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Greece Is Bankrupt (Morally, At Least) BY TAKISMICHAS In Greece, as elsewhere, if the management of a company reports misleading figures about the company’s financial situation to boost the price of the shares or to support the sale of securities, it risks criminal charges. Around the world,... 顯示更多 Greece Is Bankrupt (Morally, At Least)
BY TAKISMICHAS
In Greece, as elsewhere, if the
management of a company reports
misleading figures about the company’s
financial situation to boost
the price of the shares or to support
the sale of securities, it risks
criminal charges. Around the
world, including in Greece, this is
securities fraud.
But in Greece, unlike elsewhere,
if those responsible for the
deception are members of a (previous)
government and if the victims
are “foreigners” (xenoi, in
Greek) they run no such risk. The
most they can expect is slap on
the wrist and a mild “Please don’t
do it again!”
This in a nutshell describes the
Greek financial situation. Although
it is certain by now that the former
New Democracy government
fiddled with the statistics to boost
Greece’s economic image with investors,
no legal charges have been
brought against either former
Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis
nor his economic entourage.
Yet the conscious distortion of
the figures concerning Greece’s fiscal
deficit clearly constitutes deception
of the prospective buyers
of Greek debt. The latter were led
to demand a much lower risk premium
than they would have, had
the true facts of the situation been
present Prime Minister George Papandreou
was brave enough—by
Greek standards—to reveal the
magnitude of the financial misdeeds
of the previous administration,
he nevertheless shied away
from ordering a full-scale investigation
into this fraud.

Blame the government that
lied to bondholders about
the deficit, not the investors
who bought the bonds.

The unwillingness or inability
of the Greek legal and political
system to seek out and punish the
perpetrators of this act of disinformation
has created a moral
vacuum in which all kinds of conspiracy
theories flourish. They all
have in common that they blame
the victims—the holders of Greek
debt—for Greece’s present predicament.
The Greek media are filled
with stories about the despicable
“speculators,” “profiteers,” “bankers,”
“financi
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