[Marxism] Fwd: "Odious Debt" Has Finally Arrived: Greece To Write Off "Illegal" Debt

Dayne Goodwin daynegoodwin at gmail.com
Sun Apr 26 21:04:06 MDT 2015

Should Greece Pay Back Its Debt?
by Ozlem Onaran
Social Europe journal, April 23
. . .
On 4 April the President of the Hellenic Parliament, Zoe
Konstantopoulou, set up the Debt Truth Committee – a special committee
of the Parliament to investigate the truth about the increase in
Greece’s public debt. Eric Toussaint of the Committee for the
Abolition of Third World Debt is the team’s scientific coordinator.
The Debt Truth Committee currently includes 35 international and Greek
experts in law, economics, accounting, banking from Europe as well as
Zambia, Ecuador, and Brazil.

There are well-established concepts in international law that question
the legality, legitimacy, sustainability or odiousness of a loan
agreement if and when it deters a state from meeting its obligations
to its citizens to ensure adequate access to health and education, a
life with dignity, and the right to organise...

These legal concepts are the guiding references for the Debt Truth
Committee: Is any part of Greek public debt before or after the
Memoranda of Understanding (MoU,
with the Troika illegitimate? Was it contracted by a government
without considering whether the public or general interest would be
safeguarded? Was any part of it contracted in violation of the current
legal or constitutional system? Has any part of the debt been granted
on conditions that violate the social, economic, cultural, civic, and
political rights of the people concerned? Were the loans intended not
to save Greece but French and German banks?
. . .
In the case of Greece, the ILO’s supervisory body along with other
supervisory bodies of the European Code of Social Security, the United
Nations and European human rights bodies have repeatedly expressed
concern that maintaining the course of fiscal consolidation foreseen
by the MoU undermined the national social security system’s “capacity
to maintain the population ‘in health and decency’ above the poverty
threshold.” As a result of these policies and the dismantling of the
collective bargaining system, real hourly wages in Greece fell by 25%
by 2014. The minimum wage has fallen to its level of the 1970s. The
minimum pension fell below the poverty threshold. As many as 35.7% of
the population and 44.1% of children aged 11 to 15 are at risk of
poverty or social exclusion. The economic depression became a
fully-fledged reproductive crisis, with the population decreasing at
the same time as rising emigration and decreasing fertility.
. . .
Dealing with the depression and humanitarian crisis in Greece requires
measures to reverse both inequality and austerity, increase the
minimum wage, re-establish collective bargaining institutions and the
welfare state, and promote public investment in the social and
physical infrastructure via a healthy and progressive tax system. This
is, unfortunately, not how the creditor institutions understand
structural change.

...the sane response to the crisis would be to analyse the origins of
the debt in Europe to shed light on adequate policies to generate
sustainable development and social cohesion in Europe. The German
export-led growth model also requires debt, but in another country, in
Greece or Spain, hence it is as unsustainable as debt-led growth.
However the EC, ECB, and the IMF are not guided by rational long-term
economic and social concerns, but by erroneous economic concepts that
serve the interests of the financial world. Therefore, the initiative
of the Greek Parliament is of historical importance, not just for
Greece but also for Europe as a whole.
   _   _   _   _   _
Özlem Onaran is a member of the Debt Truth Committee in Greece and
Professor of Workforce and Economic Development Policy at the
University of Greenwich, UK [and supporter of FI

On Fri, Apr 10, 2015 at 3:01 PM, Dayne Goodwin <daynegoodwin at gmail.com> wrote:
> Why should the Greek debt be audited?
> by Éric Toussaint, CADTM*
> <http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article3956>
. . .
> On Wed, Apr 8, 2015 at 2:05 PM, Louis Proyect via Marxism
> <marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:
>> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-04-08/odious-debt-has-finally-arrived-greece-write-illegal-debt

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