Guest Post: Greece Is A Kleptocracy

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

Greece Is A Kleptocracy

Strip away the bailouts and the bogus austerity plans, and the truth is revealed: Greece is a kleptocracy, and the banks and the ECB Eurocrats are both complicit.

Despite a veritable flood of financial and political analysis about Greece, nobody seems to have noticed the obvious: Greece is a kleptocracy. Just as a refresher, here is the definition of kleptocracy. Ask yourself is this doesn't fit Greece like a supple leather glove:

Kleptocracy, alternatively cleptocracy or kleptarchy, from the Ancient Greek for "thief" and "rule," is a term applied to a government subject to control fraud that takes advantage of governmental corruption to extend the personal wealth and political power of government officials and the ruling class (collectively, kleptocrats), via the embezzlement of state funds at the expense of the wider population, sometimes without even the pretense of honest service. The term means "rule by thieves".

Here is a quote from a first-person report (via Zero Hedge) titled The Ugly Truth:

What angers me and most hard working Greeks is that the common workers are bearing the brunt of the austerity measures while the rich get off scot free.

In Greece, if you want to strike it rich, become a specialist dealing with critical life and death decisions, tax collector or a high profile minister in the government. The scandalous stories that are coming out now of doctors, tax collectors, and ministers with millions of euros in their bank accounts and villas in Santorini and Mykonos are no surprise to regular hard-working Greeks.

This is a classic description of a kleptocracy: a financial and political Elite which skims and concentrates the wealth of the nation via corruption and embezzlement while being protected by the winking complicity of their fellow plunderers who hold civil and financial authority.

Here's the real dynamic in Greece: The Kleptocracy--broadly, the political and financial Elites of the nation--saw a stupendous opportunity to embezzle hundreds of billions of euros from greed-blinded European banks at super-low rates of interest.

Being kleptocrats, they sniffed out the basics of the bezzle right away, and have been playing it ever since: we're not paying any of these loans back, so go get the money from the European Central Bank (ECB) and the German taxpayers, or declare bankruptcy. Your choice.

The Greek kleptocrats knew all along that the German, Dutch, French and Finnish taxpayers were easy marks, just as they knew the European Union Power Elites would fall all over themselves to "save the euro" which was the centerpiece of their "one Europe" strategy of domination.

Only the Greek kleptocrats just beat them at their own game
. The entire game plan of the "one Europe" Elites depends on nation-states actually complying with non-enforceable codes of conduct and on European banks making prudent loans.

Neither condition held: Greece's Elites reckoned they could game the system and string along the Eurocrats, if not forever, then certainly long enough to engorge their Swiss accounts with euros skimmed from the banks, and they've played that hand to perfection.

Their performance is truly a thing of beauty, a masterful display of the Big Con. Yes, we will agree to austerity, but of course that is only for "the little people." Then, we'll renege on that, and demand another bailout. The Eurocrats will of course comply, lest their own plans for domination crumble along with the euro and the Eurozone edifice.

Meanwhile, the European banks were playing a similiar bezzle. They knew Greece had a history of defaulting on a regular basis, and any employee of the bank who lived in Greece could have briefed them on the kleptocracy's hold on that nation. But the banks knew they could play the Eurocrats and the ECB, too, as the Eurozone had what amounted to a "German Put": if any bad bank loans to Greece ever threatened the Eurozone, the German-led European Central Bank would make them whole.

Once again, the Eurocrats responded as expected, quickly massing hundreds of billions of euros to backstop the impaired loans to Greece and promising that bondholders would not suffer any losses.

The banks and the Greek kleptocracy are like the wife and the mistress of a prominent conservative socialite who absolutely needs to preserve a facade of conventional propriety. The kleptocrats, like the mistress, know they can blow down the entire charade, and so when they demand some baubles (bailouts) from their "Sugar Daddy" European Central Bank, the bank whimpers and complains but forks over the cash, lest the whole shaky facade collapses in a heap, along with the ECB's dominance.

The wife, meanwhile, also gets her demand met. Now that the European banks have leveraged themselves up to pre-implosion Lehman Brothers levels of 30-to-1, they need a bailout, too, and so they tell the ECB, don't even think about saying "no" because massive bank insolvency would also shatter the Euroland's thin veneer of permanence.

The euro system is already broken, but the ECB and its Eurocrats are desperate to maintain the facade. The game is untenable, however, because the Greek kleptocrats and the European banks have all the leverage and the ECB is the bleating mark trying to satisfy the dualing demands of its wife and mistress.

"But you promised." Ah yes, Dearie, but I changed my mind.

It is almost laughable to see the Eurocrats desperately trying to get another "austerity deal" approved, even as everyone involved knows it's as phony as passing off your mistress as your "private secretary." The austerity plan will not actually be put in place, none of the line-in-the-sand fiscal targets will be met, and the Greek kleptocrats will be smirking as the frantic ECB marks scrounge up another bailout and another face-saving "austerity program."

The wild card here is the oppressed Greek citizenry, who might just spoil the fun by overthrowing their corrupt Overlords. They could also spoil the game by simply refusing to play any more, as a General Strike of any length would quash the fantasy of rising taxes and all the rest of the absurd assumptions at the heart of the "austerity program."

If the Eurocrats and the ECB really want to save the euro, then they should help the Greek citizenry evict their kleptocratic Elites. But that would take genuine courage and insight, and alas, the Eurocrats, like all bureaucrats seeking to protect their fiefdom at any cost, don't really care about the oppressed Greeks. They just want to play for time, and hope that a miracle will occur. Even as their fat, sweaty fingers hold a jumble of worthless cards--not even a pair of deuces--they persist in a laughably transparent charade of holding four aces.

The game is over for the ECB, the Greek kleptocracy and the european banks
. All that needs to happen now is for the players to reveal their miserable cards and fold. The losses will be stupendous, but they will only get more horrendous the longer the game is allowed to go on.

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Landotfree's picture

"The game is over for the ECB"

Fixed it for you.

"The game is over for the whole system, just a matter of time"

There is no out for the Greeks, and eventually there will be no out for everyone else.

zaknick's picture

Purple haired, green dude Michael:

it's not just ur comments being deleted. ZH is not a real venue for discussion but click-bait with a catchy theme.

ZH is choking on bankster ......

lynnybee's picture

i read that comment last night by Michael, is this really true (deletion of comments) ?   I really like Michael, he's got guts & brains.    i have so little faith left in anything anymore, plz don't shake my faith in ZEROHEDGE, this website has really helped me understand & cope with the truth.   if "deletion" is true, i can't be here anymore.

ZerOhead's picture

Strange things going on lynnybee...

I have had a clone or two pop up over here, remember though... it's about 'the message'... not the messenger.

Oh... before I get 'dissappeared'... what was the deal with Michael's comments?

lynnybee's picture

Hi !    ...just saw this.    i do not remember what the topic at hand was, but, i do remember that Michael posted that his comments were being deleted & that is all i know.    Now, i really like Michael (actually, i really like everyone on ZEROHEDGE, they are the smartest people i've ever met) .   

& i just love this website, the education has been so important to someone like me who used to be dumb as they come.    i just can't believe that this website would engage in censorship or deletion.    .... sincerely

ZerOhead's picture

Gotcha kiddo! There is a difference between 'poor taste' (like mine) and inciting nasty things however. Michael may walk too fine a line at times.

I'm sure he'll be back. In some new form perhaps.

CH1's picture

Tyler is evidently quite patient.

If I had owned this playground, I would have booted him long ago.

i-dog's picture

I don't believe these occasional claims of "deleted posts". The kid either had a fat-finger moment, or his shrooms were off, or there was a server glitch.

Whenever I've seen a claim of a deleted post here, it's been made by a squealing dick or a newbie. I've only ever had 2 double posts here out of hundreds, and both times it was because I had hit 'save' twice. I've posted things that have had me worried about the black SUV arriving any minute for a 'chat' (seriously!), and I've seen the most hateful drivel directed at niggers, jooz, ragheads, chinks, and other assorted minorities, that haven't been deleted.

The claims of censorship are just attention seeking (or disinformation) ... unless this post gets deleted.......

Landotfree's picture

They delete comments and ban users.

LowProfile's picture

And yet, your post stands.

As does this post, where I call pus-bloated douchebag on you.

rufusbird's picture

Just don't say it is the Borg, or it will get deleted...

stewie's picture

Now why would they do that?  ZH againt opression, opressing.  

Tyler  I never adressed you personnaly, but here we go:  What do you have to say about that?



Michael's picture

I still see you around here from time to time LynnyB. Thanks for the compliment.

I did draw the picture of comments being deleted here at ZH yesterday. It is quite disturbing but don't fret and leave us just yet. This is still the most tolerant and influential blog on the Internet. For the most part members can have a good intellectual discussion on most any topic. Some people around here just can't stomach certain truths.

Alienated Serf's picture

its a technical error, if that. 

they leave up a lot more offensive stuff then you post up.

give tyler the benefit of the doubt for now.


lynnybee's picture true, Michael, so true.   the truth can be brutal.    the real truth of what is going on in this country is gut-wrenching, but, one does not dare speak the truth for fear of being ostricized or worse .... like junked !!!    i have a real fear of being junked, so i try to "keep it light, keep it nice."    sincerely.....

lincolnsteffens's picture

Michael may be smart but not smart enough to understand he has been fed on propaganda about race and religion. ZH is a great place to get timely news and opinion by people that analyze concepts. Michael gets on the Jews and Blacks with no analysis or one liners. He is probably hooked on "Pastor" Pete and reading some of the same books the Wahabists teach. His economic topics are relevant but he likes to stir up uncalled for hate. This is no different than Obama, Fallwell, Limbaugh, O'Reiley, Trumka, with their constant drone of their own self appointed superior rhetoric. Those guys are all smart butI rarely bother to listen them.

Michael's picture

So many mis-perceptions in your comment lincolnsteffens I'm not even going to waste my time picking it apart.

I'll just point out I have not used that J word in any of my posts for that past 4 months. Everyone already knows the score on that topic.

I'm a live and let live kind of guy and that's the way I'd like to be treated in return. I have no vested interests in monetary gain like those others you mentioned, I just want my country to function the lawful way it's supposed to.

Thank you all for your comments concerning the deletion of comments here. It's something we should be aware of.

Just so you know, there is nothing anyone can say here that would offend me.

A.W.E.S.O.M.-O 4000's picture

Just Greece or the whole fucking Western World?

ThisIsBob's picture

Well except for the bankers, who have already been paid generously for their assistance and who hopefully stashed some of it.

SheepDog-One's picture

Take Greece and multiply it 10,000X for USA.

Eally Ucked's picture

That's right, and he writes about Greece! He is afraid to say something about ole US?

MFL8240's picture

Right idea but its closer to x 1,000,000 for the USA sewer rats

Azannoth's picture

Those who don't accept social Darwinism the easy way, will be forced to accept Natural Darwinism the Hard way

JS1234's picture

What a great saying!  Did you make thet up yourself or get it from somewhere?

Azannoth's picture

Remember I have 200 IQ :)

ZerOhead's picture

Ancient Trojan Horse technology applied against the modern European Union. 

Simply Brilliant.

Pushed to the unsuspecting gates of Brussels by none other than Vampire Squidmaster Llyod Bank-fine of Goldman Sachs himself.

A stunning display of kleptocratic co-operation amongst peers for the ages.

Belgian Horse anyone?

falak pema's picture

only when Helen comes as a trimming...

ZerOhead's picture

Ahh... falak my good friend... developing a sense of humor I see! :)

falak pema's picture

wonders never seize, even in greece where they search for the golden fleece...of people's body ready to be served.

Pinky's picture

You got it - Brussels and the Squid used to be "frenemies." The facade fell apart maybe 2008ish, I'm guessing, but really the US grew tired of fighting Europe's battles a generation ago. Now that the gloves are off the EU/US (NATO) alliance is under enormous strain.

Euro replace the US dollar as reserve currency? Squid don't THINK so!  The EU is getting a taste of its own medicine, and a negotiated settlement between the "Crown" and "Kraut" factions is the only thing that will save our collective bacon.

I'm fairly certain the Greek PM knew the score, and I'm frankly surprised the "European Soviet" didn't see it coming from a mile away:

(Wikipedia) George Papandreou was born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States, where his father, Andreas Papandreou, held a university post. His mother is American-born Margaret Papandreou, née Chant. He was educated at schools in Toronto (King City Secondary School), at Amherst College in Massachusetts, Stockholm University, the London School of Economics and Harvard University.


SheepDog-One's picture

Oh now we get the lectures about how kleptocracy is bad...well it wasnt so bad when it was all humming along in its infancy and 401K's and pensions and stocks were growing exponentially with small monthly add ins! 

I dont feel sorry for communist fascist Greece and their people, just like I dont feel sorry for communist fascist US and their people. They all knew what was coming, but liked the free EZ money BS all these years now its unsustainable and broken and a lot of tough lessons have to be learned the hardest way. Stupid humans.

Americant Expat's picture

Sorry you can't lump everyone together like that, it doesn't work like that. Infants and youngins don't have the capacity to understand the system plus they're indoctrinated to misunderstand it, so it hardly seems fair to lump their suffering in with the rest. Yes, their parents might have known better but to have little empathy for the people who will ultimate catch the can that's been kicked to them by others is unfair. Communist this facist that doesn't mean it's in their DNA and born deserving of a good fucking over.

anony's picture

Exactly.  The vast majority likely fit into the category of innocents.

People who naively trust their government. Like many of the elderly too brain fried to have kept up with all the ways their government ====in complicity with Wall Street shmendricks=====have been able to screw them to the wall.

Hugh_Jorgan's picture

If you are willfully ignorant, you cannot rightfully call yourself a victim of anything. Everyone grows up and CAN learn the truth about what sounds "too good to be true"...

Things that go bump's picture

What is this willful ignorance?  Not everyone has the same sources of information available to them or the capacity to make use of what information is available.  Many can't even make the simplest extrapolation from information they do get.  If you see a small child with a dime and you offer to trade them a nickel for it, telling them that it is a bigger coin and so must be worth more, and the child makes that trade, is the child responsible for being conned or is it excused from responsibility by its ignorance?  Caveat emptor makes for lousy ethics.  One of the jobs that was entrusted to the government, a job that they actually did well at one time, was the protection of the public from such cons.  

Urban Redneck's picture

The government was also entrusted with education once, the result has been ignorance of the electorate (regardless of whether it is willful ignorance).  The electorate keeps empowering the very thieves who plunder the nation's wealth, and then they want a "do over"?  In order to vote you must be an adult and responsible for your actions.


RobotTrader's picture

OK, enough on Greece, its old news.

Time to jump in an buy some stocks.

A year from now, Greece will be totally forgotten, just like Tunesia, Egypt, etc.

And the sheep will be once again power-chugging Monster Energy, buying Fossil watches, eating $7 gourmet burritos, watching NASCAR and American Idol.

SheepDog-One's picture

I applaud Tyler for revoking your chart and picture posting he should go the next step and ban your 1 trick pony ass from posting at all.

luckylogger's picture

i always looked forward to robo's

MisterMousePotato's picture

A week or so ago, someone pointed out that all of Robo's posts are actually satire. So, why omit the </sarc> tag at the end of the post? Well, even Robo's most ardent critics have to admit that a lot of intelligent conversation routinely follows his posts, which, I believe, might not have been the case had it been obvious that he was simply being provocative. Viewed thus, his posts actually make a lot more sense. Inadvertently or otherwise, Robo has propelled the conversation forward, if only by the responses to his posts.

Corn1945's picture

Right. Everyone said that a year ago and here we are, dealing with the same mess that is getting worse.

SheepDog-One's picture

And people believe we can just go from daily $8 billion free cash injections to cold turkey, and everything just will humm along smoothly from here on out? Total delusion.

topcallingtroll's picture

My vde is up from 105.54
My spy is flat at 127.

So far it hasnt hurt to step out of cash earlier than i planned, but we may have already had the post qe2 correction.

We shall see.

I am with you robo on this one.

anony's picture


A succinct synopsis of the state of play.

Raymond Reason's picture

@robot trader:  Your gambling strategy is like that of the male black widow. 

kito's picture

funny how everyone junks robo, yet pms have not replaced fiat currency, the stock market is still hanging around 12,000. there is some truth to robo.

Raymond Reason's picture

Understood.  But my point is that the male black widow does well for himself for a while...

But ultimately, its a bad trade.   

NOTaREALmerican's picture

Re:  And the sheep will be once again power-chugging Monster Energy, buying Fossil watches, eating $7 gourmet burritos, watching NASCAR and American Idol.


The sociopaths win.   They are simply the human predators.   There's always gotta be predators and prey.    The trick to survival is to either be a predator or - if you're not smart enough - to at least be aware that the predators exist.