There’s been a coup in Greece and I have been anointed “Generalissimo”.
It was bloodless affair since the army was on strike and to busy hanging out on the beach with gorgeous Greek women.
Work, which mainly involves cleaning up our financial mess, will begin after a splendid lunch of souvlaki and grape leaves followed by some Zorba like dancing.
Before I make my first official, major policy decision, I’m going to make a phone call.
I’m not gonna tell many people, if any, about it. I’m calling some of the guys at the University of Chicago, put them on retainer, and have them on standby. Now, I’m poised to shake things up.
The Finns (seriously…the Finns?), thanks to their resurgent right wing government, are, get this, actually demanding collateral for their portion of the bailout.
I really do appreciate their help in the past, but that was then and this is now. My back and the backs of my fellow Greeks are against the wall. The continent’s favourite autocracies, Germany and France, are hem hawing and craw fishing on the Eurobond deal.. However, while they’re farting around, Greece is dying by a thousand paper cuts. It’s time to make the first tough phone call.
I dial the number and listen to the tell tale little European ring. Some one picks up. Terse and French.
“Nick, it’s the new Generalissimo. How’re you?”
“Ah, bon jour. Yes, I heard. A bloodless coup, no? Always for the best.”
“Of course. Look, I’ll be quick. Our rear end is in a sling. We owe everyone a buttload of money.”
“Yes. It is quite a lot.”
“Yeah, and, well, you know how we do business, all of the under the table deals and what not. Hard to tax that.”
“Yes. Yes. What is your point?”
“Yeah, well, at the rate things are going, we won’t be able to pay that back in…well…forever. So, it’s been fun, but I think, as does the rest of my country, that we’re ready to go back to the drachma.”
“We’re done. We’re out of the Euro. Hey! You were gonna kick us out any way. I figure we saved you the trouble.”
“Is this legal?”
“I guess so.There’s no real central authority. So who’s gonna enforce it? Some one in the Hague? Bring it on beotch!”
“You’re leaving the Euro?”
“Looks that way, huh?”
“But this will create chaos!”
“If you kick us out its chaos. If we pull out its chaos. If you write down some of the debt…”
“Yes, chaos.” “Correctomundo. I’m sorry about all of this. I know everyone really wanted this to work out. But, that’s how the baklava bounces. Oh, don’t tell Angie. I’m calling her next.”
Nick slams down the phone and the line goes dead. The conversation with Angie goes about as well, save for the unintelligible angry German rants. Thank God it was over the phone. I could just imagine all of the saliva.
The next day, we pick up the Chicago Boys at the Athens airport and come back to the office. We toast the memory of Milton Friedman with a little Sambucca and get to work restructuring everything: new currency, redenominated debt, monetary policy, everything. It’s just like Chile or Argentina but with bouzoukis instead of gauchos and castanets. We hit the reset button. All things Euro: gone. Adio’! Global financial markets go bananas not in a good way. Sorry about that. But we’re talking about the welfare of my people and as Generalissimo, it’s my duty to bring that.
What little foreign investment that was here in Greece has fled. It would have left eventually anyway. But now, thanks to a cheap currency and an exotic, Mediterranean locale, Greece is the number one vacation spot in Europe. Why go to the French Riviera and pay out the wazoo? Oh and the foreign investment that left? When you’re a rockin’ travel destination, a funny thing happens. People come from all over to build resorts and other ancillary infrastructure. They’ll need people to work. Wow! Throwing off the shackles of the Euro and putting the country back to work all in the first year? Can you say “Generalissimo for life”? Fiat currency. It’s a beautiful thing.