Sunday, 4 December 2011

Cash in on Guilt

There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted and you create a nation of law-breakers - and then you cash in on guilt. 
Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged



Under the enormous pressure of the ECB and IMF and just about anyone who has any kind of stake in Greece at the moment, the powers that be are rolling out the only weapon they ever really knew how to wield, guilt. Over decades of laws and counter laws and the plugging of loopholes and the creation of favours, what Greece is left with is an unholy web of legislation that few understand and is almost inapplicable even by those whose job it is to impose it. Instead we have arbitrary demands based on the understanding that they are quite aware that you have a lot more to lose if they were to rigorously audit you. 


Monday, 7 November 2011

If we all stop believing, will it cease to exist?


There has been a lot of talk of contagion during this Euro crisis. Contagion is the domino effect of a falling economy taking its less stable creditors over the edge, which in turn causes larger and larger economies to fall, unable to resist the infectious debt. Such is the incestuous nature of finance that this could feasibly take down the majority of the world economies; starting with one little trip. There is another contagion that worries the Eurozone, however, that is not spoken of, the contagion of faith.

The Euro is a fiat currency, which means that it has no substantial commodity (usually gold) underpinning it. This means that its value is derived from the faith in the issuing nation and the belief of the financial markets. Were Greece to be excommunicated, or worse, walk out during mass it would spend more than 40 days in the wilderness but it may just learn a thing or two, or at least appear to have. This is the most infectious idea that could be spawned. If Greece survived exile, and ultimately but painfully, it would, this would send a clear message to other suffering members to cut the cord.

The world's financial markets are run by some of the most sharp, aggressive and secular intellects on the planet. They form long and short term strategies and know how to make the market move in their favour but a hint of a rumour of an idea from someone who knows the right people and all hell breaks loose. If traders believe something will happen, it happens because they will make it happen. Have you ever noticed how the news that someone is leaving a company or political position sends the markets into turmoil. For the last two years the markets have gone wild every time Steve Jobs looked a bit peaky or adversely when he was looking well. The markets draw conclusions from omens that are interpreted by the high priests to mean up or down.

The markets don't know what to believe about the Euro, their fates are too closely linked to what everyone else believes, but their minds can easily be made up. If Greece and one other Eurozone economy lose the faith it could be more than the central bank can support.


For the time being, the big players in the Eurozone have faith that they can carry the currency and the market is willing to have faith in them. 



So, if we stop believing in the Euro, will it cease to exist?...




...that depends on who we are.    

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Why Greece will fall

who will play Captn George
 in the movie

The present problem derives from the fact the EU thinks it is in battle with Greece but it is not. Greece is in a battle with its government and its political classes as a whole, both right and left. It knows that it has played its part in the situation but it will not take responsibility for its self-serving rulers any more. The EU is dealing with the government who has no influence over its people. 


The Papandreou and Karamanlis dynasties have only ever been allowed to govern because they have shared out the sweeties from time to time, the public sector is bloated with the price of favour, crumbling roads are the price of wannabe civil engineers who happened to be cousins. Now, however, the sweeties are all gone and the sweet shop is calling in the debt. The rulers never curried any sustainable favour and definitely never earned any respect. 
    
The people will vote against its government, not the Euro, not the EU but the government has now made that the same thing. Those who have been managing this country have missed all the lessons on running a tight ship, efficiency is all German to them and working a narrow margin is vaguely sexual. Ultimately, all will lose, the Greeks, the single currency and, once again, the Germans.     

Hopefully, once its all over Greece may get a ringmaster worth his ring and then be remembered as the 300 of Thermopylae. 

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Feel the love

At last someone has been prepared to say what we knew all along. The Emperor's arse is on show and it ain't pretty. 



THEY REALLY DON'T CARE!
Nice tie

...and these people run your world. 

Thursday, 29 September 2011

WHAT DO WE WANT?...


It's a little after 10 o'clock but these secondary school children will be having no lessons today. They are striking, not for better pay and conditions, not to show their solidarity against the austerity measures imposed on their country, they are striking because they have no books for their classes.


Wednesday, 21 September 2011

He's not the father of modern wisdom, he's a very naughty boy!


More and more, Greece is being vilified as the enemy of European unity, the weakest link in an otherwise world-class currency and caricatured as lazy and feckless. This wave of enmity is beginning to serve but one purpose, lining the fingers up in one direction. While Europe points in one unified direction they can avert the scorn from themselves.


The Greek people are not lazy or, indeed, feckless. Yes, they do like their afternoon nap but they will then return to work until 9 or 10 in the evening. They are as hard-working as anyone in Europe, go on have a look round your office or place of work now, how many are skivers? What are you doing? Reading my blog that's what! As for feckless, well they managed to pull the wool over Brussels' eyes, didn't they?

I spoke to a friend yesterday who told me of his chronic insomnia, "How can you sleep with all this going on?" thing is, this isn't the first person who has told me this. Since I started haunting my own house I have discovered that I'm far from alone.  

It is a convenient oversimplification to say that Greece is bringing down the Euro, it was a flawed plan from the beginning, synchronising such diverse economic strategies was always going to be a tough challenge. It is not Greek laziness or fecklessness that is at the root of an economic avalanche that could, possibly, destabilise even the Dollar. Let us remember that Lehman Bros was brought down by some of the smartest suits in Wall street, Iceland was bankrupt without a siesta or a moustache in sight. 

The clever suits' austerity measures are not working and the same people are telling us that we have to bite down a bit  harder. 

There is no more faith and precious little hope, all we see at the end of the tunnel is a toll. The managers aren't managing but we've all known that for ages. 

Greece doesn't need any more lessons, it needs someone who can teach!   





Some of you who regularly look me up will have notice that I've been a bit lax, well, I'm back. 
Come back soon to find out the fate of our own feckless revolutionary, will he finally take office or is he doomed to wear football gloves in the prison showers.    


Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Faith



The US owes over $14 trillion, the UK owes £900 million, Greece now owes another €340 billion, I owe nearly €100,000. How much do you owe, how much have you spent that you didn’t have and when will you have it.


National debt is calculated as a percentage of GDP (gross domestic product), this is to say how much you owe compared to how much you make. For me that means 2-3 years of giving every penny myself and my wife earn to pay off our debts, nothing for food, fuel, mobiles. Then there is the interest, this would put another year or so on that scenario. But, of course we have to eat and clothe ourselves and the fridge needs a beer or two. Take a look at your finances, how many years are you in the hole for. 

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Exam Madness


For over two and a half thousand years Greece has had an insatiable appetite for knowledge and wisdom, in fact as the saying goes ‘Greece gave light to the world’. This time of the year is the acme of that achievement with the national Panhellenic university entrance exams. 

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Money makes you Stupid



Even small amounts can
be dangerous.
Money can reduce your IQ, a new study by eminent behaviour psychologists Bummet and Phelch has concluded. The research, commissioned by the banking and finance union and the American banking association has discovered that otherwise well-educated, intelligent individuals are in grave danger when in close proximity to currency of any kind.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Salary On Steroids

Advertisement


salary on steroids
 Tired of being poor?
Tired of seeing other people make it big

The boss telling you to take another pay cut while he's just got back from the Bahamas and renewed his Bentley.

You are not alone.
We have the answer. 
Did you know that hundreds of thousands of pounds are just waiting for you to claim them, all you have to do is know how to ask.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Not Waving but Drowning

Not waving but drowning...


Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he's dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.



....opah! 



words by Stevie Smith 
pictures by Matt Taylor http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattat/ 

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Vorsprung durch Störung!



Does this man spend too long in your toilet?

I am a fixer, I’ll hook it, stick it, grease it and screw it. I can't help myself. And if I’m in your bathroom too long it's probably because I’m fixing your flush. Those who have worked with me will be all too familiar with my mantra of there must be a better way or surely, there is a machine for this!

 

The other day, while in the shower my corrective compulsion fixed itself on the chattering extractor fan. Its clangorous and apparently ineffectual service would be tolerated no longer. I fetched my tools and set about it with a Phillips screwdriver. Once completely removed, I tested its performance. It spun briskly and mutely and I realised that it was not the unit which was at fault but the lack of pride and craftsmanship in its installation. I routed all the wires into their proper channels and clipped the connection block securely into place. I then proceeded to screw the unit back into the wall taking great pains to ensure that the insertion was achieved without let or hindrance. The fan was now flush to the wall with no protruding wires to pose any threat and ready to perform its task as designed. I flicked the switch and the fan spun, clunked and ground to an abrupt halt. I removed the fascia and looked for fault; none. I flicked the switch and the unit tapped to life but stopped shortly after. I then loosened the screws and gave it a turn to bed it into position; nothing. I noticed that there was a correlation between the movement of the wires and its effective operation so I disconnected the wires from the connecting block, trimmed them to length and reconnected them. Still the fan refused to spin. Now with the switch left on so I could register every effectual adjustment, I stood in a bath    with bare feet. A couple of jolts later I had concluded that for some unfathomable reason the fan would not spin if the connector block was seated in its designated position so I allowed it to hang.

Hang it all!


I now set about reassembling the unit but each time I tried to screw it back into place it cut out with a clunk. I tried the old mechanics trick of screw it all the way in then screw out until the desired effect is achieved. Finally, with the fan held by just a few turns of the screws it spun, no more quietly than before but it spun. I replaced the fascia, hung my head low and went back to my life. 



A maintenance engineer comments
The taunting irony of this episode was far from lost on me as that very day I had spent my third consecutive fruitless morning at the tax office. 
The metaphor that hung precariously from my bathroom wall had taught me a valuable lesson. Tomorrow, with a renewed sense of impotence and abject futility I shall once again continue my quest for a rubber stamp.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

The cost of enlightenment


Hard day at school love?
 It's about 11 o'clock on a cold night in a dense residential area. I'm heading for my car, key at the ready nervously looking over my shoulder. Suddenly I spot a group of teenagers coming my way, I fumble with my key but it won't find the hole. The teenagers are getting closer and I can see their hoods raised against the cold winter breeze. I try to calm my nerves and focus on getting onto the safety of my car. They are carrying backpacks, some dragging inches from the floor some bobbing around on their backs, tools, but for what heinous work. I get the key in the lock and turn. The buttons pop but its too late, they're upon me. I look for spotty glue sniffer mouths, no. I look for the paint stained hands of graffiti vandals, no but they are ink stained. The car is unlocked. I could leap in but that would now mean swinging the open door into their path, this could rouse them, anger them. I feel like I’m in a tube station at midnight but I’m not and there really is no need to be afraid. This is Greece and these kids are going home after classes, English, physics, ancient Greek. Why so late? Well here in Greece children’s schooling is not finished with the last bell, if anything that's where it starts for many.  

Monday, 31 January 2011

The Greek people are commited

Greek PM feels that the Greek people are behind him




Look behind you Georgie...
... isn't that Switzerland?



... Aaah there they are, maybe you just don't speak Greek

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Dr. Poopenclean's Bidet in your Pocket

Too busy to wipe?

Dear Blogees



After-dinner mint that cleans more than your breath
By way of a warm thank you for following me so loyally I would like to let you in on the ground floor of a new idea that's going to blow the doors off the personal hygiene market. I have invented a product that's going to make me richer than twitter with a planned second wave that could make Mark Zuckerberg my pool boy.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Life on the hill

Dearest Blogees,
Went up to the supermarket and bumped into some of the locals....




No joke honest... but I did go for milk

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Enough is enough

Dear Blogees,
Watch this, a renowned economist, Richard D Wolff gives his views on the present economic crisis.


 


 So, stop me if I've got this wrong. We have a apparent deficit of currency, cash, the medium of exchange that was created to make commercial transactions more portable (very difficult to give you a heard of sheep for your 20 acres when we're in different ends of the country) despite the fact that we, I mean as a race, a nation, a economic future have enough to cover all the shortfalls. The resources that they represent have been used or still exist and inflation will dwindle their correlation.

Currency is a very abstract concept, especially if you consider that the gold standard is now but a myth. Credit allows the liquidation of non-existent currency. Basically money is something that has no intrinsic value other than its value of faith which is unsupported by a tangible resource (even gold only has a perceived value).

What I'm trying to say is that something that is not really in short supply and does not sustain life i.e. we can't eat it, drink it, use it for shelter is removing, on mass, peoples' ability to eat, drink and have shelter and that something was created to make life easier.

Go figure! 

check out this link (couldn't get it to be embedded) worry not it's BBC

Monday, 3 January 2011

10p for a cuppa tea, Guv?

Total bail-out package for Greece = € 110 billion
Population of Greece = 11,000,000

simple maths gives us €10,000 per head

Anyone lend me €40,000 before the interest kicks in?

From Under Dark Clouds

The Century of DIY