Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #861 Greek Tragedy, Part 4

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained here. The new dri­ve is a 32-giga­byte dri­ve that is cur­rent as of the pro­grams and arti­cles post­ed by late spring of 2015. The new dri­ve (avail­able for a tax-deductible con­tri­bu­tion of $65.00 or more) con­tains FTR #850.  

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Daedalus and Icarus: Defla­tion­ary Spi­ral

Intro­duc­tion: Once again, we look at the ongo­ing polit­i­cal and social cat­a­stro­phe unfold­ing in Greece, result­ing direct­ly from the twin demons of the Euro­pean Mon­e­tary Union and the finan­cial col­lapse of 2008.

Before exam­in­ing recent devel­op­ments in the Greek tragedy, we review some impor­tant Greek his­to­ry.

The pro­gram begins with an excerpt from AFA #1, about the re-insti­tu­tion of fas­cist ele­ments in Greece by the Allies at the end of World War II, deemed nec­es­sary to “fight com­mu­nism.”

Lib­er­at­ed from Nazi occu­pa­tion to a large extent by fierce gueril­la war­fare waged by a pop­u­lar resis­tance front grouped around Marx­ist social­ist gueril­las, Greece was the scene of a fierce civ­il war in the post­war years result­ing direct­ly from the pre­de­ter­mined British mil­i­tary and polit­i­cal hos­til­i­ty toward the ELAS orga­ni­za­tion.

Next, we return to analy­sis of the present cri­sis, and how it result­ed from the error and tragedy of the past.

In FTR #‘s 746788855we looked at the Greek economic/political cri­sis against the back­ground of long-term (two hun­dred years or so) Ger­man plans for the eco­nom­ic and polit­i­cal col­o­niza­tion of Europe as a vehi­cle to effect world dom­i­na­tion. It is against that same back­ground that we exam­ine the pur­chase of Greek region­al air­ports by a Ger­man com­pa­ny. (Nev­er for­get that, as seen in FTR #305, cor­po­rate Ger­many is con­trolled by the remark­able and dead­ly Bor­mann cap­i­tal net­work.)

This is a very real form of forced occu­pa­tion, using eco­nom­ic instead of mil­i­tary pres­sure.

Ger­man aus­ter­i­ty advo­cates inspect­ing Greek assets

The sale of Greece’s air­ports is just part of an enor­mous 50 bil­lion Euro sell-off of Greek assets–assets which would be fun­da­men­tal to the eco­nom­ic and social reha­bil­i­ta­tion of that unfor­tu­nate nation.

Rav­aged by what we called “Clause­witz­ian eco­nom­ics,” Greece has been crushed by the Ger­man aus­ter­i­ty doc­trine, echoed by the so-called “troika”–the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion (a Ger­man pup­pet orga­ni­za­tion at present), the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank (which has shown some signs of relent­ing) and the IMF (which has belat­ed­ly admit­ted the fun­da­men­tal error of its ways).

recent arti­cle in Forbes under­scores the flawed account­ing under­ly­ing the lethal fis­cal pol­i­cy imposed on the cit­i­zens of the “cra­dle of democ­ra­cy.”

As dis­cussed in a recent New York Times arti­cle, the Greek debt has been cal­cu­lat­ed using an uncon­ven­tion­al account­ing par­a­digm to arrive at the con­clu­sion that Greek debt is “175%” of GDP. The Greeks are in need of adopt­ing the “Ipsas” account­ing stan­dard.

In fact, it is 18%, when cal­cu­lat­ed using the stan­dard “Ipsas” account­ing method. Ger­many’s on the oth­er hand, is 46%, when cal­cu­lat­ed under that stan­dard!

In addi­tion to Ger­many’s self-serv­ing and capri­cious adher­ence to estab­lished EU and EMU account­ing stan­dards, Ger­many bears par­tial respon­si­bil­i­ty for the Greek cri­sis because of its aggres­sive, cor­rupt pur­suit of sales to Greek buy­ers. Ger­man busi­ness­men are avoid­ing crim­i­nal charges stem­ming from their con­duct of busi­ness in Greece.

End­ing with a spec­u­la­tive weigh­ing of the future in the con­text of the past, we eval­u­ate the con­cept of slav­ery in the con­text of what is tak­ing place in Europe.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: 

  • Dis­cus­sion of the con­cept of “vol­un­tary slav­ery,” as mint­ed by Ron Paul aide Wal­ter Block.
  • Dis­cus­sion of how enthu­si­asm for slav­ery worked against the South­ern white work­ing class and for the “1 per­centers” who owned the slaves.
  • Review of a Greek pro­pos­al to address the prob­lem of mas­sive youth unem­ploy­ment buy hav­ing young peo­ple work for free.
  • Review of the EMU and EU as the cul­mi­na­tion of Ger­man designs for impe­ri­al­ism dat­ing back to the nine­teenth cen­tu­ry.
  • Review of the the­o­ries of Carl von Clause­witz and how his the­o­ret­i­cal con­structs have played out in post-World War II Europe.

1. The pro­gram begins with an excerpt from AFA #1, about the re-insti­tu­tion of fas­cist ele­ments in Greece by the Allies at the end of World War II, deemed nec­es­sary to “fight com­mu­nism.”

2. In FTR #‘s 746, 788, 855, we looked at the Greek economic/political cri­sis against the back­ground of long-term (two hun­dred years or so) Ger­man plans for the eco­nom­ic and polit­i­cal col­o­niza­tion of Europe as a vehi­cle to effect world dom­i­na­tion. It is against that same back­ground that we exam­ine the pur­chase of Greek region­al air­ports by a Ger­man com­pa­ny. (Nev­er for­get that, as seen in FTR #305, cor­po­rate Ger­many is con­trolled by the remark­able and dead­ly Bor­mann cap­i­tal net­work.)

. . . In the ear­ly 1980s, as Chair of the Asso­ci­a­tion of Euro­pean Bor­der Regions (AEBR), [Ger­man Finance Min­is­ter Wolf­gang] Schäu­ble had orga­nized the first eco­nom­ic ini­tia­tives [and not just] toward France. Theodor Veit­er [6] a for­mer Nazi spe­cial­ist for bor­der sub­ver­sion was one of Schäuble’s advi­sors as chair of the AEBR. . . .”

“Greece Sells Air­ports to Ger­mans as Bun­destag Pre­pares for Day of Reck­on­ing” by Mehreen Khan; The Tele­graph; 8/18/2015.

The Greek gov­ern­ment has rowed back on a promise to halt the fire sales of the country’s strate­gic assets by approv­ing the sale of its air­ports to a Ger­man com­pa­ny.

Oper­at­ing rights to 14 region­al air­ports, includ­ing those on pop­u­lar hol­i­day des­ti­na­tions such as Crete, will now fall under the con­trol of Fra­port AG, the oper­a­tor of Frank­furt air­port.

The €1.23bn deal rep­re­sents a sig­nif­i­cant climb­down for Alex­is Tsipras who had denounced attempts by the Troi­ka to force var­i­ous Greek gov­ern­ments to de-nation­alise the country’s ports, elec­tric­ity net­works and air­ports.

But the embat­tled prime min­is­ter has been forced into a num­ber of con­ces­sions in return for an €86bn aid pack­age to keep the coun­try in the euro for the next three years. The deal comes as Germany’s Bun­destag pre­pares to vote on the pack­age on Wednes­day.

Bid­ding for the air­ports was won by the Ger­man firm in Novem­ber but the process was sus­pended by Syriza amid claims the ten­der broke com­pe­ti­tion rules. Fra­port will oper­ate the air­ports for the next 40 years under the licence agree­ment.

For­mer finance min­is­ter Yanis Varo­ufakis has attacked the sales for entrench­ing the country’s oli­garchic elites and hurt­ing the government’s cof­fers through under-priced sales.

In a line-by-line cri­tique of the demands, he dubbed the pri­vati­sa­tions as “a major dis­as­ter in every con­ceiv­able way – from the prices fetched to the rate at which the pri­vati­sa­tions that occurred were over­turned by the Euro­pean com­pe­ti­tion com­mis­sion and the Greek Coun­cil of State”.

The sale comes as a host of euro­zone par­lia­ments are prepar­ing to rat­ify the terms of the new res­cue pack­age — Greece’s third bail-out in five years.

Germany’s Angela Merkel is bat­tling to fight down a rebel­lion in her rul­ing Chris­t­ian Demo­c­rat par­ty. As the eurozone’s largest cred­i­tor state, Ger­many holds a block­ing minor­ity vote on Euro­pean Sta­bil­ity Mech­a­nism loans.

Although the pack­age is like­ly to gain the nec­es­sary votes, more than 60 of Ms Merkel’s par­lia­men­tar­i­ans vot­ed to reject new bail-out talks in July. The rebel­lion is set to esca­late to around 100 out of her 311 MPs.

The Chan­cel­lor has sought to con­vince scep­ti­cal law­mak­ers that Greece will be able to car­ry a the raft of oner­ous eco­nomic reforms in return for a first dis­burse­ment of €26bn due to be made by Thurs­day.

Dis­quiet in Berlin has also grown over the posi­tion of the Inter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund, which is only like­ly to release its own funds to Greece in Octo­ber.

...

3. The fire-sale for Greek assets fig­ures to total around 50 bil­lion Euros and will make Greece sub­servient for some time to come, as the assets being sold are fun­da­men­tal to the restora­tion of that coun­try’s eco­nom­ic health.

“Greece Is for Sale – and Every­thing Must Go” by Nick Dear­den; Glob­al Jus­tice; 8/19/2015.

I’ve just had sight of the lat­est pri­vati­sa­tion plan for Greece. It’s been issued by some­thing called the Hel­lenic Repub­lic Asset Devel­op­ment Fund – the vehi­cle super­vised by the Euro­pean insti­tu­tions, which has been tasked with sell­ing off an eye-water­ing €50 bil­lion of Greece’s ‘valu­able assets’.

The fund was a real stick­ing point because the Euro­pean insti­tu­tions want­ed to move it to Lux­em­bourg, where they could keep a bet­ter eye on it. Any­how, it’s still in Athens, and this doc­u­ment, dat­ed 30 July, details the good­ies on sale to inter­na­tional investors who fan­cy buy­ing up some of the coun­try.

We’ve attached it to this blog to give a flavour of what’s up for grabs at the moment. Four­teen region­al air­ports, fly­ing into top tourist hubs, have already gone to a Ger­man com­pany, but don’t pan­ic because stock in Athens air­port is still on the table, as well as Athens’ old air­port which is up for a 99 year lease for rede­vel­op­ment as a tourism and busi­ness cen­tre.

...

Hold­ings in Thes­sa­loniki and Athens water are both on sale – though pub­lic protest has ensured that 50% plus 1 share remains in state hands. Nonethe­less, the sale will mean that mar­ket log­ic will dic­tate the future of these water and sew­er­age monop­o­lies. Final­ly there are pock­ets of land, includ­ing tourist and sports devel­op­ments, through­out Greece.

A sec­ond doc­u­ment, also attached, details the short-term work pro­gramme of var­i­ous gov­ern­ment min­is­ters, detail­ing actions they must take in order to add val­ue to these assets. This includes intro­duc­ing toll booths on roads to licens­ing casi­no rights to declar­ing sites of archae­o­log­i­cal inter­est. The doc­u­ment begs the ques­tion as to why gov­ern­ment min­is­ters are even need­ed, it would sure­ly be eas­ier to cut them out of the equa­tion alto­gether and let EU insti­tu­tions direct­ly admin­is­ter the coun­try.

Why does this mat­ter? First because makes no sense to sell off valu­able assets in the mid­dle of Europe’s worst depres­sion in 70 years. Those indus­tries could gen­er­ate rev­enues to help the Greek gov­ern­ment rebuild the econ­omy. In fact, the vast major­ity of the funds raised will go back to the cred­i­tors in debt repay­ments, and to the recap­i­tal­i­sa­tion of Greek banks.

So the pri­vati­sa­tions aren’t to do with help­ing Greece. The ben­e­fi­cia­ries are cor­po­ra­tions from around the world, though eye­brows are par­tic­u­larly being raised at the num­ber of Euro­pean com­pa­nies – from Ger­man air­port oper­a­tors and phone com­pa­nies to French rail­ways – who are get­ting their hands on Greece’s econ­o­my. Not to men­tion the Euro­pean invest­ment banks and legal firms who are mak­ing a fast buck along the way. The self-inter­est of Euro­pean gov­ern­ments in forc­ing these poli­cies on Greece leaves a par­tic­u­larly unpleas­ant flavour.

Most impor­tant is the inequal­ity this will entrench in Greek soci­ety for decades to come. Of course the fact that the state cur­rently holds these assets is no guar­an­tee of democ­racy. Clien­telism is rife in Greece. But the answer is trans­parency and democ­racy, just as Ger­man cit­i­zens are cur­rently try­ing to take back ener­gy com­pa­nies into col­lec­tive own­er­ship because they see this as a pre­req­ui­site for fair pric­ing and sup­port­ing renew­able ener­gy.

What won’t help is flog­ging off monop­o­lies to pri­vate cor­po­ra­tions who have no inter­est in Greece’s peo­ple. Work­ers will be sacked and their con­di­tions made worse, while the elite of Europe prof­its. Greece’s gov­ern­ment will have lost the abil­ity to make its soci­ety func­tion in the inter­ests of ordi­nary peo­ple.

But then, I sus­pect that’s the point.

4. Rav­aged by what we called “Clause­witz­ian eco­nom­ics,” Greece has been crushed by the Ger­man aus­ter­i­ty doc­trine, echoed by the so-called “troika”–the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion (a Ger­man pup­pet orga­ni­za­tion at present), the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank (which has shown some signs of relent­ing) and the IMF (which has belat­ed­ly admit­ted the fun­da­men­tal error of its ways).

A recent arti­cle in Forbes under­scores the flawed account­ing under­ly­ing the lethal fis­cal pol­i­cy imposed on the cit­i­zens of the “cra­dle of democ­ra­cy.”

As dis­cussed in a recent New York Times arti­cle, the Greek debt has been cal­cu­lat­ed using an uncon­ven­tion­al account­ing par­a­digm to arrive at the con­clu­sion that Greek debt is “175%” of GDP. The Greeks are in need of adopt­ing the “Ipsas” account­ing stan­dard.

In fact, it is 18%, when cal­cu­lat­ed using the stan­dard “Ipsas” account­ing method. Ger­many’s on the oth­er hand, is 46%, when cal­cu­lat­ed under that stan­dard!

It is going to be more than a lit­tle inter­est­ing to see how Deutsch­land, major EU finan­cial insti­tu­tions and the Greek cit­i­zen­ry square off over this.

“Greece’s Net Debt is 18% of GDP, Not 175%. What’s Ger­many’s” by Panos Mour­douk­outas: Forbes; 1/22/2015.

Before impos­ing anoth­er round of aus­ter­i­ty on Greece, Ger­many should fix its own account­ing prob­lem — by cal­cu­lat­ing Greek debt, and its own, with accept­ed inter­na­tion­al stan­dards.

As Greek cit­i­zens head to the polls this Sun­day, Ger­man offi­cials have not missed the chance to remind Greece that it must ful­fill its debt oblig­a­tions. This means adher­ing to an unprece­dent­ed aus­ter­i­ty which has depressed the Greek econ­o­my.

The trou­ble is that Ger­many has been over­es­ti­mat­ing Greece’s debt by fail­ing to fol­low the Inter­na­tion­al Pub­lic Sec­tor Account­ing Stan­dards (Ipsas),which mea­sure lia­bil­i­ties and assets over time.

Ipsas stan­dards are sim­i­lar to those used by lead­ing gov­ern­ments, busi­ness­es, banks and investors at all lev­els, accord­ing to Pro­fes­sor Jacob Soll. “In fact, the debt has been cal­cu­lat­ed to be larg­er than it actu­al­ly is, or would be if one used Ipsas,”writes Soll in a recent New York Times op-ed.

Just how much is Greek debt over­es­ti­mat­ed?

The answer is to be found in www.freegreece.info. If you apply Ipsas to cal­cu­late Greek debt, the Net Debt is 18%, not 175% of GDP.

What about Germany’s Net Debt under Ipsas? 46% of GDP.

That means that Greece’s debt sit­u­a­tion is bet­ter than that of Germany’s!

So why doesn’t Ger­many use Ipsas to cal­cu­late the Greek debt? For two rea­sons, accord­ing Pro­fes­sor Soll. First, they don’t apply Ipsas in their own House.“A lit­tle-known fact is that the Ger­mans also do not use Ipsas and have notably opaque pub­lic finance stan­dards,” he writes.

Sec­ond, by steer­ing away from Ipsas, Ger­many can keep Greece on the leash while con­ve­nient­ly keep­ing Greek debt off its own books.

“One rea­son might be that the Ger­mans have refused to price the debt fair­ly, or prop­er­ly report its val­ue, which means in the short run that they extract more aus­ter­i­ty from the Greeks than they should, and that they also keep this loan off the bud­get bal­ance sheets because it would come up as a loss under any legit­i­mate account­ing stan­dard,” writes Soll.

In our opin­ion, there’s a third rea­son. Over­es­ti­mat­ing sov­er­eign debt for South­ern Euro­pean coun­tries stirs anx­i­ety in for­eign cur­ren­cy mar­kets, depress­ing the Euro, and fir­ing up Germany’s export engine.

5. With Greece still forced to pri­va­tized its top state assets, here’s a reminder of that the love­ly pri­vate sec­tor that’s sup­posed to mag­i­cally rid Greece of all its inef­fi­cien­cies and cor­rup­tion has been con­tribut­ing to and prof­it­ing from Greece’s inef­fi­cien­cies and cor­rup­tion for years. And those love­ly pri­vate enti­ties weren’t just Greek:

“Dozens of Ger­man Busi­ness Execs Are Try­ing to Escape Pros­e­cu­tion for Cor­rup­tion in Greece” by Yan­nick Pas­quet [AFP]; Busi­ness Insid­er; 8/30/2015.

Siemens, Daim­ler, Rhein­metall — the cream of Ger­man indus­try — have been mired in cas­es of alleged cor­rup­tion in Greece, the coun­try that Berlin has repeat­edly admon­ished for the par­lous state of its economy.No date has been set yet for 19 for­mer exec­u­tives of Ger­man engi­neer­ing group Siemens to appear in Greek court, but it is expect­ed to be one of the biggest finan­cial tri­als of the decade in Greece.

More than 60 peo­ple in total are being inves­ti­gated for cor­rup­tion in the case that US watch­dog Cor­p­Watch has labelled “the great­est cor­po­rate scan­dal in Greece’s post­war his­to­ry.”

Bavaria-based Siemens, whose links to Greece go back to the 19th cen­tury, is sus­pected of hav­ing greased the palms of var­i­ous offi­cials to clinch one of the country’s most lucra­tive con­tracts — the vast upgrade of the Greek tele­phone net­work in the late 1990s.

Over­all, Siemens alleged­ly spent 70 mil­lion euros ($78 mil­lion) on bribes in Greece, accord­ing to Greek judi­cial sources.

The inves­ti­ga­tion is now in its ninth year with a case brief over 2,300 pages long.

Con­tacted by AFP, a Siemens spokesman at com­pany head­quar­ters in Munich said: “We don’t com­ment on that case.”

Among those sus­pected of cor­rup­tion is the group’s for­mer point man in Greece, Michalis Christo­forakos.

But the 62-year-old, who holds dual Greek and Ger­man cit­i­zen­ship and at the height of his influ­ence rubbed elbows with the ensem­ble of Greece’s polit­i­cal elite, is unlike­ly to face tri­al.

Christo­forakos fled Greece for Ger­many in 2009, and Ger­man jus­tice has refused to extra­dite him, argu­ing that the statute of lim­i­ta­tions cov­er­ing his alleged activ­i­ties has lapsed.

Rela­tions between Athens and Berlin — already test­ed by the Greek eco­nomic cri­sis and Germany’s insis­tence on painful aus­ter­ity to bail out the debt-wracked coun­try — have not been helped by the Siemens case.

Ear­lier this year, Greece’s com­bat­ive par­lia­ment speak­er Zoe Con­stan­topoulou said the affair smacked of dou­ble stan­dards on the part of Berlin.

“This is a ques­tion of jus­tice that shows there is dou­ble­s­peak by Ger­many,” she told France’s Lib­er­a­tion news­pa­per in a recent inter­view.

“Ger­man com­pa­nies have noto­ri­ously engaged in cor­rupt prac­tices in Greece but such cas­es are only occa­sion­ally inves­ti­gated,” the Ger­man For­eign Pol­icy think-tank said in a recent report.

...

In 2011, at the height of the Greek eco­nomic cri­sis, a par­lia­men­tary inquiry esti­mated the dam­age to pub­lic cof­fers at two bil­lion euros from inflat­ed con­tract costs ulti­mately borne by tax­pay­ers.

Lucra­tive mil­i­tary deals

Arms pro­cure­ment has been anoth­er lucra­tive field for Ger­man com­pa­nies, with Greece for years spend­ing the most mon­ey pro­por­tion­ately on defence — 2.2 per­cent of gross domes­tic prod­uct (GDP) in 2014 — among EU mem­bers, Sahra Wan­genknecht, a law­maker of Germany’s left­ist par­ty Die Linke, told AFP.

“Ger­man com­pa­nies have reaped con­sid­er­able prof­it from Greece’s colos­sal arms pur­chases,” Wan­genknecht said.

For automak­er Daim­ler, Greek jus­tice opened an inves­ti­ga­tion ear­lier this year on sus­pi­cion of bribery in the award of an 100-mil­lion-euro mil­i­tary vehi­cle con­tract.

Krauss Maf­fei Weg­mann, the mak­ers of the Ger­man Leop­ard tank, was also placed under inves­ti­ga­tion in Munich.

Mean­while, fel­low defence con­trac­tor Rhein­metall in 2012 was fined 37 mil­lion euros by a court in Bre­men, Ger­many, over a bribery case involv­ing the sale of its anti-air­craft defence sys­tem for 150 mil­lion euros.

And two for­mer man­agers at indus­trial ser­vices provider Fer­rostaal were also con­victed in Munich of shady pay­ments to clinch a Greek sub­ma­rine order, with the com­pany fined 140 mil­lion euros.

But observers note that the fines are usu­ally nowhere near the val­ue of the gov­ern­ment con­tracts in ques­tion, effec­tively ren­der­ing them use­less as a deter­rent.

6. A very omi­nous pro­posal has been float­ed by the Greek gov­ern­ment. (See text excerpts below.) Not only does it sug­gest the pos­si­bil­ity that the stag­ger­ing unem­ploy­ment rate among Greek youth be solved by “unpaid” employ­ment, but floats the pos­si­bil­ity that job­less young peo­ple be shipped abroad!

We won­der to where they will be shipped? What are they sup­posed to do when they get there?

All is not well in the “Cra­dle of Democ­ra­cy!”

“Europe’s Mod­est Pro­posal To End Unem­ploy­ment: Slav­ery” by Tyler Dur­den; zerohedge.com; 1/24/2014.

Hav­ing spent weeks talk­ing amongst them­selves about the chron­ic and dan­ger­ous rise of youth unem­ploy­ment in Europe (as we warned here), the Cen­ter of Plan­ning and Eco­nomic Research in Greece has pro­posed a con­tro­ver­sial mea­sure. As GreekRe­porter reports, the mea­sure includes unpaid work for the young and unem­ployed up to 24 years old, so that com­pa­nies would have a strong motive to hire young employ­ees.

“Unpaid” work sounds a lot like slav­ery to us... but it gets bet­ter; the report also sug­gested “export­ing young unem­ployed per­sons.”

“Cen­tre of Plan­ning and Eco­nomic Research in Greece has pro­posed a con­tro­ver­sial mea­sure in order to deal with the prob­lem of increas­ing unem­ploy­ment in the coun­try.

The mea­sure includes unpaid work for the young and unem­ployed up to 24 years old, so that com­pa­nies would have a strong motive to hire young employ­ees. Prac­ti­cally, what is pro­posed is the abo­li­tion of the basic salary for a year. At the same time the “export” of young unem­ployed per­sons was also pro­posed to oth­er coun­tries abroad, as Greek busi­nesses do not appear able to hire new per­son­nel.“
***

Whether it’s Europe in the 1930’s or the US dur­ing the same peri­od (con­flicts between strik­ers, the Nation­al Guard and armed mili­tias), unem­ploy­ment can cre­ate a pow­er­ful cock­tail of unrest. But turn­ing your nation’s young into slaves does not seem like a good solu­tion to us. . . .

7. More about the pro­pos­al for de fac­to slav­ery for Greek youth:

“Con­tro­ver­sial Pro­posal for Tack­ling Unem­ploy­ment” by Niko­leta Kalmou­ki; Greek Reporter; 1/24/2014.

Cen­tre of Plan­ning and Eco­nomic Research in Greece has pro­posed a con­tro­ver­sial mea­sure in order to deal with the prob­lem of increas­ing unem­ploy­ment in the coun­try.

The mea­sure includes unpaid work for the young and unem­ployed up to 24 years old, so that com­pa­nies would have a strong motive to hire young employ­ees. Prac­ti­cally, what is pro­posed is the abo­li­tion of the basic salary for a year. At the same time the “export” of young unem­ployed per­sons was also pro­posed to oth­er coun­tries abroad, as Greek busi­nesses do not appear able to hire new per­son­nel.

Accord­ing to the Nation­al Con­fed­er­a­tion of Hel­lenic Com­merce, unem­ploy­ment espe­cially hits the ages between 15–24. The unem­ploy­ment rate in Greece stands at 24.6% while 57.2% of young peo­ple are with­out a job. The major­ity of the unem­ployed (71%) have had no work for 12 months or more, while 23.3 % of the total have nev­er worked. There were 3,635,905 peo­ple employed and 1,345,387 unem­ployed. . . .

8. Next, the pro­gram reviews the con­cept of “vol­un­tary slav­ery,” mint­ed by Lud­wig von Mis­es Insti­tute fel­low Wal­ter Block, a top aide to Ron Paul, Edward Snow­den’s polit­i­cal idol.

“Ron Paul’s New Orga­ni­za­tion Report­ed­ly Stacked with Extrem­ists” by Ryan Lenz; Hate­Watch [South­ern Pover­ty Law Cen­ter]; 4/26/2013.

. . . . Sill anoth­er board mem­ber [of the Ron Paul Insti­tute for Peace and Pros­per­i­ty] is Wal­ter Block, a fel­low at the Mis­es Insti­tute, who, The Dai­ly Beast said, “believes the wrong side won the ‘war against South­ern seces­sion’ and blames most of Amer­i­ca’s prob­lems on ‘the mon­ster Lin­coln.’ ” . . . .

“Inter­view with Wal­ter Block on Vol­un­tary Slav­ery” by Stephan Kin­sel­la; StephanKinsella.com; 1/27/2013.

. . . . Wal­ter believes vol­un­tary slav­ery con­tracts ought to be enforce­able in a pri­vate law soci­ety, and in this I believe he is in the minor­i­ty of lib­er­tar­i­ans. . . .

9. New inter­pre­ta­tions like how the Con­fed­er­ate flag rep­re­sents a giant socioe­co­nomic con-job that was per­pe­trated by the aris­to­crats and ruined the lives of against not just the slaves but also 99% of the rest of the South­ern whites who saw their socioe­co­nomic prospects under­mined and destroyed by slav­ery to such an extent that the dam­age is still felt to this day:

“HYMAN: The Con­fed­er­acy Was a Con Job on Whites — and Still Is” by Frank Hyman; Rich­mond Times-Dis­patch; 8/7/2015.

I’ve lived 55 years in the South and I grew up lik­ing the Con­fed­er­ate flag. I haven’t flown one for many decades — but for a rea­son that might sur­prise you.

I know the South well. We lived wher­ever the Marine Corps sta­tioned my father: Geor­gia, Vir­ginia, the Car­oli­nas. My favorite uncle wasn’t in the mil­i­tary, but he did pack a .45-cal­iber Thomp­son sub­ma­chine gun in his trunk. He was a leader in the Ku Klux Klan. Despite my role mod­els, I was an inept racist as a kid. I got into trou­ble once in the first grade for call­ing a class­mate the N‑word. But he was His­pan­ic.

As I grew up and acquired empa­thy, I learned that for black folks the flut­ter of the Con­fed­er­ate flag felt like a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. And for the most pride­ful flag-wavers, clear­ly that response was the point. I mean, come on. It’s a bat­tle flag.

What the flag sym­bol­izes for blacks is enough rea­son to take it down. But there’s anoth­er rea­son white South­ern­ers shouldn’t fly it. Or sport it on our state-issued license plates, as some do here in North Car­olina. The Con­fed­er­acy — and the slav­ery that spawned it — was also one big con job on the South­ern white work­ing class. A con job fund­ed by some of the ante­bel­lum one-per­centers, and one that con­tin­ues today in a sim­i­lar form.

You don’t have to be an econ­o­mist to see that forc­ing blacks — a third of the South’s labor­ers — to work with­out pay drove down wages for every­one else. And not just in agri­cul­ture. A quar­ter of enslaved blacks worked in the con­struc­tion, man­u­fac­tur­ing and lum­ber­ing trades, cut­ting wages even for skilled white work­ers.

Thanks to the prof­itabil­ity of this no-wage/low-wage com­bi­na­tion, a major­ity of Amer­i­can one-per­centers were South­ern­ers. Slav­ery made South­ern states the rich­est in the coun­try. The South was rich­er than any oth­er coun­try except Eng­land. But that vast wealth was invis­i­ble out­side the plan­ta­tion ball­rooms. With low wages and few schools, South­ern whites suf­fered a much low­er land own­er­ship rate and a far low­er lit­er­acy rate than North­ern whites.

My ances­tor, Can­na Hyman, and his two sons did own land and fought under that flag. A note from our fam­ily his­tory says: “Some­one came for them while they were plow­ing one day. They put their hors­es up and all three went away to the War and only one son, William, came back.”

Like Can­na, most South­ern­ers didn’t own slaves. But they were per­suaded to risk their lives and limbs for the right of a few to get rich as Croe­sus from slav­ery. For their sac­ri­fices and their votes, they earned two things before and after the Civ­il War. First, a very skin­ny slice of the immense South­ern pie. And sec­ond, the thing that made those slim rations palat­able then and now: the shal­low sat­is­fac­tion of know­ing blacks had no slice at all.

How did the plan­ta­tion-own­ing one-per­centers mis­lead so many South­ern whites?

They man­aged this con job part­ly with a pro­pa­ganda tech­nique that will be famil­iar to mod­ern Amer­i­cans. Start­ing in the 1840s, wealthy South­ern­ers sup­ported more than 30 region­al pro-slav­ery mag­a­zines, along with many pam­phlets and nov­els that false­ly tout­ed slave own­er­ship as hav­ing ben­e­fits that would — in today’s lin­go — trick­le down to ben­e­fit non-slave-own­ing whites and even blacks. The flip side of the coin of this pro­pa­ganda is the mis­taken notion that any gain by blacks comes at the expense of the white work­ing class.

Today’s ver­sion of this con job no longer sup­ports slav­ery, but still works in the South and thrives in pro-trick­le-down think tanks, mag­a­zines, news­pa­pers, talk radio and TV news shows such as the Cato Foun­da­tion, Rea­son mag­a­zine, Rush Lim­baugh and Fox News. These sources are often under­writ­ten by pro-trick­le-down one-per­centers like the Koch broth­ers and Rupert Mur­doch.

For exam­ple, a map of states that didn’t expand Med­ic­aid — which would actu­ally be a boon most­ly to poor whites — resem­bles a map of the old Con­fed­er­acy with a few oth­er poor, rur­al states thrown in. Anoth­er indi­ca­tion that this divi­sive pro­pa­ganda works on South­ern whites came in 2012. Mitt Rom­ney and Barack Oba­ma even­ly split the white work­ing class in the West, Mid­west and North­east. But in the South, we went 2–1 for Rom­ney.

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