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Greece is right where Weimar Germany was in late 1922…no cash and few options to grow

If Greece in 2015 mirrors Germany in 1922, then we might expect Greece in 2016 to come to resemble Germany in 1923.

Alex Christoforou

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Post entitled “Weimar Greece – The Effects of a Currency Collapse” originally appeared in International Man:

Cash is a scarce commodity in Greece.

In June, Greek banks declared a surprise limitation on how much could be withdrawn from an account. At present, the government still limits the cash withdrawals of Greeks.

And, of course, this is just the most recent in a series of events that make up the cash squeeze. In response, Greeks have done what all people do when they cannot get enough currency – they improvise.

Several alternate systems for payment of goods and services have cropped up in Greece since 2010. One is TEM, which allows people to gain monetary credit on an internet site, which may then be used to pay others. Another system is the Athens Time Bank, which logs time units, allowing individuals to pay each other with their time. The services provided can be anything from language lessons to medical consultation. Other systems are popping up, as Greeks seek out any method of payment other than the euro, since they’re closed off from their own savings at the banks. As can be expected, barter is becoming more commonplace.

Greece is right where Weimar Germany was in late 1922. The 1919 Treaty of Versailles required Germany to pay reparations for WWI. At the time, Germany, having lost the war, was already on the ropes economically. The conditions of the treaty amounted to an unpayable level of debt. As it became apparent that it was impossible to pay, the allies squeezed harder. Economic conditions in Germany worsened dramatically, not unlike Greece today, and for the same reason.

Germans did their best to sidestep the economic squeeze. As the cost of goods and services was rapidly rising (on a daily basis), Germans learned that it was best to spend Reichsmarks as quickly as possible on virtually anything that was holding its value better than banknotes.

Interestingly, in 1922, virtually no one felt that currency was the problem. German politicians blamed the allies, particularly the French, for demanding that Germany live up to the treaty they had signed. Bankers often blamed foreign currencies for rising against the mark. And the people of Germany generally placed the blame on the most immediate symptom – that costs were rising more quickly than wages. Although they were pleased when their own wages went up, they wanted the prices of commodities to remain the same. They therefore blamed the merchants (particularly the many Jewish merchants) for raising the prices of their goods every time wages increased. They blamed this on Jewish greed, failing to understand that, every time wages increased, the cost of production increased and that increase was passed to the merchants.

In 1922, as in 2015, virtually everyone failed to recognise that monetary movement is circular in nature, not linear. All payments, for all goods and services, impact each other, in a domino effect.

The provision of goods and services is the lifeblood of any economy. Those who offer them and those who pay for them create wealth by doing so. This is the natural order of economics. However, if currency is artificially pumped into an economic system, either through the printing of bank notes, as in Germany in 1922, or the provision of bailouts, as in Greece in 2015, no goods have been created, no services have been performed. The injection of currency fails to improve the economy; it makes the situation worse. At some point, the money tap must be shut off, and, when it is, a crash takes place. The severity of the crash is directly proportional to the degree of currency injection.

So, as long as we’re comparing parallel events, what else happened back then? Well, one interesting development was that, although most everyone in Germany was experiencing a steady decrease in their standard of living, farmers seemed to be holding their own. This, of course, was because they remained productive. They created essential goods for sale to others, so they maintained their living standards. In the autumn of 1922, most Bavarians could not afford to attend Oktoberfest, but the beer halls did an acceptable business with the farmers who came to town for the celebration. They were deeply resented by city dwellers for being able to afford beer that they themselves could not afford.

Such was the resentment that the prime minister of Bavaria submitted a bill to the Reichsrat to make gluttony a public offense.

In 1923, as the Weimar inflation grew to the point that city dwellers were starving, many of them went out to the country to steal the produce the farmers had worked to grow. Resentment was so high against the farmers that many raiders killed the farmers out of hatred. Further, since they couldn’t take the farmers’ cattle back to the city with them, they slaughtered them in the fields, out of spite. Of course, by destroying the source of the food, they assured that they would receive even less in future. Many starved.

As stated by British Author Adam Fergusson in When Money Dies:

It brought out the worst in everybody… It caused fear and insecurity among those who had already known too much of both. It fostered xenophobia. It promoted contempt for government and the subversion of law and order.

As stated at the time by Sir Basil Blackett, controller of finance of the British Treasury, “Each class in Germany thinks that the burden of taxation should fall on some other class.” (Does any of this sound familiar?)

If Greece in 2015 mirrors Germany in 1922, then we might expect Greece in 2016 to come to resemble Germany in 1923.

But how about the rest of us? We’re not in the state that Greece is in – at least not yet. But the EU as a whole, and the U.S., Canada, and many other “First World” countries, are following the same destructive economic path. (They just aren’t quite as far along as Weimar Germany, 1923.)

So, we might be interested to know what came next in Germany.

  • Demands increased by the public for a mandatory redistribution of wealth.

This has become a common cry, particularly in the U.S., where a presidential election will take place in a year and some candidates are fanning the flames on this issue.

  • Movement of currency had to notified, then authorised.

Currency controls are being implemented, one after the other, to limit the people’s ability to move their own money. Most threatening is a plan to eliminate cash, so that money cannot be transferred without the permission of the banks.

  • Importation was regulated.

Politicians in the EU and U.S. are speaking increasingly of the need for protective tariffs.

Political leaders have, for decades been squeezing the economy for all they can get and, as they’ve reached the point of diminishing returns, they’ve done what politicians always do, increase debt in order to prolong and increase their intake of wealth.

This can be likened to a farmer who, wanting more milk than a cow can produce, milks it dry, then, refusing to admit his folly, starts draining the cow of its blood. He may say to both himself and others that the increasing need may be satisfied by increasing the removal of blood and, on a temporary basis, this will allow him to continue making use of the cow. However, once he has done so, it is a certainty that, at some point very soon, the cow will collapse.

This was the case in Germany in 1923…and is the case in much of the world now.

 

References:

http://www.internationalman.com/articles/weimar-greece-the-effects-of-a-currency-collapse

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Macron cuts ski holiday short, vowing crack down on Yellow Vests (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 109.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the 18th consecutive week of Yellow Vests protests in Paris. Following last weeks lower participation, Saturday’s Yellow Vests in Paris gathered larger crowds, with various outbreaks of violence and rioting that has been blamed on extreme elements, who French authorities claim have infiltrated the movement.

“Act XVIII” of the protests has shown that the Yellow Vests have not given up. France’s Champs-Élysées boulevard was where most of the violence occurred, with the street being left in a pile of broken glass and flames.

One day after Paris was set ablaze, French President Emmanuel Macron cut his ski holiday short, returning to Paris and vowing to take “strong decisions” to prevent more violence.

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Via Zerohedge


Paris awoke on Sunday to smouldering fires, broken windows and looted stores following the 18th consecutive Saturday of Yellow Vest protests.

Around 200 people were arrested according to BFM TV, while about 80 shops near the iconic Champs Elysees had been damaged and/or looted according to AFP, citing Champs Elysees committee president Jean-Noel Reinhardt.

The 373-year-old Saint Sulpice Roman Catholic church was set on fire while people were inside, however nobody was injured. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

The riots were so severe that French President Emmanuel Macron cut short a vacation at the La Mongie ski resort in the Hautes-Pyrénées following a three-day tour of East Africa which took him to Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Macron skied on Friday, telling La Depeche du Midi “I’m going to spend two-three days here to relax, to find landscapes and friendly faces,” adding “I’m happy to see the Pyrenees like that, radiant, although I know it was more difficult at Christmas” referring to the lack of snow in December.

In response to Saturday’s violence, Macron said over Twitter that “strong decisions” were coming to prevent more violence.

Macron said some individuals — dubbed “black blocs” by French police forces — were taking advantage of the protests by the Yellow Vest grassroots movement to “damage the Republic, to break, to destroy.” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Twitter that those who excused or encouraged such violence were complicit in it. –Bloomberg

The French President has family ties in the Hautes-Pyrénées, including Bagnères de Bigorre where his grandmother lived. He is a regular visitor to the region.

Emmanuel Macron (2ndL), head of the political movement In Marche! (Onwards!) And candidate for the 2017 presidential election, and his wife Brigitte Trogneux (L) have lunch April 12, 2017 (Reuters)

 

 

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Vesti calls out Pompeo on lying about Russia invading Ukraine [Video]

Secretary Pompeo displayed either stunning ignorance or a mass-attack of propaganda about what must be the most invisible war in history.

Seraphim Hanisch

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After the 2014 Maidan revolution and the subsequent secessions of Lugansk and Donetsk in Ukraine, and after the rejoining of Crimea with its original nation of Russia, the Western media went on a campaign to prove the Russia is (/ was / was about to / had already / might / was thinking about / was planning to … etc.) invade Ukraine. For the next year or so, about every two weeks, internet news sources like Yahoo! News showed viewers pictures of tanks, box trucks and convoys to “prove” that the invasion was underway (or any of the other statuses confirming the possibilities above stated.) This information was doubtless provided to US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.

Apparently, Secretary Pompeo believed this ruse, or is being paid to believe this ruse because in a speech recently, he talked about it as fact:

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine an attempt to gain access to Ukraine’s oil and gas reserves.

He stated this at IHS Markit’s CERAWeek conference in Houston, the USA, Reuters reports.

Pompeo urged the oil industry to work with the Trump administration to promote U.S. foreign policy interests, especially in Asia and in Europe, and to punish what he called “bad actors” on the world stage.

The United States has imposed harsh sanctions in the past several months on two major world oil producers, Venezuela and Iran.

Pompeo said the U.S. oil-and-gas export boom had given the United States the ability to meet energy demand once satisfied by its geopolitical rivals.

“We don’t want our European allies hooked on Russian gas through the Nord Stream 2 project, any more than we ourselves want to be dependent on Venezuelan oil supplies,” Pompeo said, referring to a natural gas pipeline expansion from Russia to Central Europe.

Pompeo called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine an attempt to gain access to the country’s oil and gas reserves.

Although the state-run news agency Vesti News often comes under criticism for rather reckless, or at least, extremely sarcastic propaganda at times, here they rightly nailed Mr. Pompeo’s lies to the wall and billboarded it on their program:

The news anchors even made a wisecrack about one of the political figures, Konstantin Zatulin saying as a joke that Russia plans to invade the United States to get its oil. They further noted that Secretary Pompeo is uneducated about the region and situation, but they offered him the chance to come to Russia and learn the correct information about what is going on.

To wit, Russia has not invaded Ukraine at all. There is no evidence to support such a claim, while there IS evidence to show that the West is actively interfering with Russia through the use of Ukraine as a proxyWhile this runs counter to the American narrative, it is simply the truth. Ukraine appears to be the victim of its own ambitions at this point, for while the US tantalizes the leadership of the country and even interferes with the Orthodox Church in the region, the country lurches towards a presidential election with three very poor candidates, most notably the one who is president there now, Petro Poroshenko.

However, the oil and gas side of the anti-Russian propaganda operation by the US is significant. The US wishes for Europe to buy gas from American suppliers, even though this is woefully inconvenient and expensive when Russia is literally at Europe’s doorstep with easy supplies. However, the Cold War Party in the United States, which still has a significant hold on US policy making categorizes the sale of Russia gas to powers like NATO ally Germany as a “threat” to European security.

It is interesting that Angela Merkel herself does not hold this line of thinking. It is also interesting and worthy of note, that this is not the only NATO member that is dealing more and more with Russia in terms of business. It underscores the loss of purpose that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization suffers now since there is no Soviet Union to fight.

However, the US remains undaunted. If there is no enemy to fight, the Americans feel that they must create one, and Russia has been the main scapegoat for American power ambitions. More than ever now, this tactic appears to be the one in use for determining the US stance towards other powers in the world.

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Ariel Cohen explains Washington’s latest foreign policy strategy [Video]

Excellent interview Ariel Cohen and Vladimir Solovyov reveals the forces at work in and behind American foreign policy.

Seraphim Hanisch

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While the American people and press are pretty much complicit in reassuring the masses that America is the only “right” superpower on earth, and that Russia and China represent “enemy threats” for doing nothing more than existing and being successfully competitive in world markets, Russia Channel One got a stunner of a video interview with Ariel Cohen.

Who is Ariel Cohen? Wikipedia offers this information about him:

Ariel Cohen (born April 3, 1959 in Crimea in YaltaUSSR) is a political scientist focusing on political risk, international security and energy policy, and the rule of law.[1] Cohen currently serves as the Director of The Center for Energy, Natural Resources and Geopolitics (CENRG) at the Institute for Analysis of Global Security (IAGS). CENRG focuses on the nexus between energy, geopolitics and security, and natural resources and growth. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, within the Global Energy Center and the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center.[2] Until July 2014, Dr. Cohen was a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. He specializes in Russia/Eurasia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

Cohen has testified before committees of the U.S. Congress, including the Senate and House Foreign Relations Committees, the House Armed Services Committee, the House Judiciary Committee and the Helsinki Commission.[4] He also served as a Policy Adviser with the National Institute for Public Policy’s Center for Deterrence Analysis.[5] In addition, Cohen has consulted for USAID, the World Bank and the Pentagon.[6][7]

Cohen is a frequent writer and commentator in the American and international media. He has appeared on CNN, NBC, CBS, FOX, C-SPAN, BBC-TV and Al Jazeera English, as well as Russian and Ukrainian national TV networks. He was a commentator on a Voice of America weekly radio and TV show for eight years. Currently, he is a Contributing Editor to the National Interest and a blogger for Voice of America. He has written guest columns for the New York TimesInternational Herald TribuneChristian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, EurasiaNet, Valdai Discussion Club,[8] and National Review Online. In Europe, Cohen’s analyses have appeared in Kommersant, Izvestiya, Hurriyet, the popular Russian website Ezhenedelny Zhurnal, and many others.[9][10]

Mr. Cohen came on Russian TV for a lengthy interview running about 17 minutes. This interview, shown in full below, is extremely instructive in illustrating the nature of the American foreign policy directives such as they are at this time.

We have seen evidence of this in recent statements by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo regarding Russia’s “invasion” of Ukraine, and an honestly unabashed bit of fear mongering about China’s company Huawei and its forthcoming 5G networks, which we will investigate in more detail in another piece. Both bits of rhetoric reflect a re-polished narrative that, paraphrased, says to the other world powers,

Either you do as we tell you, or you are our enemy. You are not even permitted to out-compete with us in business, let alone foreign relations. The world is ours and if you try to step out of place, you will be dealt with as an enemy power.

This is probably justified paranoia, because it is losing its place. Where the United Stated used to stand for opposition against tyranny in the world, it now acts as the tyrant, and even as a bully. Russia and China’s reaction might be seen as ignoring the bully and his bluster and just going about doing their own thing. It isn’t a fight, but it is treating the bully with contempt, as bullies indeed deserve.

Ariel Cohen rightly points out that there is a great deal of political inertia in the matter of allowing Russia and China to just do their own thing. The US appears to be acting paranoid about losing its place. His explanations appear very sound and very reasonable and factual. Far from some of the snark Vesti is often infamous for, this interview is so clear it is tragic that most Americans will never see it.

The tragedy for the US leadership that buys this strategy is that they appear to be blinded so much by their own passion that they cannot break free of it to save themselves.

This is not the first time that such events have happened to an empire. It happened in Rome; it happened for England; and it happened for the shorter-lived empires of Nazi Germany and ISIS. It happens every time that someone in power becomes afraid to lose it, and when the forces that propelled that rise to power no longer are present. The US is a superpower without a reason to be a superpower.

That can be very dangerous.

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