Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Greek tragedy fast running out of chapters

It's been another shaky session on global financial markets, with time running out for Greece to avoid defaulting on its debt.

Stocks across Europe plunged around three percent on concerns the Greek government will fail to meet requirements for a fresh bailout.

As talks between EU leaders and the IMF lurch into farce, Greece is set to run out of money within weeks, which means public servants won't be paid and pensions will go on hold

Now the Greek government has promised as much austerity as possible to win the next installment of financial aid - but lenders are demanding great cuts to public spending and greater tax collection.

This is going to be a hard sell to Greek taxpayers who are already hurting, and there's a view that Greece is being made a scapegoat for bad EU policy decisions and the lack of decisive action on the sovereign debt crisis.

But despite this glimmer of hope, the stress getting worse and yields for Italian and Spanish bonds have risen above five percent on fears that those two powerhouse economies are at risk of contagian.

With the financial aid for Greece showing few signs of working, perhaps it's time for Greece to leave to EU to sort out its own problems.

The economist who predicted the GFC in the first place, Nouriel Roubini of Harvard University, says Greece should begin an orderly default without delay.

Professor Roubini says this will help Greence avoid a vicious cycle of insolvency, low competitiveness and the possibility of a depression.
 And he says a return to the Dracma currency will allow Greece to depreciate and restore growth, which helped Argentina after it defaulted a decade ago. 

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