Howard Hollem Lone Star August 1942 “Women from all fields have joined the production army. Miss Grace Weaver, a civil service worker at the Naval Air Base, Corpus Christi, Texas, and a schoolteacher before the war, is doing her part for victory along with her brother, who is a flying instructor in the Army. Miss Weaver paints the American insignia on repaired Navy plane wings”
Ilargi: 39 airports, 850 ports, railways, motorways, sewage works, a couple of energy companies, banks, defence groups, thousands of acres of land for development, casinos and Greece’s national lottery. All these things are for sale in Greece. As part of the IMF/ECB/EU bailout deal Athens voted in this week, this wholesale firesale of what amounts to something close to an entire public economy, is supposed to bring in €50 billion ($72 billion). And what will Greece be left with afterwards? They’d better come up with something good, because estimates are that the firesale will fall short by some 75%. Kerin Hope, Ralph Atkins and Gill Plimmer in the Financial Times:
The austerity measures call for an independent privatisation agency to be established within weeks to handle a programme of disposals, including the sale of strategic stakes in state- owned utilities and leases in state-owned property for tourist development. Independent research suggests, however, that Greece will struggle to raise much more than a quarter of the €50 billion it needs from the assets sales and privatisations unless it adds more prime land and cultural heritage to its sales list. Only €13bn of assets are ready to sell, leaving a €37bn shortfall, says a study by the Privatisation Barometer, a Milan-based institute sponsored by Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei and KPMG. This includes €6.6bn from offloading stakes in 15 listed groups and an “optimistic” €7bn from the sale of 70 unlisted groups, where the yields are more difficult to assess. “At this stage, no one really knows what Greece Inc is worth, but it’s clear that it will fall short,” said Bernardo Bortolotti, a corporate finance professor at the University of Turin who produced the analysis.
Ilargi: Greece Inc. Put up for sale by a bunch of foreign governments and creditors and a government made up of domestic elites. Something here stinks. Did the IMF, ECB and EU really have no idea at all that the firesale sale profits would be far short of €50 billion? And if they did, which looks far more likely, what does that tell us? And what happens after that disppointing sale? First, back to the reasons behind the expected firesale shortfall. Rupert Neate for the Guardian:
Nikos Stathopoulous, managing partner of BC Partners, which has invested more than €3.5bn in Greece, said investors are put off by bureaucracy, strong unions, corruption and a lack of transparency. “Even in the good times Greece is not a country that attracts investment. Foreign investors don’t want to invest in a country where there is no flexibility in hiring and firing people,” he said. “You don’t want to invest in a country in which you wake up and a new law has been passed which totally undermines and destroys the value of the investment you’ve just made.”
Stathopoulous said investors were finding it very hard to assess the risk of investing into Greece, which means assets “will be priced at lower than they are worth, lower than the Greek government, and even the European Union, expects”. Aref Lahham, managing director and founding partner of Orion Capital Managers, said most private equity firms would not buy Greek assets because the “risks are too high”. He added: “I think people will not buy those assets, that is the sad truth.” [..]
Lahham said Greece’s ambition to sell €15bn of assets by 2012 and the full €50bn by 2015 meant there was not enough time to carry out due diligence properly. “I simply do not believe the timescale. I’m afraid it is not going to happen within times – I’m afraid it is a fire sale.”
Christodoulakis denied that the hastily arranged sell-off was a fire sale, preferring to describe it as a “professionally managed privatisation plan”. “We may sell them cheaper than [during normal conditions] but we will devote the funds to buying back debt, that means we are going to buy it back when it is cheaper.” When a fellow Greek interrupted to say the sell-off was “destroying our country”, Christodoulakis said there was “no point crying over spilt milk” and told his countryman to “try and be optimistic”.
Ilargi: Well, we stand corrected. It’s not a fire sale, but a “professionally managed privatisation plan”. Yeah, exactly. That’s what stinks here. isn’t it? That’s where that familiar smell comes from. It has the fingerprints of the IMF all over it. All the way back to the economic warfare the institution initiated in South America, Asia, Eastern Europe, and everywhere it goes.
Greece has become the next chapter in Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine. Some of the faces at the IMF may have changed, but the blueprints for these kinds of operations are still the same; if anything, they’ve become even more perfected. Teams of economic hitmen and henchmen are sent into a country to sell everything that isn’t nailed down to the highest bidder, but for the lowest price.
In order to achieve the last bit, all you need to do is write an agreement that is one on one contingent on an unrealistically high estimate of a group of assets, make sure their sale falls short of that estimate, and send in the hitmen again. And then you rinse and repeat until everything has been sold off. In Greece’s case, it’s all transport infrastructure first, because you know nobody really wants it, hence the sale price will be much lower than what the agreement called for, and in subsequent auctions you pick up the Acropolis and other national treasures.
Meanwhile, you raise taxes as much as you can, and then come back to do it again, while the public sector is gutted, along with health care, education and all those useless non-profitable parts of a society that benefit the people instead of the banks. Talking about banks, do we all still realize that all this is done to pay off debts to international banks that in many if not most cases would not even exist anymore if not for the tax revenues paid by the people of Greece, the rest of Europe, the US etc.? Or have we come to believe in “the recovery”, do we now think it’s real?
The reason the stock markets are up after the Greek austerity vote is that the IMF has managed yet another step in yet another step financial coup, and this one inside the European Union, no less. That offers great prospects for other weaker parts of Europe. If they can do it in Greece, they can do it in Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy. Unless people in one of these countries say NO, and a lot louder than the Greeks have done.
These things are set-ups. They have nothing to do with saving countries or their economies. They are plans to do the exact opposite: rape and pillage entire economies for the benefit of financial institutions. Read The Shock Doctrine, if you haven’t yet, or re-read it if you have, and the patterns become grindingly clear.
The Lex team at the Financial Times may have put it best: Greece is -being- required to “carry out the impossible in order to stave off the inevitable”. And it’s required to do that on purpose. Thing is, Greece is by no means the first country where the Milton Friedman Chicago School’s predatory “economic theories” wreak havoc and spill untold amounts of blood in the streets. It is the first in Europe, though. They’re getting ever closer to what has always been the ultimate goal: remake America in the vein of their cannibalistic insanity.