Greece Folds

“Exactly. You can’t have any bargaining chips left and hope that the folks holding all the cards are going to buckle. Enough is enough, you can be sympathetic to the ordinary Greek people and their slashed pensions, their benefits cut, perhaps the root of the problem lies in too quick too soon.”


To market to market to buy a fat pig. I suspect that it is always easier to be a backbencher than to be at the forefront of negotiations. I see headlines suggesting that Greece sold their soul, got worse than they could have ever envisaged, etcetera. Newspaper headlines have the words capitulate. Alexis Tsipras returns home to Athens and ironically has the support of the main opposition who want to remain in the Eurozone. They want to use the common currency. It is a reversal of roles from old waring days when the Generals would sit on the hill “overseeing” the battle and the backbenchers would be at the forefront of fighting.

I am guessing that even if Tsipras explains his predicament to his fellow Syriza members (left wing radicals in some cases) it may not be enough to convince them that even he sold his soul. I wonder what now, didn’t his wife say she would leave him? This cartoon about sums it up, it came via a journalist in Europe, a chap by the name of Fabrizio Goria who tweeted this mid morning yesterday:

Exactly. You can’t have any bargaining chips left and hope that the folks holding all the cards are going to buckle. Enough is enough, you can be sympathetic to the ordinary Greek people and their slashed pensions, their benefits cut, perhaps the root of the problem lies in too quick too soon. In fairness to the Greeks, in the Mercer quality of living report for 2015, Athens was the worst city in Western Europe to live, coming in at 85 globally. Remember that 5 out of 11 million people in Greece live in Athens. It is however better than Cape Town and Johannesburg, according to the survey. Vienna and Zurich have the highest quality of living for their inhabitants according to this report. Worst on the list is Baghdad, coming in last place at 230.

Another way of measuring it is to take all the minimum wages of places in the Eurozone, is that not right? To take the Greeks, the French and the Spanish minimum wages measured since 1999, thanks to Tradingeconomics, my go to website for these things. Data according to them is taken from Eurostat, which measures all the stats in Europe. These are three graphs and are in order, Greece, France and then Spain, the minimum monthly wage since 1999 to present day, a little over a decade and a half. And I have tried to quite simply see what the average person has gained since the formation of one common Europe, in these three selected countries. First Greece, which has a low of 522 Euros per month, just before the country entered the common union, currently that is 683.76 Euros, reaching a high of 876.62 in December of 2011:

So as you can see, a 31 percent increase in wages over 15 years is hardly a princely sum, at the height in December 2011 it was 68 percent. And now France (Happy Birthday France!!), how have they done over the last decade and a half, minimum wage that is:

As you can see, the minimum wage in France over the last decade and a half increased by a whopping 41 percent, a whole lot less than the top end of the Greek mark, reached in December 2011. And lastly Spain, which has a very high unemployment rate, not too dissimilar to that of Greece, and here for that matter. South Africa has a very high unemployment rate too.

So Spain has experienced the hardest run in minimum wages, and Greece has fallen from elevated levels. Possibly having run too hard too soon. I am not too sure what the conclusion is, perhaps if we lay graphs of government spend relative to GDP. Ease of doing business. Corruption. Nobody wants to address the real issues or talk about them. I am reading early stages via Twitter that Tsipras is even considering quitting following the Wednesday vote and asking for new elections. Between a rock and a hard place. I do feel for all involved, I feel for ordinary people in Greece, I feel for the tax payers in France and Germany, I feel for all the politicians pushing their agendas.

At the end of the day the debt is someone else’s asset, right? And that asset is owned by the troika, they must have a say of how Greece runs its affairs, they have just as much to lose here. Inside of the deal is a little clause there where 35 billion Euros goes to develop small and medium businesses. Greece, like many countries, needs smaller government and more people working in the business of business. That way they will be able to generate more tax revenue. In order to pay off debt and maintain a positive trajectory in terms of citizen benefits.


Linkfest, lap it up

Understanding what money is and how it moves through our economies goes along way to making sound investments – Do banks really create money out of thin air?. As soon as you think of money as more than a means of exchange you get into trouble. In a modern economy cash can no longer be considered an asset class, interest rates are lower than inflation rates.

The New Horizons probe will be passing Pluto today at around 14:00 our time. Part of the cargo onboard is the ashes of the person who discovered Pluto – Pluto’s discoverer is almost home.

Pictures often convey more information than words, the same can be said for these pictures taken behind the Iron curtain of shop fronts. The photographer was trying to highlight what people’s lives looked like from the perspective of what shopping was like, instead of just taking photos of people. – Before shopping was shopping: Storefront photos from behind the Iron Curtain

The trend to become healthier is accelerating, with taxes being one way governments influence behaviour. With governments spending more and more on healthcare, they need to raise more taxes but more importantly they are trying to curb bad consumer habits, thus lower future healthcare costs – Mexico’s Soda Tax Is Working. The US Should Learn From It.


Home again, home again, jiggety-jog. Amazing accomplishment by Paul, here is the Tweet from earlier today. That is a minimum of a mile each and every day for a full 365 days. Well done, that is better than most, right! One of those members of Tyrone Harriers (not in that photo) has done over three years of the same thing, running one mile a day. It is always about consistency, this is one of them. Well done for never getting sick too, I think that Paul never missed a single day of school (or work for that matter) being sick. Can you believe that?

Markets are higher here. An Iranian nuclear deal seems like a very big deal, that has been concluded now this morning, there is a statement soon. Good work all around, tomorrow is a very big day for the Greeks. I am pretty sure that they will push it through.


Sent to you by the Vestacters, Sasha, Michael, Byron and Paul.

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