Today we read in The Guardian that Greece's exit from the Euro will cost $1 Trillion. Not explained is why this should possibly matter.
There are two kinds of debt. There's the debt we have incurred with our relationship to the biosphere—pumping the Oglala Aquifer dry, overfishing the oceans, Peak Oil, etc. These debts are real and must be paid in some fashion. The best alternatives involve physical restoration but there are a lot of good ideas out there.
Then there are the debts of the sort that so worry the Bank of England. These debts are quite serious because they lead to the suspension of any projects that would address our indebtedness to the biosphere. But otherwise, they are practically irrelevant. We are talking about electronic money here. If some method of accounting indicates that $1 Trillion has gone missing and it is in everyone's interest that the system continue, it only requires pressing a few reset buttons. Compared to the problem of restoring the ocean's fishing stocks, the debts of banks are NOTHING.
Unfortunately, this obvious fact escapes the sort of people who attend debt-reduction conferences and believe they are acting as adults because they are promising to cut social security benefits. They are quite literally baffled by the bullshit that surrounds the money questions—the bullshit everyone seems to think is necessary so that something as ephemeral as electronic money will be treated with appropriate respect.
Quite honestly, I don't give a rat's ass how they sort out the accounting over the Greek debt SO LONG as the rest of us don't have to pay for it with plummeting living standards AND we get the money to rebuild the real economy. Here's the deal banksters. You go off and push the appropriate buttons so we don't have to listen to you yammer about your phony debts for AT LEAST 20 years, and let us reflate the real economy, and we promise not to bring back crucifixions as punishment for your crimes. Deal?
My favorite comment to The Guardian article. Looks like a reader smells the BS too:
17 May 2012 12:26AM
We are constantly told that if we don't all neoliberalise everything, screw the poor to give to the rich and destroy all civilised parts of our society then the clever wizards say that TERRIBLE THINGS will happen. The "markets" and the "euro" and other abstractions will PUNISH US. No mechanisms are ever explained.
Funny how much this resembles the wizards and magical shamans of the middle ages saying that God is on their side. If we don't give our tithes to the church then God will punish us, little children.
Cost of Greek exit from euro put at $1tnUK government making urgent preparations to cope with the fallout of a possible Greek exit from the single currency
Larry Elliott, Jill Treanor and Patrick Wintour
The Guardian, Thursday 17 May 2012
The British government is making urgent preparations to cope with the fallout of a possible Greek exit from the single currency, after the governor of the Bank of England, Sir Mervyn King, warned that Europe was "tearing itself apart".
Reports from Athens that massive sums of money were being spirited out of the country intensified concern in London about the impact of a splintering of the eurozone on a UK economy that is stuck in double-dip recession. One estimate put the cost to the eurozone of Greece making a disorderly exit from the currency at $1tn, 5% of output.
Officials in the United States are also nervously watching the growing crisis: Barack Obama on Wednesday described it as a "headwind" that could threaten the fragile American recovery.
In a speech in Manchester before flying to the United States for a summit of G8 leaders, the British prime minister, David Cameron, will say the eurozone "either has to make up or it is looking at a potential breakup", adding that the choice for Europe's leaders cannot be long delayed.
"Either Europe has a committed, stable, successful eurozone with an effective firewall, well capitalised and regulated banks, a system of fiscal burden sharing, and supportive monetary policy across the eurozone, or we are in uncharted territory which carries huge risks for everybody.
"Whichever path is chosen, I am prepared to do whatever is necessary to protect this country and secure our economy and financial system."
Officials from the Bank, the Treasury and the Financial Services Authority are drawing up plans in the expectation that a Greek departure from monetary union – increasingly seen as inevitable by financial markets – could be as damaging to the global economy as the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008.
With a second election in Greece called for 17 June, King dropped a strong hint that the Bank would take fresh steps to stimulate growth if policymakers in Europe failed to deal with the sovereign debt crisis.
"We have been through a big global financial crisis, the biggest downturn in world output since the 1930s, the biggest banking crisis in this country's history, the biggest fiscal deficit in our peacetime history and our biggest trading partner, the euro area, is tearing itself apart without any obvious solution," he said.
Doug McWilliams, of the Centre for Economic and Business Research, said a planned breakup of the single currency would cost 2% of eurozone GDP ($300bn) but a disorderly collapse would result in a 5% drop in output, a $1tn loss. "The end of the euro in its current form is a certainty," he added. more