A Call from Mike-Frank Epitropoulos: Mike Epitropoulos, author of Greece as a Demonstration Project (Dollars & Sense, May/June 2010) called me from Athens a couple of days ago. He’ll be writing another article for us soon about the situation over there.
In the meantime, check out this piece he wrote for his Znet page, The Stakes Are High. He’s responding in part to a great piece by Mark Weisbrot in the Guardian, Greece: Bond Slave to Europe, in which Weisbrot wonders how the American people would have responded if “the United States government had decided to reduce its federal budget deficit by more than $800bn–cutting spending and raising taxes to meet this goal. Imagine that, as a result of these measures, the economy had worsened and unemployment soared to more than 16%; and then the president pledged another $400bn in spending cuts and tax increases this year.”
Mike is teaching a study abroad course for students from the University of Pittsburgh, where he teaches political science, and has had a chance to see exactly how a group of American college students react to the austerity measures being imposed on the Greeks by their own government and by European politicians and bankers. (I love the idea of students who might have thought they were spending the summer enjoying Greek beaches and tourist sites actually getting something better: an historic lesson in political economy, viewed in real time.) Mike’s informal survey indicates that Weisbrot is right that Americans wouldn’t put up with such draconian austerity measures.
Also check out Weisbrot on how the demise of the euro wouldn’t be a bad thing–inasmuch as the euro has been a right-wing project all along: Why Save the Euro? from the Real News Network.