Friday, June 19, 2015

Two scenarios for Greece and its creditors

There are two scenarios:
  • creditors and Greece will reach an agreement
  • creditors and Greece will NOT reach an agreement.

What scenario do you prefer?

You may answer: "It depends..."

It depends on what?

You may say: "On what will be best for the Greek people."

Or you may say: "On what will be best for the creditors." (Obviously, creditors' interests go beyond Greece paying its debts. Creditors do take into account how financial markets will react to the different outcomes in this endgame between Greece and its creditors -- see, eg, this article for investor sentiment: "The opportunity in Greece crisis". They also take into account (geo)political consequences -- see, eg, "Geopolitics Will Trump Economics in Greece".)

However, I doubt that what is considered to be the best outcome for the creditors (that Greece accepts its conditions) really is the best outcome for the creditors.

What is best for the creditors?

You may answer: "That they get their money back." (However, creditors may have other objectives as, for instance, this article suggests: "Grèce : la nouvelle stratégie des créanciers".)

When should they get their money back?

You may say: "As soon as possible."

The full amount of debt outstanding?

You may say: "Well, that's something we can negotiate..."

But is that not exactly what the Greek government is asking for?

"Yes," you may say, "but we want them to accept our conditions." (Clive Crook wrote a witty and sharp column on the sense - or nonsense - of these conditions: "What happens if Greece agrees to impossible terms".)

Why do you want them to accept the creditors' conditions?

Well, dear reader, I leave it to you to answer that last question. In answering it, you may take into account, or not, that the Audit Committee on Greece's debt recently concluded that Greece's debt is "Illegal, Illegitimate and Odious" -- for an executive summary of the Committee's report click HERE. And you may take into account, or not, what Yanis Varoufakis recently has proposed to the creditors -- "Here's the complete list of reforms from Greece that its creditors don't want to hear"

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