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Life - poem from Jose Hierro (Read 29776 times)
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Re: Life - poem from Jose Hierro
Reply #30 - Jun 6th, 2012 at 5:18pm
 
It's so much more than a problem with one bank or another. It so much more than the problems we have in Spain, which are now under close scrutiny.

As technology has advanced during the last 30 years, the ways of ruling the world have changed. And so have the ways the puppeteers move the strings.

Can we trust anyone? Auditors, regulators, advisers, informers, administrators..... if they can't say out loud what they see, what's their use? If so much money and power run through their hands, how can they keep clean? How much greed is needed to destroy society?

It's impossible to keep track and explain all the news around the problems is Spain. Truth and lies are mingled, and every opinion is under suspicion.

But the real problems (this is a global crisis, a moral crisis, don't forget) still lie well beneath, and no action is being taken to heal - just  apply make up, and delude. And it'll take more than courage to remove it.


 
 
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Re: Life - poem from Jose Hierro
Reply #31 - Jun 8th, 2012 at 2:13am
 
 
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Re: Life - poem from Jose Hierro
Reply #32 - Jun 8th, 2012 at 8:19pm
 
No, I think nearly NOTHING is big enough to fail. It's always a matter of strategy, and how much everyone is willing to gamble. For example, all this situation would be different if there were elections nearby in Germany. We have experienced during this week how a few positive words from Germany suddenly take a big part of the pressure off. But that’s not permanent. It only buys time to do your homework properly.
The Euro coin is in deep trouble because politicians kept on ignoring (and for several different reasons) what was going on - right before their eyes. Even before starting, they lingered and lingered on until they had to come out with what they had in their hands. All the greed of future economic advantages blinded the awareness of all the ugly work that still had to be done, and that has barely started yet. And after the start up, politicians didn't work together glueing and trimming and nurturing the whole thing. Because they are ALL "hostages" of elections.
All the people who give advice from "far away", based on cold figures remind me of those "slimming tips" like taking off the teaspoon of sugar off your coffee would make you loose 3 pounds of weight a year. You can throw up dozens of tips like that one........but they're all   "relative" truth. Technically right, but what makes you really loose weigh is a combination of slight diet, moderate exercise, and even more important, the right mental attitude about your life.
You can say the same about economy. You can point out for sure what will go wrong, but putting all the right pieces together to make it work is a bit trickier.
  A pension at 50 or 55 for working during 25 or 30 years cannot be granted to a great amount of people, and even worse if few pay taxes. Imagine paying retirement for millions who can be over 90 years old….
A normal village with a population of 2.000 CANNOT afford to have a sports centre, a theatre, 50 local gardeners, pay Bruce Springsteen to sing for the village celebrations, and free holidays on the beach for the retired, a Cadillac and a Platinum Visa for the Mayor and fifty town counselors….  If thousands of villages behave the same way, and hide the figures away getting easy credits, making the debt bigger and bigger….it’ll bust sooner or later.
Nobody can argue that stopping all the above cannot be considered austerity. It is just common sense. We are paying 77.000 politicians directly elected by vote, and part of these have the power to choose nearly three times more counselors and other occupations that are public (and which we also have to pay). That should have been the very first start, strip it down to the essential. But no, it is easier to cut public workers’ salaries 7 %, raise VAT and all taxes, and make us pay (just as a start) for roads and health, which were already paid for.
It is often said that statistically, if there is a roast chicken for two men, they each get half a chicken. But the same can be claimed, even if one eats the 2 halves, and the other starves to death.
Apart from all this, we have “the markets” who play their own games with their own timing and their own rules, and that may either be a blessing, or be your grave, depending on how vulnerable you are.
So, resuming from those articles, they are technically right on most things. Europe does need a real economic union, which they have not been able to build during the last 10 years, and that must take form in two months before Greece busts open (new elections in a few days).
Germany, who first claimed austerity, must rethink a doctrine which will only slash completely useless things and empower real needy ones, in order to activate spending and economy.
And most of all, right now, what is needed is the truth about what kind of loans do financial institutions have, and what are the real risks they stand.  They can’t be helped if that information is constantly changing; it only makes matters worse for all the rest of banks.
Some money has gone outside Spain, but really, it is not the biggest problem right now. People are worried about savings banks, but the steps they have to do to get money out only make it profitable for large sums.
Right now what we need is to start rowing all at the same time and in the same direction. And put more common sense, both in public opinions and in actions, because both have relevance on the situation.

Right now, the IMF has just issued a report about the resilience of Spanish banks; 40.000 million € are needed to clean up "bad" banks, the rest can pass the stress tests more or less o.k.
I only hope they start bringing to court all the people who were paid for a responsibility in these horribly managed savings banks, and make sure they get what they deserve.
 
 
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Re: Life - poem from Jose Hierro
Reply #33 - Jun 9th, 2012 at 1:34am
 
 
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Re: Life - poem from Jose Hierro
Reply #34 - Jun 10th, 2012 at 2:45am
 
 
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Re: Life - poem from Jose Hierro
Reply #35 - Jun 10th, 2012 at 3:57am
 
Well, it was crystalline, after the IMF report, that it had already been decided to make a huge step forward. I admit it’s the only sensible resolution right now; not perfect - but any other solution is far worse. And a start only useful if we really do what we must from now on.
Kudos for the New York Times, and especially to Annie Lowry, for this perfect picture of the whole situation. It is by far the simplest, most complete description of it I've read from media outside Spain.
Perhaps from now on you might listen to the aftermath of all this: Germany has taken a decision to open a NEW instrument  for Italy, Germany and France to achieve financial help for their banks, helping Spain on the way. Italy will use it in the close future, and France, and Germany later on, when Greek situation starts moving – and by moving, it means to see if after next week’s elections, they have a clear mind of what they want to do with their future - and that implies to stay in the Euro or not.
Bank problems come from the fact that all of them have hidden information about their real risk exposure, being of one kind or another. But to mend them, the naked truth (if this is possible in economy) must be known.
As Spain is the 4th economy in the union, (behind Germany, France and Italy), it has been (finally) accepted that you either split everything apart, (where at the end everyone loses), or you make one final effort and try to steer in the right direction.
That is impossible if you do not have that truth.
Italy is now governed by a “technocrat” government, after decades where the country kept moving in spite of their politicians (they were either too interested in their own affairs, or had no clear backup by the electors, who didn't give full confidence to just one party – thus leaving scarce margin to any kind government). They have a small margin before, with  help from “the naked truth”, know exactly what to do. This part may come after summer.
France, with a recent change of government (left wing) has to wait and see the final impact on its banks’ results of the Greek mess.  Huge amounts spent on Greek debt; and it has to be determined what part they will lose, and what the might get back. But this time, the “naked truth” greatly depends on the Greek ‘s decision on how much sacrifice they are willing to stand to pay back at a reasonable rate. For example, if they decided NOT to pay back (an Argentinian “corralito” solution) French banks will need to recapitalize strongly.
And the same could be said for the German part; perhaps even more affected by figures, but maybe with a bit smaller impact overall – they knew the mess they had run to, and have been doing their homework for the last five years.
The general idea is to make a strong nucleus in the EU with these four countries, the ones whose real problems can split up the Euro, and set up the laws by which no “economical happiness” by smaller countries (and of course, the “big ones” first) will be permitted, as it has been proven that if you leave everyone on its own, nothing right can come out. On one side, letting banks risk too much on debt that you might not get back. On the other, letting the country spend too much on what they shouldn't, and may have no reasonable means of financing.
Again, in the end, and as I see it, Mr. Micawber’s economy. 
Now that the second stage of this huge play has come to an end, it’s time to sit back and observe if all the players are going to follow the script……  not to mention external factors worldwide that could spoil the plot.

 
 
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Re: Life - poem from Jose Hierro
Reply #36 - Jun 10th, 2012 at 4:58pm
 
before i read your last post, here's an quote i found nteresting .. in the 3rd paragraph .. that says:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/11/business/global/as-focus-shifts-to-rescuing-sp...

Quote:
a currency union that has largely benefited more prosperous members like Germany

Is that right? Does Germany & France benefit more from the Union than other countries?
 
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Re: Life - poem from Jose Hierro
Reply #37 - Jun 10th, 2012 at 5:05pm
 
another thing i am not clear on are reconcilling these two posts:

1. http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/stiglitz-europe-soros-being-generous...

where stiglitz says at the end of the video that:

Quote:
"The question is, are they [Europe] at the point where there's nothing more they can do? I think they're almost there. A European-wide guarantee on money in deposit in Spanish banks is necessay to make people feel safe about depositing their money.

But Germany says, 'We won't do that; we won't bear that risk.' That's a STALEMATE. And if they don't do that, the system FALLS APART FAIRLY QUICKLY."

and this page:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/05/world/europe/germany-open-to-deal-on-pooling-e...

.. that seems to say the opposite .. in other words that Germany WILL agree to ..

Quote:
Germany has indicated that it is prepared to accept a grand bargain that would provide greater support for its most indebted euro zone partners in exchange for more centralized control over government spending in Europe

Can you shed light on this? Cuz it seems to lie at the crux of the issue.

Am I missing anything?
 
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Re: Life - poem from Jose Hierro
Reply #38 - Jun 10th, 2012 at 7:14pm
 
See you’re working hard to follow this, it certainly can be confusing watched over the distance.
I mentioned before that so many give an opinion, that it can get really irritating…....you can’t have your cake, and eat it. Both ideas may be true, but never at the same time.
European Union, forty years ago, was called “The Europe of the Merchants”, or “The Common Market” for obvious reasons. For example, thirty years ago, if you wanted to buy a BMW in Spain you had to pay about 30% its price in taxes, compared to cars made here; and the same for Japanese cars.
So they made  a common space where commerce would become easier, cheaper, and a defense against Japan and America - China was nowhere to be seen yet. Instead of buying products outside Europe, we buy and sell within our frontiers. We help to develop each other. Yes, the bigger market benefits Germany and afterwards France, but overall it’s a good idea. If I’m better off than before, I shouldn't care if it serves you even better.
The problem arises when you have already got the best part of it, and what comes after is not so profitable. It is so easy just to point about the money they give to the rest of Europe, and not how being inside helps you sell millions of BMW’s (like it happened during the housing bubble, everybody here was tempted to have an Audi, or a BMW; when in normal conditions, they really couldn't afford it). Like I said once, if your neighbors are rich you have more chances to make some profit of it.
After Germany reunited, they had a lot of problems to solve. They had to break the very own European laws they set up years before, in order to work it out. Who could face them? So everybody did more or less the same….
So German politicians have had a rough time, on one hand they have to lead Europe, but within their own walls they must give a different face……or risk getting the sack when elections come.
That’s why most messages may sound contradictory. Depending who they talk to, German politicians may sound different. And markets get a bit nervous when this happens. It is so important that Germans in general “feel” that the situation is so desperate (well, it really is) that not taking part of it will they’ll be worse off. People were saying they were letting  Spain drown so there was no other solution than to save it. And the government here is scared to death picking the words so there is no shadow of the dammed word “rescue”, which could kick back so hard to make the government stumble. So what has happened over the last month is a strange poker game, where not only you want to hide your hand to your opponents, but also to any watcher nearby.
So, definitely, what everybody’s missing is the right timing of the speaker. They succeeded in making it unclear, so everybody doubted what the real intentions were. In my case I only saw it clear ten days ago, when I heard the exact words that translated meant: “It’s all right, relax, we’re going to help……” though there is always the shadow of a doubt.
As for Greece…..I can see no way the Greek voters can make a good decision.  All the money poured there before was of no use, it went directly to the hands of financial sharks. And the problems there can only be solved by a change in society so deep that, well……(it would be the same as asking companies to constrain to a “reasonable” profit when needed).  And one of the biggest dangers is that this is the right kind of soil for seeds like Hitler and the likes - when politicians are not up to the job, these others will spring up and take everything by surprise.
So don’t worry if you sometimes feel lost in this maze. (There are a lot of people here that don’t even bother to understand, they just let themselves be carried away by emotions, with no intellectual effort). I’m trying my best to simplify when I can, but nevertheless, sometimes I feel I write too much to make it simple to follow up. Tongue
 
 
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Re: Life - poem from Jose Hierro
Reply #39 - Jun 10th, 2012 at 10:04pm
 
Figment wrote on Jun 10th, 2012 at 7:14pm:
a defense against Japan and America 

wow! that idea had never occurred to me. i'm still reading.
 
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Re: Life - poem from Jose Hierro
Reply #40 - Jun 17th, 2012 at 1:16pm
 
says here (5th paragraph):

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/18/business/global/worried-banks-pose-threat-to-p...

Quote:
And in Madrid, even after European finance ministers agreed to a €100 billion, or $125 billion, rescue of Spain’s failing banks, the always proud Spanish government is insisting that it — and not Brussels bureaucrats — will take charge of how and where the funds are deployed

I have heard these types of comments before .. about Spansh pride.

And Spaniards proud .. more proud than most people?

Is it just the government, or the entire population (.. a cultural thing)?

PS - and what are your thoughts about the results of the elections in Greece today? where ND scored slim margin of victory over Syriza.
 
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Re: Life - poem from Jose Hierro
Reply #41 - Jun 17th, 2012 at 7:01pm
 
Well, it's not really a matter of pride. Forty years of democracy and economic growth have changed us in certain ways. The standard of living has "improved", and many things have been washed away during that journey. Don Quixote would not exist now (though you can still find many Sancho Panzas…..)
Government speech is more than ever a game of light and shadows. They told the people they could straighten this up, doing the right things that socialists hadn't been able to. They said: we won’t raise taxes (they have); we won’t make people pay for twice for services (they are); we’ll reactivate employment (they can't....nobody can, really, right now). And many more promises are bound to be broken; I think it is foolish to believe some promises can be kept. A neutral observer could not say they are doing anything that was not expected. But their whole communication scheme is wrong. So, they are scared to death that people start realizing that they aren't in control. That's why they say to their voters what they want to hear, and afterwards, behind the stage, mostly do what they ought to. It is arguable how badly the government before did things, but in the end, it’s all a political game. All the governments, red, blue or purple, have taken their toll on crisis, and not evenly. Politicians swallow that hardly.
This overall crisis has several layers. For example, people are perhaps forgetting that banks in Europe were asked to buy Greek bonds just a few years ago – not understanding where the real problems were. And every layer adds up, with consequences. You just can't make them vanish.
Whatever it is that may take us out of all this (if that is possible), just like our 100 billion € credit for banks, we are not ready to tackle the real problems:
1)      The whole economic system is finished as we know it. If we continue repeating the same mistakes…..we’re bound to end up in a similar situation.
2)      Even though all the players have responsibility, a chain is always as strong as its weakest link….and that’s the way this should be solved. But we tend to mend one, and are suggested that it’s not necessary to search and repair the next one. When we should be looking to nail it down and leaving as little margin for weakness as possible.
3)      We must look inside ourselves, and speak truly: do we really care so little about our children’s future? Do we have the courage to take the correct individual steps forward? It might be easy for some, but what about the people who really have a huge impact on the system?
4)           Political structure must go through a huge change. This should be starting right away - with a special caution not to let foxes be replaced by wolves (remember National Socialism).
5)      We have more information than never before. Will they let us use it?

We  all have to go through a deep period of change. Anyone denying this is probably too involved in their own interest.
Don’t let any of you be fooled. More than ever, Truth is just shown only at a fraction. Be patient with what you read and hear.
Let’s see what happens from this week on.
 
 
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Re: Life - poem from Jose Hierro
Reply #42 - Jun 17th, 2012 at 7:12pm
 
And about the Greek results.....it's a small step back from the cliff. All depends on how much they can stand and openly accept. If they are not given some oxygen, they are bound to toss up the chessboard, we cannot pretend them to choke to death in silence (again, remember National Socialism....)
If they are able to make a quick new government is still to be seen. So it'll have to be a step by step thing.- a survival game. And pray people will have enough sense to work it out without violence.
 
 
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Re: Life - poem from Jose Hierro
Reply #43 - Jun 19th, 2012 at 4:48pm
 
you might enjoy this 3-minute video about spain and the euro:

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2012/06/paul-krugman-on-europe-doing-the-unt...
 
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Re: Life - poem from Jose Hierro
Reply #44 - Jun 20th, 2012 at 4:35pm
 
what are your feelings regarding the comments i have been hearing about how europe needs to become "the united states of europe" .. with both a political/fiscal and monetary union?

is such a thing possible?

do you think it can be achieved?

what do others (there in europe) say?
 
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