Thursday, July 2, 2015

Why the Greek People May Vote to Stay in the Euro

So after it has inflicted so much damage on the Greek economy, why might the Greek people vote to stay in the Euro. 

This is from the comments on this Marginal Revolution blog post by Peter Schaeffer.

There are, in fact, any number of pro-Euro factions many of which are anti-austerity. Some folks (a large faction) favor the Euro because they want their pensions, paychecks, and other handouts in Euros, not Drachmas. These folks are very opposed to austerity, but even more opposed to receiving Drachmas from the government. These folks hate the Troika, love Syriza, but will vote yes anyway.Another faction is comprised of Greeks with bank accounts. A no vote means either banks accounts will be confiscated or converted into Drachmas. These folks may or may not like Syriza or austerity, but at this point fear is the only issue on the table.Yet another faction is made up of basically conservative folks like the restaurant owner. These folks see the Euro as a tool for forcing the Greek government to reform. I don’t think they are in correct in this matter. However, it is their opinion, not the correctness of their opinion, that matters.Still another faction (center / left) sees the Euro as a symbol of Northern European efficiency, a large and well funded welfare state, effective and progressive taxes, modernity, the “tolerance” agenda, etc. Of course, they also see the Euro as means of bringing Greece up to the standard of Denmark of the Netherlands. I don’t think they are in correct in this matter. However, it is their opinion, not the correctness of their opinion, that matters.As you can see, lots of groups support the Euro for reasons that are highly divergent and in some cases contradictory. Some of these folks strongly oppose austerity. Others overtly favor austerity. They will all vote yes anyways.Finally, let me offer a quote from a Greek citizen that sums up the situation all too well.“The EU can’t afford to let us fail so we should continue to say no and they will blink and give us a better deal.”This person intends to vote no. However, plenty of folks will vote yes precisely because they think that yes means more goodies from Europe. In one respect, the advocates of yes are probably very correct. A yes vote will probably be followed by a reopening of Greece’s banks. That’s one last chance to “take the money and run”.
One other factor might be that in a country like Greece where people are more likely to ignore laws, the real rate of unemployment might be way below the reported 25%.

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