June 29, 2015
It is somewhat amusing that the word ‘crisis’ originates from Ancient Greece.
It’s actually a medical term; Hippocrates wrote extensively about ‘crisis’ being the key turning point in disease progression– the time at which it either overcomes the patient, or it subsides.
And though the word ‘crisis’ is thrown about routinely these days, it’s safe to say that Greece is now truly in crisis in the purest sense of the definition.
Same with the euro, for that matter.
A century from now when future historians write about our time, it’s highly likely they’ll conclude that the euro was the dumbest invention of this age.
And that will really be saying something because the competition is fierce: pet rocks. Acid-washed jeans. FATCA. Google Glass. Fox Business News. Obamacare.
But the euro deserves first prize in the ugly contest.
The idea was to take completely incompatible economies, pretend that they were all Germany, and put them under one monetary roof simply because they were on the same continent.
This is ridiculous, especially today. It’s 2015. Geography is an irrelevant anachronism.
Imagine jamming Argentina, Australia, Angola, and Azerbaijan into a currency union simply because they all start with the letter “A”. It’s just as pointless and arbitrary as geography.
And when one of them starts to collapse (probably Argentina), rather than admit their mistake and dissolve the whole stupid idea, the bureaucrats spend massive amounts of other people’s money fruitlessly trying to hold the project together.
This is what’s happened in Europe.
Every time they wrote a bailout check or extended another loan package to Greece, all the bureaucrats did was INCREASE their risk exposure.
It’s like running back into a burning building– literally the *exact opposite* of what any sensible person would do.
Eurocrats have spent untold billions of other people’s money to save face, just so they wouldn’t have to admit that Project “Make Everyone Germany” has failed.
But what they never acknowledged was that no matter how much they extend and pretend, the disease will always reach its crisis.
And this financial disease is going to slay the patient. History is very clear on this point: debt kills.
Greece long ago reached the point of no return where they were borrowing money just to pay interest. Now it’s time for brutal honesty: game over.
The best example of brutal honesty is across the pond in Puerto Rico– America’s Greece. The governor of Puerto Rico, Alejandro Garcia Padilla, did not mince words when he described the island’s prodigious debt:
“The debt is not payable. There is no other option. I would love to have an easier option. This is not politics, this is math.”
The lesson is pretty clear: a bad system will fail. Especially when that system is built on a mountain of debt and deceit.
It might take years, but it happens. Just look at Greece; it’s taken nearly six years from when it was first identified to reach today’s crisis.
The time in between can either be an opportunity or a curse.
For some, time is an opportunity to take action– to quietly take defensive steps like moving money abroad.
Greeks had the opportunity to do that long ago when the euro was strong and the capital controls didn’t exist.
But for most people, time is a reason to procrastinate. They think that because it didn’t collapse today, tomorrow will be just fine. So they stick their heads in the sand. Or somewhere else.
And now those people are standing in line at ATM machines across Greece with empty garbage bags trying to figure out how to survive against strict capital controls.