You can tell that I have Greece on my mind these days. It’s also all over European media and that’s because whatever she decides regarding her financial situation sets a precedent with the EU/IMF and the European Central Bank (ECB) and its other member countries. That precedent might look a little like liberation to some who have been struggling with a bum lending situation.
You might have heard that over the weekend, the Greeks voted “No” (“Oxi” in Greek) against something. The vote was against accepting another EU/IMF loan in exchange for increased austerity measures. It seems that Germany thinks Greece should get another loan to help “stimulate” the economy and pay back her loan, continue her belt-tightening measures for another decade or so, and continue trying the restrictive measures to foster economic growth. The Greeks feel that they need to deal with their economy another, more expansive way (like by having jobs for its graduating students).
Meanwhile, the French (another strong voice in the EU) seem open to the idea of adjusting the repayment terms for the Greeks. And the Greeks would rather renegotiate their loan on more lenient terms, rather than squeeze their broken economy through a tighter belt and spend the little funds their economy has on payment installments they can’t afford.
This situation sounds all too familiar, doesn’t it? I’m sure it sounds like a lot of calls people have with their mortgage lenders and credit cards, etc. There’s a point where even the collection agencies know there isn’t anything they can do.
As I have mentioned previously, I’m no economist or financial person, but it looks like there’s a bubble. And it seems like it’s bursting… Maybe this is the sound of an economic bubble bursting in slow motion…?
1) The lending institution recognizes that it can demand repayment all it wants, but if the borrower can’t repay, what can the lender really, really do?
2) This is the point where the lessee realizes she holds a certain amount of power, but also has some compassion. After all, when the lessee borrowed the money, she really did intend to pay it back.
3) The lender doesn’t want to be too soft, because he wants to be clear that he’s serious about getting his money back. BUT, the lender doesn’t want to be too hard either because then the lessee will give him a big, fat doughnut.
4) Still, the lender begins to insist, because he realizes that his power is based on the wealth that he no longer has (because he lent it to the lessee). He wants it back — he wants to restore the structure. Keep things the way they were.
5) The lessee slowly realizes that things are a little different. Sure, she’s broke, but when you have nothing, you have nothing to lose! This realization alone becomes empowering… She feels even a little bit more sure of herself from a deep, unshakeable core and does “crazy” things like… flipping the bird to her lender and threatening … a “Grexit”. Sounds a lot like the folks who were underwater on their mortgages and just walked away. Just left their homes and said, “that’s it”.
And that’s what this is boiling down to, isn’t it?
It’s not just about the economy. It’s about the symbol of power that money lends to nations and people. And also about people realizing that it’s a symbol — only as powerful as we make it out to be.
Now, if one of the original EU nations says “Enough”, “Basta” (or whatever the Greek word is for it) and steps out of the EU altogether, what does that say for the solidity of the concept of economic, political (and even patriotic) belonging? Might other lessees, such as Portugal or Spain, say, “Hey, we want out of this lousy loan, with lame repayment plans and austerity measures that are cramping our growth!”
A nation, a person, wanting to grow on its own terms. Sounds like a revolution.