Greece should default, refuse to leave the Euro
There’s a game of chicken going on in Europe, whereby the moneylenders (the European Central Bank, the IMF, and the European Commission) are trying to get Greece to pay back money they previously borrowed, but Greece doesn’t have any extra cash to do it. Clive Crook gave a good summary of the situation at Bloomberg View yesterday.
I sometimes like to imagine that Europe is a family, and Greece is a member of that family who really isn’t doing well. Greece owes the other family members money, but is also really ill and spends most of its time on the couch, coughing and feverish. The other family members want their money back, of course, but seeing how sick Greece is, are reluctant to actually kick a family member out on the street.
It’s not a perfect metaphor, since Greece is actually a country, and the people making big decisions about how debt payments will work in Greece are not the same people that suffer when they run out of jobs, medicine, and pension payments. But it’s gotten a bit more like that recently with the actual election of its Prime Minister, whereas before it was being run by an appointed technocrat from the central bank.
On the other hand, it is a pretty good metaphor, mostly because the grand European vision is very much one of a family, and pushing Greece out because of failure to pay money it doesn’t really have would be shameful to many who still believe in that vision.
So, going with the metaphor for the moment, I’d like to suggest an idea that came up in my Occupy meeting last Sunday when we were talking about how actual families would solve this problem. Namely, they wouldn’t. The sick person would be allowed to stay, even though they didn’t pay back the money. And everyone would be annoyed, but family is family.