Live From Athens: "You've Got To Pick A Pocket Or Two"

Tyler Durden's picture

By Mark Grant, author of Out of the Box

“Oliver” returns to the stage in Athens

“It's him that pays the piper.
It's us that pipes his tune
So long, fare thee well
Pip! Pip! Cheerio!
We'll be back soon.”
                                       -Oliver, Be Back Soon

The focus has shifted. The all seeing orb is now focused on Spain but it may well turn back to Greece soon. The loan money is exhausted again and the Greeks have elections lined up on Sunday, May 6 which is coincidentally the same day of the French run-off elections. To answer the question of at what point Greece might leave the Eurozone and return to the Drachma is relatively simple; it will be the day when the European loan spigot is shut off. Greece will pander, promise and proclaim until that point and then they will say, “have a nice day and thanks for all the fish.”
The Greek banks announced total losses of $37.22 billion on Friday. The Hellenic Financial Stability Fund had been loaned $33 billion by Europe and so that money is now all gone and additional debt of $4 billion have been taken on at the ECB as the scheme to protect the German and French banks and now the balance sheet of the ECB continues. Some of the conditions for all of this are earmarked in a leaked report from the European Commission. These include a 15% cut in private sector wages and a Germanic imposition of a collective bargaining scheme along with a mandated privatization of all Greek power utilities.
Last Friday, Poul Thomsen, the head of the IMF’s Troika team stated that Greece would not meet its targets once again and that he was not sure if Greece would fulfill any of the conditions that had been proscribed by the IMF. Later on the same day the head of Pasok and the former Finance Minister did a TV interview in Athens where he stated that Greece had not emerged from the crisis and that it could still exit the Euro and return to the Drachma. Then in a rejection of everything the Troika had demanded so that Greece could receive additional funds he said that Greece would not accept any new taxes nor will they cut salaries or wages from the present levels. So there you have it; they got the money and now “ta-ta and bye-bye and a little more Ouzo if you please.”
So after the Greek elections what are we likely to find; a new play brought to you live on the Athens’ stage. A Greece that has returned to its own currency and most likely not in the Eurozone at all unless more money is given. The recently issued new Greek debt; worthless or close to it. The old debt now held at the IMF, the ECB and the EIB; worthless or close to it. A wonderful show and a whole host of characters and a play that we will never forget.

Why should we break our backs
Stupidly paying tax?
Better get some untaxed income
Better to pick-a-pocket or two.
                                                                        -Fagin, Oliver

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GeneMarchbanks's picture

A Greece that has returned to its own currency and most likely not in the Eurozone at all unless more money is given. The recently issued new Greek debt; worthless or close to it. The old debt now held at the IMF, the ECB and the EIB; worthless or close to it. A wonderful show and a whole host of characters and a play that we will never forget.

More 'money' will be given. Please re-name your newletter there is nothing 'unorthodox' about the now daily nonsense that you expel.

financial apocalyptic contagion's picture

+1 dude

What a waste of a click this article was

cat2's picture

This article speaks the plain truth.  Greece is the smartest guy in the room.  They are playing the game like masters and will walk away having picked a few pockets.  They aren't the most ethical, however, so there will be bad blood with their neighbors who's pockets have been picked.

GeneMarchbanks's picture

Yes, if you want a simplistic, Hollywood good guy vs bad guy kindergarten narrative Mark is your man for 'truth'. Please enjoy the read while playing paddle ball and/or picking your nose.

LowProfile's picture

It's not "good guy vs. bad guy" it's "con man vs. sucker".

Element's picture

The real pocket-picking is when a country gives something physical, like commodities but the 'trades' are settled or rather 'paid for', via Fiat-paper promises.

Countries are raping their resources in order to give it away for accumulating paper promises, to 'balance' a mere spreadsheet 'entity'.

That growing promise is the greatest con ever!

The systemic 'trade imbalances' are just the accumulating evidence of a giant ponzi that until recently called itself 'globalism'.

Why would a country, Govt, or economic 'expert' be so egregiously stupid as to call or to pretend that this is a process of, "Global Free-Trade"?

Yup, when it's trading real stuff for mere paper promises ... then that is a free-trade!

And these econo-misseds pretend they're quantifying an actual "balance of trade", via measuring how big the ponzi is this quarter!

Such paper-promise notes are just a way of saying, "I'll give you something that's real ... you know, later ... much, much later".

Using a very much DEBASED paper version of 'later' and of 'real' ... and that's if your most honourable and valued 'trading partner' decides they can afford to give you anything at all, at that time.

Yeah ... that's how far we are from understanding even the most basic realities of what a real global trading system is, and what it isn't, and never will be. 

And I hope you weren't planning on having a 'retirement' before you die ... these have been abolished ... just like your wages and conditions really ... it's a pretty good system alrighty ... just not for workers ... or producers.

The globalist 'Free Trade' system is really the purest expression of global parasitism, enabled via Govt's doing everything they possibly could to bring about a total global financialism framework.

And just as the Global banks stupidly created and also bought their own toxic paper, prior to 2008, now 'countries', or rather the central banksters and TBTF owners of the central bankster, who collectively created all the global ponzi paper-promise 'market', are now trading paper promises back and forth to prop-up failing paper promises ... and thinking, or at least telling us that all is well ... as they hit the 'print' (de-base) button, harder and harder, every quarter.


What could possibly go wrong?

IBelieveInMagic's picture

Might is right! The Arabs have been allowed to live in relative peace (if you can call it peace) as long as they keep the oil flowing in exchange for paper from the OECD. Everthing else is smoke and mirrors.

Peter Pan's picture

Very little money was given to Greece itself and we all know that. In any case, fixing Greece (if that is at all posible) does not overcome all the other  inequalities, imbalances and imminent failures that abound in Europe.

Maybe Europe might set the cat amongst the pigeons and adopt the drachma herself. LOL.

Short Memories's picture

Hopefully their elections will be the beginning of the end for their debt slavery!


Wakanda's picture

If it should chance to be
We should see
Some harder days
Empty larder days
Why grouse?
Always a-chance we'll meet
To foot the bill
Then the drinks are on the house!

Artful Dodger

francis_sawyer's picture

Ooom-pa-pa Ooom-pa-pa that's how it goes...

Ooom-pa-pa Ooom-pa-pa everyone knows...


Might have been more appropriate...

WAMO556's picture

Some old school thoughts on this - if thy neighbors are become aware that the pocket picking was done intentionally, then we can really see some fireworks. Forget Iran, Syria or Korea. Wonder how many PANZERS will fit in the square in front of Athens parlaiment???  Just saying!

Paul Atreides's picture

There's a frood who really knows where his towel is.

DavidC's picture

How could Greece meet any targets when it borrowed 130 billion Euros to pay off 100 billion Euros?


Diogenes's picture

How could Greece meet any targets when it borrowed 130 billion Euros to pay off 100 billion Euros?

Easy, they will just borrow 170 billion Euros to pay back the 130 billion Euros.

Nussi34's picture

Hopefully the tsunami risk that was identified lately for Greece will realize soon! This country is such a waste of earth surface!

Calmyourself's picture

Not until the mouse says.. 42

Nukular Freedum's picture

Im reviewing the situation.

Bicycle Repairman's picture

Greece will not adopt austerity in any meaningful way.  The western media will insist they have.  The Euro money will keep flowing into Greece.  The Potemkin village walls stay up.

Atomizer's picture

Excellent choice in Headline. For those who don’t know the reference.


Oliver! - You've Got To Pick A Pocket Or two

Rynak's picture

To answer the question of at what point Greece might leave the Eurozone and return to the Drachma is relatively simple; it will be the day when the European loan spigot is shut off. Greece will pander, promise and proclaim until that point and then they will say, “have a nice day and thanks for all the fish.”

It would help to reduce confusion, if a frontpage article NOT authored by the tylers, is someway marked as such on the frontpage. At first when i read the above as part of the SUMMARY on the FRONTPAGE, i was like "Huh? A few weeks ago, they showed that most of the "bailout" money is going to banks, rather than greece - and now they make an U-turn and act as if they still believe the official propaganda?".

Only after i opened the article, i got informed that the above disinformation was actually written by someone else than the tylers. But then again, why do the tylers make stuff which they previously showed to be untrue, the summary punchline of the article, on the frontpage?

navy62802's picture

Focus on the overall. The minutiae distract from the overall problem, which is that the European collapse we were all worried about last year is now in progress, following a winter intermission.

Ted Baker's picture


covert's picture

theft is illegal because all govts hate competition.


Bag Of Meat's picture

time to kick the trolls out of zero hedge area

SwingForce's picture

Except for 1 minor detail- Greece didn't get the money. The Banksterz did. I can be pretty sure they have no intention of paying back anything they didn't receive, to go one step further. Their attitude is probably let the Politicianz & Banksterz pay each other, and as long as they want to play these silly games, let them.

jack stephan's picture

Raul Hernandez: For those of you just joining us, today we're teaching poodles how to fly.
[claps his hands]
Raul Hernandez: Come here... come here, Foofy. Ah, Foofy. Are you psyched? Are you ready? Okay... Here we go. Get ready. And... FLY!
[tosses poodle out of the apartment window. Poodle barks all the way down and hits with a loud thump]
Raul Hernandez: Oh, man... You know, sometimes it takes them a little longer to learn how to do it right. Okay, come on. Come on. Cheer up. Cheer up. Eh, eh, eh. Who's next? Ah, Gigi!
[tosses black poodle out of the window which barks all the way down and hits with another loud thud]

from a greek island's picture

I wish we could return to drachma but it is one thing to have your currency pegged like Argentina and then break the peg and quite another to leave a currency. Greece leaving the euro would cause a hyperinflation like the one experienced by Germany during the 30's. No politician can take Greece out of the euro, as the article implies, without risking his head. We should not have joined but we cannot leave without bringing a humanitarian disaster upon ourselves. And yes, we shall not meet the targets. How can we repay our unsustainable debt by taking even more debt on the condition that we shrink our economy? Almost all the new debt we took was meant to repay foreign bankers. A few months before the restructuring, the government forced all hospitals and universities to put all their money into Greek Government Bonds. Same with pension funds. Then they used that money to repay in full the foreign law bondholders. All that money has now received a big haircut. As a result hospitals are in danger of closing down because their liquidity was "apropriated" by the lender imposed government and universities have big difficulties to continue functioning. We have been sucked dry and the author of this article is calling us pick pockets.

Greeks we are the new Jews.


theTribster's picture

To think what happened to the Greeks is the peoples fault is completely crazy, they were screwed plain and simple and they are still getting screwed, until they leave the Euro they have no soveriegnty. It is hard to imagine that the decisions of bankers and eurocrats in Brussels will EVER be a good thing for the Greeks or the Spanairds or the Italians or anybody other than the Germans, the banksters and the eurocrats.

Greece is a proxy for what is coming to the other countries in the Euro, it won't be as overt but in the end the result will be the same. Its hard to see a way out of this without causing a lot of pain, but I believe that Greece will be better off in control of their own destiny rather than the eurocrats and banksters in Brussels. It seems so obvious from an American vantage point, how could that be good? It is the only way the Euro can work however, they all must be bound by the same policies without variation.

Cameron asked the Union for exceptions so that London could continue to, you know, steal money being the financial hub of the world and all - they basically told him to fuck-off. I still think Spain is the key, as Spain goes so goes the Eurozone and currency. I think that Spain will try and leverage the most they can from the ECB/IMF/etc by threatening to leave, in the end the bluff will be called and at that point nationalism kicks in and Spain leaves. Italy is right behind them as well as Greece and Portugal. Then it becomes a free-for-all as emotions escalate because of the resultant turmoil caused by the breakdown.

It could get as ugly as ever, I don't think so but regardless things will get considerably worse than they are now so who knows how people will react.

Bookdoc's picture

As I see it, the Greeks are at fault, not the victims. Greece put up a system that spends way more than it takes in to establish a society where tax evasion, early well paid retirement, too many do-nothing government jobs, and way too much social spending broke it. It only ran this scheme until they couldn't borrow more to keep it going. Unfortunately, they are not the only ones-and I don't mean just the PIIGS.

Peter Pan's picture

It takes two to tango and when lenders accommodate nations, individuals and businesses without any due diligence, standards or real hard asset security, this is what happens. Add to that the crappy oversight of the EU and it isn't hard to understand why this nation went so badly.

The old saying goes, "nothing ventured nothing gained.". For countries that borrow without providing security, the new motto is "nothing ventured nothing lost."

Bottom line - bankers stuffed up badly at the toll booth.


logicalman's picture

One day, the people who actually produce wealth (real stuff) will receive the rewards for their efforts without parasites sucking the life out of them.


It's looking like the parasites are close to killing the host - at which point the parasite is in deep sh*t.