Monday, July 06, 2015

Free-riding in Greece

OK, I admit it, I was wrong. I really thought that the Greeks would vote yes and we could resume the long habit of kicking the can down the road. But here we are instead, in a strange but very familiar place.

The Greek situation is a special case of the welfare dilemma, a form of moral blackmail. What do you do when the feckless shirker refuses to act responsibly and demands you continue supporting him and his family? If you don't, he says, my partner and kids will starve and it will be your fault.

My 'partner', Clare, wondered how ISIS would respond to this dilemma. Briskly, I would have thought.

Anyway, the leaders of the EU now have to decide:
  1. Tough it out and turn off the taps. The Greek economy will implode and those tender of heart (there are many) will blame the rich EU in general and the Germans in particular.

  2. Carry on transferring cash to the corrupt and incompetent Greek state, in which case other 'Club Med' dysfunctional states may well give up on paying their way .. and the Germans get to continue to transfer their gold to feckless others in perpetuity.

  3. Kick the can down the road somehow.
How the EU hopes that the general theorem - if something cannot continue for ever then it will stop - does not apply in this case!

There is another option. One which would naturally happen within the borders of a functional state. The authorities would turf out the incompetents and crooks and put in place an efficient administration to sort things out. But somehow, no-one seems to want the Germans to do that.

We were down at Bristol Harbour this morning, a propos of nothing much. It was too rainy for the mini-cruise we had been contemplating.

The SS Great Britain at Bristol Harbour