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Sun Jun 7, 2015, 12:54 PM

From Yanis Varoufakis, A Speech of Hope for Greece (6-7-15)

Last edited Tue Jun 9, 2015, 01:00 PM - Edit history (1)

A Speech of Hope for Greece – a Project Syndicate Op-Ed

Posted on June 7, 2015 by yanisv

ATHENS – On September 6, 1946 US Secretary of State James F. Byrnes traveled to Stuttgart to deliver his historic “Speech of Hope.” Byrnes’ address marked America’s post-war change of heart vis-à-vis Germany and gave a fallen nation a chance to imagine recovery, growth, and a return to normalcy. Seven decades later, it is my country, Greece, that needs such a chance.
Until Byrnes’ “Speech of Hope,” the Allies were committed to converting “…Germany into a country primarily agricultural and pastoral in character.” That was the express intention of the Morgenthau Plan, devised by US Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau Jr. and co-signed by the United States and Britain two years earlier, in September 1944.

Indeed, when the US, the Soviet Union, and the United Kingdom signed the Potsdam Agreement in August 1945, they agreed on the “reduction or destruction of all civilian heavy-industry with war potential” and on “restructuring the German economy toward agriculture and light industry.” By 1946, the Allies had reduced Germany’s steel output to 75% of its pre-war level. Car production plummeted to around 10% of pre-war output. By the end of the decade, 706 industrial plants were destroyed.
Byrnes’ speech signaled to the German people a reversal of that punitive de-industrialization drive. Of course, Germany owes its post-war recovery and wealth to its people and their hard work, innovation, and devotion to a united, democratic Europe. But Germans could not have staged their magnificent post-war renaissance without the support signified by the “Speech of Hope.”
Prior to Byrnes’ speech, and for a while afterwards, America’s allies were not keen to restore hope to the defeated Germans. But once President Harry Truman’s administration decided to rehabilitate Germany, there was no turning back. Its rebirth was underway, facilitated by the Marshall Plan, the US-sponsored 1953 debt write-down, and by the infusion of migrant labor from Italy, Yugoslavia, and Greece.
Europe could not have united in peace and democracy without that sea change. Someone had to put aside moralistic objections and look dispassionately at a country locked in a set of circumstances that would only reproduce discord and fragmentation across the continent. The US, having emerged from the war as the only creditor country, did precisely that.
Today, it is my country that is locked in such circumstances and in need of hope. Moralistic objections to helping Greece abound, denying its people a shot at achieving their own renaissance. Greater austerity is being demanded from an economy that is on its knees, owing to the heftiest dose of austerity any country has ever had to endure in peacetime. No offer of debt relief. No plan for boosting investment. And certainly, as of yet, no “Speech of Hope” for this fallen people.


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Reply From Yanis Varoufakis, A Speech of Hope for Greece (6-7-15) (Original post)
mother earth Jun 2015 OP
Warpy Jun 2015 #1
mother earth Jun 2015 #2
Demeter Jun 2015 #3
mother earth Jun 2015 #4

Response to mother earth (Original post)

Sun Jun 7, 2015, 01:33 PM

1. Gemany is denying Greece the help it had at the end of WWII

from the Marshall Plan.

There is no morality in this.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #1)

Sun Jun 7, 2015, 02:07 PM

2. There is no morality in how Germany conducts istself amongst its EU counterparts as well.

Twist and turn it however you want, Germany’s blatant violations of EMU regulations can no longer be covered up. Those, such as Der Spiegel, stay far from the truth even if they do not lie outright. When will Der Spiegel inform its readers of the simple truth that the Germany’s mercantilist economic model is based on undercutting its trading partners so that it accumulates surpluses while creating deficits and debt everywhere else? When will the ‘truth commission’ of Der Spiegel – seventy people in total – understand that only a deterioration of German competitiveness (through rising wages) and declining surpluses vis-à-vis its trading partners can help to overcome deflation and stimulate economic growth of all countries inside EMU? It does not seem likely that this will happen in the foreseeable future; the collective fear to face the truth is insurmountable.

Another example: in an interview in past week’s printed edition of Der Spiegel, Wolfgang Kauder, the leader of the CDU/CSU party group in the German Bundestag, said: ‘If Greece wants more money from its European partners, it must pass reforms. Perhaps it helps to realise that it is not the European bailout policy that has driven Greece into misery, but the failure of their own elites.’ If someone makes a statement like this, you would expect that any professional journalist would question why only recently the economic policy of the country has led to such despair among the Greek people and, hence, resulted in the election of the ‘left populists’ (Kauder on SYRIZA) into power. If it is indeed the Greek elites who are responsible for the cataclysm in Greece, why is it that the Troika’s infamous memoranda since 2010 (the memoranda of understanding according to the wording of the IMF) literally spell out the policies that a country has to abide by, including the reduction of wages, pensions and social welfare? Mr. Kauder does not deny the truth, but reality itself. The interviewer, however, remained silent.

Mr. Kauder’s statements also constitute a covert attack upon the European Commission and upon Jean-Claude Juncker (this can also be found in the printed edition of Der Spiegel of last week). If Juncker, as is assumed by Der Spiegel, will question the regulations of the Stability Pact, why will he do so? Is it an attempt, as Der Spiegel suggests, to defy the German Chancellor’s leadership? Is there not a grain of truth in the idea that compliance with the Stability Pact amid a prolonged recession is simply absurd? Does the ‘truth commission’ of Der Spiegel really not understand that it is impossible to push for further ‘structural reforms’ given the extreme damages that these policies have already caused? The policies will lead to other leftist parties winning elections, which is something that Der Spiegel obviously does not favour.

A great example of German denial was provided by the former chief economist of the ECB, Jürgen Stark. In the FT (of February 11) he wrote: „The truth is that, in contrast to many eurozone countries, Germany has reliably pursued a prudent economic policy. While others were living beyond their means, Germany avoided excess. These are deep cultural differences and the currency union brings them to light once again.“ Along the same lines, the Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote a few days before: ‘It is often noted that Greek wages fell sharply because of the crisis. But the truth is that labour costs during the first ten years of the euro rose by nearly 20 per cent in Greece, while they decreased in Germany. Although Tsipras’s populism suggests otherwise, the Greeks brought most of their problems upon themselves.’ Mr. Stark and the Süddeutsche Zeitung do not have the luxury of a ‘truth commission’ as Der Spiegel does, but perhaps someone could raise questions about what is wrong with the 20 per cent labour cost increase and what is right about lowering labour costs? A 20 per cent wage increase in ten years time is not a problem in and of itself. There is nothing excessive or irresponsible devastating role in the European Monetary Union. The newly discovered love for what is euphemistically called ‘the truth’ in the German about this, given that wages increase in line with productivity plus the inflation target of 2 per cent set by the ECB.

The truth about all of this is that the inflationary use of the word truth in Germany comes on top of the complete denial of Germany’s media only serves to distract attention away from the manifest failure of German economic and financial policies and their devastating consequences. However, he media’s new love affair with ‘the truth’ does not fall out of the sky. Now that the left is in power in Greece, the myths about German innocence and Greek irresponsibility need to be intensified.



There is so much at play which is why it is so important to dig and understand, and I say this not for you, Warpy, but for those like me who are learning along the way. There is far more at play. There is a huge denial of truth and those guilty of that denial, are the same entities invoking hardship, poverty and inequality. There cannot be change, for the Eurozone to continue as they have been, this would mean Germany must give. So they staunchly refuse compromise, while not only Greece suffers, but all the other countries in that same Eurozone also suffer. It is at their hands, as the working class in their own country do not benefit from productivity, but continue on with wage stagnation - they are the no. 1 economy of the EZ. We need to understand that "beggar thy neighbor" makes beggars and slaves not only of the other countries, but eventually of the one guilty of it.

One might applaud Germany for its monetary gains, but where is the victory if its people stagnate, or trade itself stagnates? This is a game playing out and all the benefactors are the wealthiest of the wealthy, that elite l% who own all, where seemingly law is optional.

Of course, then I look to Varoufakis' vision of the EZ, it does not seek to crush its counterparts of the EZ, it seeks to unite and flourish with a dedication to bettering the working class, to ending austerity which only enriches oligarchs, it seeks to end the predatory approach to trade. How does anyone disagree with that vision? It is beyond me, but then, he is a person, not a corporation, only a man with conscience and principles has such vision.

This is class warfare and odious debt wreaking havoc, the same poison that's continues its reach globally.

The very issue of what is playing out is of global importance on all levels. As Greece is urged to reform, in reality the reform necessary is far greater, it is across the board, it is needed from all of the Eurozone countries and the Troika...so we wait and wonder how and when there will be realization of this truth, or will the Euro simply fail? If it does it won't be due to Syriza, it will be due to greed and insanity. At least, that's what I've learned along the way.

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Response to mother earth (Original post)

Sun Jun 7, 2015, 03:07 PM

3. The Americans (of the Greatest Generation) Saved Germany


but Germany has no intention of saving anyone but themselves. Still not a worthy global power, after all these years.

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Response to Demeter (Reply #3)

Sun Jun 7, 2015, 04:14 PM

4. Sadly. nt

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