I was rather amused on August 18 when Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz commented on the situation in Greece, “Bad economic ideas inflict untold human suffering. When they come cloaked in a fog of Orwellian obfuscation their poison and effect can spread with little hindrance. The public is misled. Power plays are hidden from view.” Stiglitz blames banks in Germany and France and the private sector creditors for being the direct beneficiaries of Greece’s misery. What Stiglitz failed to realize is that bad economic ideas rest on the shoulder of a nation itself. The economic will of a nation can not be obfuscated unless a weakness is present in the political will.
If there is indeed an economic poison it must rest squarely on a leader’s inability to look into a nation’s economic future. Yes, Stiglitz is right that Germany did receive a major benefit of debt write-off; however he failed to realize that Germany became a strategic country and a buffer against communism. Whether Stiglitz wants to admit it or not Darwin always brings us back to our primal instinct of survival in the world of economics. There is always a bigger and more impressing foe that will illicit their ideology or dominance when push comes to shove.
Economic and political abstraction does not lend clarity to a situation in bringing a nation onto its knees. It was Alexis Tsipras that brought his own nation to its knees and begged for a memorandum “at any cost” in order to be part of the European project. He was so consumed with a bailout that he failed to give Greece the strategic economic importance as a gateway to Europe. If a leader allows his nation to be dominated by Germany and France it is because the young Mr. Tsipras allowed it.
If Stiglitz feels that Germany and France have snuffed out the hopes of the Greek young and delivered humiliation and suffering then history will rightfully document it. History will also document Tsipras’ rise to power without hope or optimism in building up the Greek nation. He developed no national economic thinking to make Greece the most important hub in the European community. Tsipras lacked confidence in himself which eventually translated to what Greece believed.
If Tsipras can not bear difficult economic choices then why should he show sincerity that he wants to change Greece for the better within the Eurozone? Tsipras was incapable of understanding Greece’s problems with creditors and making the necessary changes to strengthen the vision within his country. The salvation for his country was to provide stability, rid corruption, and establish Greece as a European port for prosperity. He threw the dice too many times without establishing anything. How can I prove this?
In Toronto in 1996 hockey retailers were faced with an onslaught of American megastores reaching Canadian soil. As the CEO of a hockey equipment store, my competitors and I were worried for our future. Sports Authority and Sport Mart invaded Toronto at a time when small mom-and-pop retailers commanded about 60% of the market. The first article I published in sports was Swarm, Absorb, Take Their Identity. The stories set the tone to go to war and having the will to never give up. The second story Independents Unite to Fight the United stated that it was a form of socialism to get retailers together and fight to win. The third was victory; it was called Sleeping Together With One Eye Open. After we won disaster struck. in 2015 there are now only 4 or 5 independent hockey stores left in Toronto. Charles Darwin brought us back but we started to eat each other. The mom-and-pop hockey retailers failed to realize that waiting on the horizon was a bigger Canadian hockey store in Quebec that learned from the mistakes of the American megastores. Even though we won against a $3 billion US industry it was a hollow victory nonetheless.
What Alexis Tsipras can not comprehend is that there are choices and economic strategies that can benefit a nation’s national will much better than the weakness that he provided Greece with. Within his party he is facing rebellion and had no choice but to call an election. However it is constantly the same old story of eating each other up. For Stiglitz maybe he should start using his theories in a real economic arena like I have. My colleague Michael said it best, “There was always a missing link in economics. Perhaps you can see the true economic world the apes have created.”