Europhrenia – Greece, don’t listen to this doctor

May 3, 2010 § Leave a comment

A day after the Eurozone and the IMF pledged €120bn to bail-out Greece, the financial markets, which last week “panicked” at the downgrades awarded to Greece, Spain and Portugal, are now, according to the BBC, “muted”. One supposes this is good news. “But the markets realise,” says medically minded Philippe Gijsels, head of research at BNP Paribas Fortis Global Markets “that it will be a very long, difficult road to travel before it can get better.”

So the Greek economy is ill, is getting the spins, is no doubt “tripling or quadrupling chances of death”, as CNN’s Doctor Gupta dadaistically puts it. And according to the mute and hushed markets, for whom Mr Gisjels acts as a ventriloquilist (let’s call his dummy Doctor Chuckle), the best cure for sick patients is to prescribe them long and difficult stretches of road, which obviously – because difficult – include potholes and steep bits. In concrete terms, as Athens daily To Ethnos reports, this means slashing public sector wages by anything from 20% to nearly a third, cutting pensions, upping VAT. How taking lumps out of a civil servant’s usually modest shoe budget or kicking out the transversal bars from a senior citizen’s zimmer frame is supposed to inspire euphoric health suggests that Mr Gisjels has never gone on a big walk before. Unfortunately Doctor Chuckle has thousands of clones chanting the same creed. But until people reject the arbitrary and politically driven yoking of public sector salaries to national debt, Doctor Chuckle will be the only show in town.

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