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LOOTING GREECE
A New Financial Imperialism
Emerges

Jack Rasmus

ISBN 978-0986085345
$24.95  2016 312 pp.














EBOOK:
ISBN 978-0-9860853-5-2
$19.00
SYNOPSIS

    Looting Greece examines how and why the Syriza party, which took
    power in January 2015 promising to end eliminate debt, end austerity,
    and return Greece to economic growth, ended up agreeing to a deal
    much worse than its political predecessors in 2010 and 2012.

    Greece’s debt crisis is primarily non-Greek in origin, and largely the
    consequence of the creation of the Euro and its monetary system. It is
    also non-governmental in origin, as Greek private debt was transferred
    into public debt after the crash of 2008-09 and the series of Troika debt
    restructuring deals that followed.

    In the new 2015 debt deal, pensions are reduced even more than
    before, retirement ages raised, temporary pension restorations of early
    2015 for the poorest rolled back, workers’ right to strike and
    collectively bargain further limited, mass layoffs now made legally
    possible, more government workers and teachers may be laid off and
    have their wages cut, taxes are raised on households, farmers and
    small businesses across the board, and social safety nets further
    shredded.

    To additionally pay for the $98 billion in new loans from the Troika―
    more than $85 billion of which will go to pay previous debts to the
    Troika and European bankers―sales of Greek public assets are
    expedited and the list of projects to be ‘privatized’ even further
    expanded.

    How the Euro Troika bureaucrats effectively subdued and conquered
    Greece economically, in the process destroying its democracy, is
    traced in a series of articles written from February through August 2015
    as the Troika and Syriza negotiated over debt and austerity. Why the
    Troika set out to destroy Syriza and how Syriza ended up destroying
    itself are discussed, as well as how the respective strategies and
    tactics of both parties resulted in a final agreement in August 2015,
    which was not only worse in austerity terms compared to previous
    deals, but established new arrangements for ensuring debt repayment
    that are unique to recent debt deal restructuring.

    Placing the Greek events of 2015 in broader historical perspective, the
    book argues a radical new neoliberal initiative in Europe has emerged:
    in the 2015 debt deal the Troika will now directly manage Greece’s
    economy―running its banks, writing Greece’s budget, vetting and
    replacing government ministers, exercising veto rights over Greece’s
    parliament and Executive agencies, dictating its taxes, and implanting
    ‘Troika Commissars’ to watch over and approve day to day decisions
    of Greek government at all levels.

    Looting Greece explains how a new kind of financial imperialism is
    emerging in Greece, Europe’s periphery, and soon elsewhere.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Chapter One
THE MEANING OF THE GREEK DEBT  CRISIS / 11
Syriza’s Poorly Bet Hand / 14
The Troika’s Stacked Deck / 17
Greek Debt Crises and ‘Weak Form’ Euro-Neoliberalism / 21
Generic Neoliberalism / 23
Eurozone Neoliberalism / 28
The Greek Debt Crisis and Euro Social Democracy / 34
The Emerging New Debt-based Imperialism / 36

Chapter Two
THE GERMAN ORIGINS OF GREEK DEBT / 45
    The Lisbon Strategy and ‘Internal Devaluation’ / 47
    Germany’s Lisbon Strategy Implementation / 49
    Germany’s Bundesbank Dominates the ECB / 51
    Greek Debt as Private Bank-Investor Debt / 55
    The Myth of Greek Wages as Cause of Debt / 56
    From Private to Government Debt / 57
    The German Origins of the Greek Debt / 61

Chapter Three
PASOK AND THE DEBT CRISIS OF 2010 / 66
    2009:  PASOK’s Strategic Error / 66
    PASOK’s Voluntary Austeriy Program / 68
    Bond Vigilantes Escalate the Debt / 72
    The 2010 Debt Agreement / 74
    Who Was Really Bailed Out? / 75

Chapter Four
THE SECOND GREEK DEBT CRISIS OF 2012 / 79
    A Brief Recapitulation / 79
    Some Defining Characteristics of the 2012 Debt Crisis / 82
    2011: Interim Preceding the Second Debt Crisis / 84
    The 2012 Debt Crisis and the Three-Way Negotiating
          Farce / 87
    The ‘German Hypothesis’ / 90
    The Second Debt Restructuring Deal of 2012 / 92

Chapter Five
COLLAPSE OF NEW DEMOCRACY & RISE OF SYRIZA / 103
    New Democracy Pleads to Renegotiate / 104
    The Bond Buyback Boondoggle of December 2012 / 107
    Who Benefits? / 109
    Muddling Through: 2013-2014 / 112
    Syriza Comes of Age / 113
    The Eurozone Stagnates Once Again / 114

Chapter Six
SYRIZA TAKES THE OFFENSIVE / 120
    The Troika’s $2.8 Trillion Grexit Firewall / 121
    Troika Strategy to Defeat Syriza at the Polls / 123
    Syriza’s Electoral Offensive / 126

Chapter Seven
THE TROIKA COUNTER-ATTACK / 136
    The Debt-Swap Proposal and Euro Tour / 139
    The February 20 Interim Agreement / 146
    The Lessons of Bargaining: February-March 2015 / 154

Chapter Eight
FROM CONFRONTATION TO CAPITULATION / 158
    Troika Economics: 1932 Déjà vu / 161
    Varoufakis Marginalized / 163
    Brexit Before Grexit? / 165
    The Troika’s ‘Final and Best’ Offer—June 2015 / 167
    Greece’s Interim ‘Final’ Offer / 172
    The Road to Referendum / 176
    Referendum and Fallout / 182

Chapter Nine
SYRIZA TAMED / 188
    Greece as an Emerging ‘Economic Protectorate’/ 190
    Party Restructuring as a Precondition for Economic Restructuring / 191
    The Third Debt Deal of August 2015 / 193
    The Parliamentary Election of September 20, 2015 / 197
    General Strikes and Grexit / 198
    Feints, Rear-Guard Actions, & Longer-Term Agreement / 200
    The IMF’s Secret Concerns in Negotiations / 202
    The IMF-EC/Germany Split / 204
    Debt Restructuring by Another Name? / 207
    Observations on the Third Debt Agreement of 2015-18 / 209

Chapter Ten
WHY THE TROIKA PREVAILED:  INTERPRETATIONS AND ANALYSES / 216
An Overview of Greek Economy 2015-2016 / 216
The Greek Debt Crisis as a Banking Crisis / 217
The Big Picture / 220
Eurozone Structure and the Greek Crisis / 223
Syriza’s Fundamental Error / 228
Syriza’s Objectives / 231
Could a Grexit Have Succeeded / 233
Syriza Strategies / 235
Troika Strategies / 241
Tactics—Troika vs. Syriza / 247
The Individual Factor in Syriza’s Defeat / 251
Organization and Public Consciousness Factors / 253
Is a Fourth Greek Debt Crisis Inevitable? / 257

Conclusion
A NEW FINANCIAL IMPERIALISM EMERGES / 264
The Many Meanings of Imperialism / 264
Colonies, Protectorates, and Dependencies / 266
Gerece as an Economic Protectorate / 269
Wealth Extraction as an Imperialist Objective / 271
‘Reflective’ Theories of Imperialism / 273
Alternatives to Hilferding-Lenin / 278
Greece as a Case Example of Financial Imperialism / 284
 Private Sector Interest Transfer / 287
 State to State Debt and Interest Aggregation and Transfer / 289
 Financial Imperialism from Privatization of Public Assets / 297
 Foreign Investor Speculation on Greek Financial Asset Price Volatility / 299
 
INDEX
Dr. Jack Rasmus is the author of several books on the USA
and global economy, including
Systemic Fragility in the Global
Economy,
2015; Obama’s Economy, 2012, and An Alternative
Program for Economic Recovery
, 2012. He hosts the weekly
New York radio show, Alternative Visions, on the Progressive
Radio network; is shadow Federal Reserve Bank chair of the
‘Green Shadow Cabinet’ and economic advisor to the USA
Green Party’s presidential candidate, Jill Stein. He writes bi-
weekly for Latin America’s teleSUR TV, for
Z magazine,
Counterpunch
and other print & electronic publications.  Dr.
Rasmus studied  economics  at  Berkeley,  took  his  
doctorate  in  the  University  of  Toronto (1977), and worked
for many years as a union organizer and labour contract
negotiator.  He currently teaches economics and politics at St.
Marys College in California
GREECE vs. EUROPEAN BANKERS
FROM REVIEWS OF EARLIER WORK

Systemic Fragility in the Global Economy
CHINESE EDITION FORTHCOMING FROM HUAXIA PUBLISHING

"Systemic Fragility in the Global Economy offers a penetrating analysis of
economic stagnation in advanced economies by providing a sustained and
systemic focus on the role of finance, an analysis that probes further than
mainstream economic analysis. Rasmus has made a signal contribution to
contemporary economics and provided a vitally important X-ray of the political
economy of stagnation.."
Jan Nederveen Pieterse,  Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, 2017   

"Systemic Fragility in the Global Economy (2015) is the fourth in a series that
Rasmus has produced within this broad intellectual and activist project. Each
work not only provides  a  theoretically-informed,  empirically-grounded  
diagnosis  but  also  offers  a  wide-ranging  set  of  policy  recommendations  
aimed  at  progressive  movements... The case studies of the USA, Europe,
Japan and China are excellent, typically contrarian, and  highly  teachable.  
Many  important  and  provocative  arguments  and  points  are  made in
passing in these studies and they are strengthened by the more sustained
theoretical  analyses  that  follow.  A  major  contribution  is  the  analysis  of  
the  complexity  of  shadow  banking,  an  ill-defined  term  of  art  in  most  of  
the  literature."
Capital & Class, Vol. 40, No. 2, June 2016
PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS AND
JACK RASMUS INTERVIEW
ON GREECE
, PRESS TV
LISTEN
Interview with Peninsula Peace and
Justice Center
•        Reveals clearly who calls the shots in the Eurozone—the
hardliners, not the remnants and political residue of what was
once European social democracy

•        Follows the negotiations in their excruciating detail as the
Troika tightens the screws from 2009 to the present

•        Shows how Europe’s financial elite enriches itself on Greek
debt, privatizations and financial manipulations, turning Greece
into an Economic Protectorate
REVIEWS

"In this brilliant book, Rasmus shows that the EU is a finely honed
device for looting its poorest members of their wealth and their
democracy."                    
           PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

"in writing such an analytically clear, historical account of the European
and Greek debt crises, Jack Rasmus also has made a valuable
contribution... Rasmus does a good job of showing that this trade deficit
was caused neither by higher wages to the Greek working class nor by
escalation in Greek consumer spending. Rather the debt was driven up
by European Union and ECB policy, in the interest of European capital...
Looting Greece is a thoughtful post-mortem on the experiment of Syriza
as a government of the left in Greece. Bittersweet, but worthy of the
experience."
                                                                    Aaron Amaral, New Politics

"an  analytically  clear,  historical  account  of  the  European and
Greek debt crises. It emphasizes the centre and periphery
relations between the North and South of Europe in the European
Monetary Union (EMU) institutional
framework, which reminds us of the interwar gold standard
regime. It is an interesting contribution."
Bob Jessop, Capital & Class
interview with Dialogos Radio
worldwide  October 9, 2016