The story of a London-man who has started an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to pay Greece’s overdue debt repayment of £1.1 billion is certainly remarkable and, perhaps in one way, quite touching. It’s never going to reach its stratospheric target, but in three days it has raised just over €1.6 million.
It might be an act of kindness to offer to pay someone else’s debts for them when those debts were the unavoidable result of some misfortune, but Greece’s debt certainly isn’t that (despite Greece’s current political leaders’ predictable attempts to portray it as such).
The Greeks (just like the rest of us, to be fair) have got exactly what they asked for: a State that could borrow and spend way beyond its means and give its people lots of free stuff in the short-term.
Greece’s mountain of debt, which has reached the point of crushing its economy faster than the other EU nations, is the inevitable consequence of the mega-spending leviathan State the Greeks said yes to.
Our mistake, as citizens of Europe, was in allowing ourselves to be led to believe by politicians that our governments were magical institutions that could somehow spend and borrow beyond their means indefinitely. A case of the willfully economically blind leading the economically ignorant, you could say.
Europe got into this rut of economic stagnation that it has been wallowing in for some time now precisely because a bunch of nations agreed to socialize their credit card bills in the belief that this would make everyone wealthier. This gave nations with relatively little income, like Greece, the almost too-good-to-be-true and virtually irresistible opportunity to pretend for a while that it is much wealthier than it really is.
I’m sure it was fun while it lasted, but now the bills need to be paid. The problem is, of course, that no one’s got anywhere near enough money to pay those bills. They never did.
I know it’s well-intended, but offering to do more of the same and pay off another nation’s debts is really only delaying the inevitable hang-over from hell after a Euro-fuelled spending/borrowing binge.
Unfortunately for the Greek people, part of that hangover is being prevented by government from accessing or moving their money as they wish. It’s a lockdown on wealth for the moment. Soon will come the shakedown. It’s always the same. The State will do whatever it takes to sustain itself, at any expense to the people under its jurisdiction.