, leading an increasingly unmanaged and unmanageable country. What comes next however is impossible to see now. Apart from disaster that is...