Monday, January 23, 2012

Observation of the day: Greeks are not Germans

It may appear an obvious observation but to the euro and (for a while at least) the bonds markets Greeks and Germans were the almost exactly the same. Twins.

Two recent pieces on public radio highlight how very different from the Germans the Greeks can really be.

The first radio spot describes the failed efforts of a Greek computer scientist to make the revenue system (the tax man) more efficient in Greece. All he thought they needed was a little technological help to point them in the right direction.  Heh, not quite.

This longer piece (nearly an hour) aired this weekend and I caught it on Saturday.  It goes into the desire to create the euro and how Greece basically lied to get into the eurozone and the epic borrowing binge Greeks went on after 'easy money' appeared after the Euro was introduced.  While its long it is a good overview of how Europe got into this mess.

Greece's credit history is not the best.  Since their independence in the early 1800's they have spent more than 50% of their time in default. (This time is different, 2008, Reinhart & Rogoff, page 99) Do you really think they would adopt the fiscal discipline of Germany after being handed their unlimited gold card?

ht @BarbarianCap

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