Greece is wrong. There, I said it. They’re the ones who owe over €320 billion. They are the ones who elected a socialist party when socialism got them into this mess and they are the ones who are refusing to stop digging themselves into a hole. The latest referendum is just an additional nail in the coffin of common sense in Greece.

Admittedly, both options on the referendum were unpleasant choices, but this isn’t just about the welfare of the Greek people. All the money given in bailouts by the EU came from European taxpayers. It is an injustice in itself to tax a populace for something you think would be good for them, but completely unforgivable to give that money to an even more hedonistic and incompetent government. As trite as it may sound, Germans are people too.

Greece is failing because it was living the dream. Early retirement, splendid pensions and an overbearing state which makes sure everyone is comfy. The thing about dreams is that you eventually wake up. Greece woke up but it is not content to live life rationally. It is wanting to go back to the dream.

It will attempt to do this at the expense of the EU taxpayer and their many creditors (who are not necessarily bad people). So, in detail, why is Greece in this mess and how can they get out of it?

Socialist Policies

Even before the crisis came to fruition, Greece was guilty of terribly selfish socialist spending practices. Despite what some may think, Syriza is nothing new to Greece. They are yet another incompetent populist party seeking to milk the transient desires of their electorate for cheap votes. Even if that means sinking their economy even deeper.

Deficit spending is the most selfish fiscal policy a state can have. It robs the future to appease the present, with no regard that the world isn’t actually going to end tomorrow. There is no excuse to spend beyond your means and Greece’s means are very small. It is the national sport of Greece to dodge tax and with the country’s already anti-free market outlook, they aren’t encouraging anymore taxpayers to appear.

Blame the Creditor?

The Greek government was not forced to borrow money. It chose to do so to pay for their wanton socialist policies. The only thing we can blame the creditors for is indulging Greece’s irresponsibility. That in itself is bad, but not as bad as the Greek government’s seeking credit in the first place and then being unable to pay it back.

We forget, however, that the Greek government didn’t just appear. It was voted in. A famously incompetent string of Greek governments were voted in by the Greek people despite obvious signs of deficit spending and a looming credit crisis.

All those who supported the continuation of socialist policies and deficit spending are culpable in the downfall of their economy.

The Solution?

Many are claiming that Greece has a right not to pay back their debts. Others are cheering a victory against the evil banking empire. What I see is that an irresponsible nation has pretty much stolen from its creditors and the (often) well-intentioned people of Europe.

This is unacceptable and as such, Greece has to pay back its debt. If it cannot afford to do so, it must do what any failed company does: Liquidate.

Greece must privatise and sell-off all public assets. The government must downgrade dramatically. This will cut, even eliminate welfare and pensions, as well as public sector jobs – but at the current rate, Greece is heading towards a much higher cliff. Some will suffer under privatisation, but under hyperinflation, everyone will fall.

As a Minarchy[1], Greece will be able to start from a clean slate. It will need to spend within its means and that means that socialism has to go. Of course, the Greek people will not abide by this idea – but they are the ones who started this mess in the first place. This is the only foreseeable solution to Greece’s problem – one of which the socialist regime will not accept but one that they must push forward, regardless of their populist nature.

 

[1] A government which fulfils only a minimum of roles. Usually only defence and courts.

Nicholas Woode-Smith is co-founder of the Rational Standard and its Technical and Marketing Director. He is a student at the University of Cape Town, with majors in Politics, Philosophy and Economic History. He is the youngest council member of the Institute of Race Relations in history and the Regional Director of Southern Africa for African Students For Liberty. He also writes science fiction – prominently, the Warpmancer and Cape Zero series.