11/1/2011 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…
You can’t make this stuff up. In case you are unaware, today, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou made a surprise call for a referendum on the most next round of bailout funding that its big Euro brothers, Germany and France, spent so much time and political capital to arrange. From Reuters:
The Greek government faced possible collapse on Tuesday as ruling party lawmakers demanded Prime Minister George Papandreou resign for throwing the nation’s euro membership into jeopardy with a shock call for a referendum.
Caught unawares by his high-stakes gamble, the leaders of France and Germany summoned Papandreou to crisis talks in Cannes on Wednesday to push for a quick implementation of Greece’s new bailout deal ahead of a summit of the G20 major world economies.
Apparently, it was a surprise even to those in Athens, the article continues:
Papandreou did not even inform Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos he was going to announce the referendum on the latest EU aid deal, a government official told Reuters.
“They must be crazy… this is no way to run a country,” said a senior executive of one of Greece’s biggest firms, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Yes, Anarchy is now trumping the nation state. Let us examine the phenomenon which is currently playing out in Greece, for it is highly likely to play out in nearly every Western Democracy before Anarchy comes in to give its people a bear hug.
Allow us to present this development in terms of Greece as a Corporation to make clear the absurdity of the present situation.
Greece Inc., the security and welfare agency, is one of the oldest in the Western world. It is currently running an unbelievable operating deficit and is awaiting 8 Billion Euros payable in mid November under a financing deal that its largest creditors have essentially negotiated for it.
Mr. Papandreou, the CEO of Greece, Inc., along with Greece Inc.’s creditors, has been negotiating a new, complex financial deal which will allow the bankrupt corporation to continue to fund its security and welfare activities, albeit at reduced levels. Without this deal, Greece, Inc. will run out of cash in January 2012.
Mr. Papandreou has been slashing the preferred dividends (welfare payments) and salaries of the Greece, Inc.’s shareholders and employees in order to comply with the terms of the current financing deal.
Looking ahead to January 2012, Greece Inc.’s lenders have “negotiated” yet another deal for it to be able to fund its operations past the corporation’s next D-Day. Naturally, the deal includes a lot more “shared pain” in the form of further reductions to employee salaries and preferred dividends. Naturally, this comes as unwelcome news to the employees and shareholders.
Sensing that he is losing control of the company, Mr. Papandreou suddenly feels the need to get “buy in” for the new deal from all affected parties. Today, without consulting its creditors, Mr. Papandreou announced that he is presenting the complex financial deal for the formal approval of his enterprise’s (Greece) captive shareholders.
To make matters more interesting, he is scheduling the approval vote (aka the referendum) to occur at about the same time that Greece, Inc. is scheduled to run out of cash in January of 2012. This may be the ultimate in financial brinksmanship.
Naturally, the potential funders (Germany, France, China, etal) are taken aback at the sudden “need” to gain shareholder approval. This is something that is, while perfectly legal, completely unexpected and has introduced yet one more variable in what is already a complex deal.
Naturally, the introduction of this new variable has sparked anyone who is currently owed money by Greece, Inc. at a future date now trying to sell Greek bonds for whatever they can get for them, virtually eliminating the market for Greek debt and, in the process, making the creditors who are ready to sign the new deal with Greece, Inc. look extremely foolish.
Beyond foolish, it naturally calls into question the motives, decision making ability, and ultimately the creditworthiness of said creditors Germany, Inc., France, Inc., and China, Inc. and their banking subsidiaries.
Crony Capitalism, there is nothing natural about it.
Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.
Key Indicators for November 1, 2011
Gold Price Per Ounce: $1,720 PERMANENT UNCERTAINTY