Greeks refuse to party...

The olive grove harvest. Image source: www.oxfam.org

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post on Greece: the Greeks are doing the one thing that hurts bankers most – they’re turning down invitations to their party.

In my book, ‘The coming first world debt crisis‘ I tried to spell out what actions individuals could take to defend themselves against the predations of voracious lenders.

“After all,” I wrote, “the finance sector depends on us, the world’s debtor-spenders, to come to the ball. We can turn down the invitation. We can decline the credit card, overdraft or loan. We can refuse to dance to Finance’s tune. We can live within our means.”

Well the Greeks have taken the advice, but gone further. They are taking their money out of banks.

According to the FT today, –

“Monthly bank withdrawals (from Greek banks) were running at €1.5bn-€2bn (£1.3bn-£1.8bn) in the first quarter. Last year, depositors withdrew €30bn, equivalent to 12.3 per cent of total savings, according to the central bank. Greek deposits worth an estimated €8bn were transferred to banks in Cyprus in 2010. But the flow has dried up this year amid fears that Cypriot banks could suffer contagion.”

They’re also learning that earning interest effortlessly on money, rather than investing it in productive activity – may not be that rewarding. The FT again:

“Sakis, a garage owner, said at an anti-austerity protest in Athens’ Syntagma square. “A bank collapse has got to be on the cards.” He added he had withdrawn his savings and placed them in a bank safe deposit box “for security. Who cares about interest right now?”

Angelos, a software specialist, bought a neighbour’s olive grove.

“I grabbed the opportunity,” he said. “A year ago I wouldn’t have considered making such an old-fashioned investment.”

Ah….yes, I remember them well: old-fashioned investments. That’s what is going to restore jobs and economic health to Greece.

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2 comments to Greeks refuse to party…

  • larry

    Ann, Bill Mitchell has based one of his blogs on your piece about the Cambridge “Keynes” conference. For readers who might like to view it, go to http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=15038#more-15038 . He is as outraged as you are. He didn’t know about the conference either and he feels,given his professional interests, that he should have been informed. As I mentioned before, a partial explanation for this secrecy may well be the involvement of Cambridge Finance.

    There is also a post at SturdyBlog by a Greek who lives in London — http://sturdyblog.wordpress.com/2011/06/18/democracy-vs-mythology-the-battle-in-syntagma-square/ — that supports your view Ann and contradicts the standard interpretation of what situation Greece finds herself in. He likens what is happening now to Greece to the invasion of Poland in 1939, with men in suits with laptops replacing the men in uniforms carrying guns.

  • Ann

    Larry…thanks so much for this link to Bill Mitchell. Would have missed it…and we think you are right about Cambridge Finance. As to Sturdy Blog, he and I know each other from Twitter….we are a great community!

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