Greece's problem stems from the fact it spends more than it makes. And after it spent all of its money, it started to borrow other people's money to spend. Then--and this is the first bit I find hilarious--they argue that it is their lender's fault for getting them into the mess.
Eh, I admit I don't know enough about the whole background in Greece. What I do understand is that benefits in Greece are at least by now, not all that different from those in most of Western Europe. So from that perspective the Germans are asking Greece to make it legal/normal for more people to have it harder, than they themselves are prepared to accept -- just because there's debt.
Whether or not the debt was "necessary" or "avoidable" in the first place, may or may not be a more subjective question in the Greek case -- but I don't have enough info now to really decide on that count. There are some situations where it might be easier to argue it's quite necessary to go into debt, no matter how awful the terms seem to be. Much of the world is doing it, and I think plenty are doing it because they have
to get stuff done now to survive in the system they've been given in the first place. People didn't choose
to be born in a country that imports everything to begin with, so who are you saying "got them into that" exactly??
Look at the US where until very recently, there was no serious national health care system to speak of and credit card rates are 20%+ with compounding for any single month where you can't pay for whatever reason. Unemployment was pushing into double digits and what jobs were available for young people were generally short-term and low wages. Would you suggest it's people's "fault" if they need medical care immediately and go into debt?
I do understand there are corruption issues in Greece and some stashing a whole lot of money away overseas (seems the US has a fair bit of this problem with large corporations in particular, too -- and I'd be surprised if the measures the US is taking are hitting the corps a great
deal harder over it). But expecting people not to spend no matter what, is really a bit much. We could go farther back of course, and say well, they might have been better off not entering the regional financial bloc to begin with. Though there too, I think there would have to be some discussion of all the promises people were given of how it should work to protect "everyone", and now everyone's starting to realize it doesn't do those things for the poorer South in particular.
Should the average people, the moment this original situation beyond their control forces them into debt, always (and therefore probably, repeatedly, cyclically as business tends to work it) quit everything they might be doing at the moment -- job training for more specialized careers that might take years, taking care of families, living in stable situations so they can move wherever the jobs might be, etc. etc. -- so that they just might
have a slightly, piddly better chance of working overtime for months in low-paying jobs in the hopes of paying off debts fast? What if the debt is something like cancer treatment and no amount of short-term overtime is gonna cover it?
And I don't think youth unemployment is better than the 2010-2013 US situation in much of Europe now; in fact if I recall, it's still worse. In Greece particularly, but again they are not alone. And people didn't do this to themselves. Bankers and austerity and a collusion of governments working for the rich did it to them.
And now here's the second bit that I find hilarious: after running about on international TV cheering about how they've struck a blow against the "oppressive" lenders that supposedly got them into this mess, they go right back to those same lenders begging to borrow more money.
I don't really disagree with you there.
But I understand it could be very, very difficult -- and perhaps even politically dangerous -- to attempt to overhaul the whole economy. Most of the world is soooo
accustomed to the idea of economics as a matter of faith or roulette, where simply working onward is somehow "supposed" to (hopefully, maybe, if you win the lottery or there's a very temporary industry boom on your
doorstep tonight or you pick that one in a thousand invention that pans out) lead to wealth, which is the only "real" and "honest" path to sustainability at least for one's own household
. And never mind helping whole countries or peoples, they don't "deserve" anything because hey, they all were lazy and irresponsible right? Surely no one ever "forced" any of them to spend money to survive. Oh no, never. (/sarcasm with rolling eyes at how people believe original choices are all free