Saturday, March 13, 2010

In Greece’s Position

Imagine being in the position of Greece — of having to prove to the world that your nation isn’t falling apart, that your accounting is on the level, that your people aren’t all a bunch of slackers.

It’s almost impossible to prove that a problem doesn’t exist or isn’t serious, so in the news media, Greece may be stuck with this problem for years.

It’s important to consider this scenario because there is little factual basis for most of the things that are being said about Greece these days. In a matter of a few years, the world could be saying the same things about Ireland . . . about the United Kingdom, California, Texas, and Louisiana . . . about the United States, Germany, and Australia . . . even about China, India, and the Ukraine. Most of the world could be put in the same box that Greece is in now, without the need for any factual change in circumstance.

Where did the current view of Greece as insolvent, with no path forward, come from? If you believe the headlines, the story has its roots in Wall Street. The few facts that are specifically known have to do with Greece’s financial arrangements involving securities that originated on Wall Street.

It’s not hard to imagine that what is really going here is a Wall Street effort to tarnish Greece’s reputation — perhaps to shift the blame, or perhaps just to manipulate markets for profit.

But if merely having ties to Wall Street means that your finances are falling apart, your accounting is fake, and that your people are all a bunch of slackers, then a great many of us may be in trouble before long.