Noam Chomsky: Greek Debt Must Be Written Off, Brussels Are Destroying Greece

chomsky

His belief that the Greek debt should be written off expressed the internationally acclaimed American scholar Noam Chomsky. As he said, the Greek debt should be written off in the same way the German debt was written off in 1953, just eight years after the end of World War II. Moreover, the American scholar underlined that Brussels’ policies are destroying Greece.

In an interview to Euronews, Chomsky defended the leftist-led Greek government, highlighting that “SYRIZA came to power following a mandate of the people, who said that Greece must stop implementing Brussels’ policies and that German banks are destroying the country,” while explaining that such policies have led to the increase of the Greek debt. “50% of young people are unemployed and around 40% of the population lives below the poverty line. Greece is being destroyed,” he said.

Asked to comment on other countries facing similar problems, such as Spain and Portugal, the American scholar said their debt should also be written off. As he repeated, despite the imposed policies that are leading to disaster, there are signs of light on the horizon, namely the independence movements of Latin America, Greece’s SYRIZA and Spanish Podemos. “Hopefully there is finally an uprising of the people against the devastating economic and social policies deriving from the bureaucracy and the banks, and this is promising. It must be,” Chomsky concluded.

It should be noted that this was not the first time the American scholar publicly supported the Greek government. In an interview to American independent news agency Democracy Now last month, Chomsky said that the European Union’s response to the Greek SYRIZA-led coalition government requests was “extremely savage,” a reaction that Spain’s main opposition party, Podemos, could face as it is being projected as the next general election winner.


  • Marisya

    Mr. Chomsky is not very realistic.
    But its easy to decide in this matter if its not your own money.

  • Vic Webster

    Brussels ARE destroying Greece – what, Brussel sprouts?
    And Chomsky is not a “nobelist” [sic]. America would never allow that.

  • etheric

    I think Mr Chomsky, may be a little wiser and a little more “realistic” than most of us.
    It’s when we stop listening to our elders and instead we take orders from the weasel bankers and their masters that have created a deranged and dangerous reality for us all.

    Wake up

  • Marisya

    Well, now and then, and debtors are very pleased with taht, as i can understand.
    But one also has to understand that this hughe amount of debt has also creditors.
    Can you give me any examples where debts are written off without consequenses?

  • Marisya

    If one (or a state) borrows, one pays interest.
    Every child of 10 knows that.

  • Edison Carter

    Do you understand this issue? Obviously not.

  • Marisya

    Well perhaps i understand history better then you, have you any idea why the Germans got Marshall help after ww2? Whats more Greece got that too.
    So if you can discussing without insulting ppl. pls, if you cant, well then here it ends

  • Marisya

    Well each of my compatriots and myself 800 euro to be exact paid bij taxes.
    I wonder if you can discuss without beeing insulting or is that a normal educaton where you live to do so?

  • Thinktank

    The 200 billion haircut of Greek debt was part of the policies. Chomsky pretends it was not. Sure, after that haircut the Greek debt has increased. Got it?

  • Arithehun

    Who has the debt …You?

  • Arithehun

    And how much of this debt is actual debt not costs and add on interest and refinancing and on selling costs of debt

  • pnk

    The haircuts were to pension fund obligations not to the big creditors. But no one has answered the question of how the sovereign debt is so large in the first place. Why would creditors extend the kind of debt that the Greeks would never be able to repay and further ensure that by enforcing austerity policies whose predictable consequence will be to further shrink the size of the greek economy from which the debt is supposed to be repaid. It is in this sense that “such policies have led to the increase of the Greek debt” (i.e., debt-to-GDP is much larger). It is true that the Greeks need to reform their economy and infrastructure (e.g., tax collection, etc) but the ‘bailout’ was not of Greece, but a a way of transferring bank credit losses to the sovereign states. There was no sovereign debt crisis before the bailout. As I said, the Greeks were never going to be able to repay this loan, and this was known all along: the ultimate loser here will be the average european taxpayer (German included) who will eventually be asked to bail out those banks–err eh, I mean those irremediable greeks.

    The discussion of write-offs misses an important point of the constructors of policy in Brussels and Berlin. Yes, debt restructuring is done regularly as a sensible credit action under suitable circumstances. But this does not apply here because these policymakers here were solving a political problem, and not acting like normal creditors. The game was different from the very beginning: sensible creditors would have never extended the sheer amount of debt to an insolvent entity. And having done so, would not insist, as they did, on austerity policies whose consequence would be to pound the economy down so much further.

  • The economic system is exactly why Greece is in this state. There is nothing absolutely about economic principles – they change as rapidly as they are justified. And you’ve made my point about Germany… They couldn’t pay back their debts because it was impossible without completely impoverishing their country for decades. That’s the same justification you should be using to advocate for Greek debt relief. I would suspect that NATO played a role in negotiating that debt with Greece, and I doubt Greece or other European victims of German aggression found it sufficient. But Germany being the front in the new hearts and minds war against the Soviet Union was able to get the relief that now they are desperately trying to deny the Greek people.

  • Thinktank

    It is true that entrepreneurs in most countries are allowed to report their incomes by themselves. But the control system and punishment if the entrepreneur lies differs a lot. Greece has extremely lax control and there is also the widespread corruption, a fakelaki to the taxman and you don’t have to worry about taxes. It is the Greeks own responsibility to change all this. Why is it so difficult? The Greek people could owerthrow a military junta but not get rid of corruption? Varoufakis and Tsipras talk immensely about what will be done IF they get the next money tranche. Why haven’t they already done it or at least started seriously? Pay owed taxes in 100 Installments? Try that with the taxman in Germany, the USA, UK or Sweden, he will laugh himself to death.

  • Marisya

    First of all: i look at the matter with both eyes, none is left or right.
    Its generally accepted that there is an enourmous fraude with paying taxes in Greece since there is almost no controll on it.
    As for incometax for ppl. who work officialy you could be right, but there are numerous ways -and they are used- by the Greek not to pay taxes.
    I didn’t mention just “the working man” doing this but i spoke on the whole.
    Since Shiriza is on power almost nobody pays taxes anymore, encouraged by Sheriza itself.
    Instead thoudsands of officials are back in office while 10% of the working ppl. is already somehow an official, a 13 month for retired persons, more salary for everone, etc etc. its like Grimms Fairy tales.
    How and who is going to pay for this all? Or will we just borrow some more knowing it cant paid back ever? But he, who cares, we will blame it on the banks, the eu, the troijka, the “institutes” or whatever.
    Who is going to pay? Well the most would be paid from the northern countries in the EU Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, etc. do you realy realy think that this would go through another 5 year or so? That those ppl. dont get enough of this attitude? Helping a nation is ok, solidarity too, but how can one help a nation in the way Sheriza acts?

  • Marisya

    1) You dont have to enlighten me cause your ideas and your truth is not better then mine.
    2) “I am tired of fools putting everything on the worker” I hope you dont insulting me beeing a fool, if you do so say it clearly and not in a covered way.
    3) Does the word fakelaki means something to you? Or perhaps rousfeti?
    4) Yes, those who officialy work pay their income tax at the source.
    In 2007 was the tax in totaly for Greece 32,1% of the bnp, in Belgium for example 43% Do you think Greece can afford itself with 32,1% beeing in such a mess? besides that 32,1% is theoretical but in a lot of circomstances is’nt paid at all.
    I dont understand how you got the idea I just mention `the worker`, but this `worker` also has to pay other taxes and not only incometax, so except the incometax there are more possibilities not paying and they are used as you very well know .
    Fact is that a lot of taxes aren’t paid at all since Sheriza came in power.
    Of course business owners and the self employed has to pay taxes too, did´nt the gov. had enough time to set up a descent system for that in all those years?
    Again: i do understand that there was severly economized in Greece the last 5 years, but not only in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and the other members economized as well.
    You should not have the idea that i just mention wage earners not paying their taxes, and of course those who have the occasion not paying will do so and thats easy because the control in Greece is a laugh.
    In short if there are not enough revenues due to a insufficient taxsystem and there are more expenses then income you are getting a shortage in the budget, its very much like a household.
    Everone understands that exept the Greek it seems.
    This went on for years, and yes the banks where wrong that much lending to Greece but at the end it were loans approved by the Greek gov. no one else.
    So realy, in my opinion you cant say the eurozone had no solidarity with Greece the last 5 year, i realy can’t understand why never is mentioned that it was the GREEK gov. made this sorrow in the first place by not acting responsible to its own compatriots, not to mention the verbal indecency made towards the other 19 members of the eu zone from threatening IS suporters sending to the rest of the EU (by a Greece minister of all) to a swastika for Merckel, and this are just a few examples.

  • Chris Mack

    My reply to you is when you mention tax evasion clarify and leave the employees out because they get their taxes removed at source.

    Criticise those that Right wingers believe have the answers…The private sector principals. They are the tax evaders you speak off.

    Syriza is the solution not the probleml…The sooner you fools in the EU tow the line the better it will be for you all.

  • Chris Mack

    Probably because the Public sector has been cut so much there are not enough Tax police to put a dent on all the evaders.

  • Thinktank

    You are a proud fool.

  • Chris Mack

    thanks 🙂 ….

  • Rory Conrad

    u seem to be missing the point. Greece will nvr have the means to pay the debt off. Thus Chomsky advising it being written off. It’s like student loans in the USA, the debt consistently and is exponentially growing, creating a bubble, like the housing bubble-Greece’s debt bubble will burst as will the student loan bill will and the housing has. What is the logic in continuing an insolvent program?

  • Ilias Tonight

    Syriza is a new party without corrupted members as the previous german-friendly goverments that Greece had during the post 2010 period. Only a new political actor as Syriza, is able to facilate reforms in the way that the state works and has already begun. Instead of support from european institutions Syriza receives WAR with every mean that ECB and EC have in their hands. This is not a policy towards resolvement of the situation. In a more realistic perspective human rights are above all economic principles and every goverment is obligeted to respect them. People are commit suiced in Greece during THE LAST YEARS. So Syriza has one path: referendum… and everybody understand what will be the decision of Greeks voters…Then, EU will be open enough for other members as well. Let s see the breathless battle in May.

  • Olaus Trøgheim

    Rubbish. The banks lent Greece money when they should not. When Greece de facto bankrupted should have written off those loans and possibly been bankrupted themselves. These banks (ie. the richest people in the world) should then have lost some money. They do not because they are protected by their chums in Brussels and Berlin.

  • Olaus Trøgheim

    The EU need to let some rich bank owners lose a little bit of money and stop protecting them who lent Greece to much money.

  • Dimitrios Zacharatos

    You have to ask about the environment we are living. I have a couple of arguments for you to consider (1) Why banks offered money to a country without checking its credibility – would you give money to someone you knew that had few chances paying off? The IMF knew the numbers very well before it went on lending (2) Who decided to accept these loans? Was it the Greek people or the Greek government? Why Goldman and Sachs gave false facts to EU about the state of the Greek economy in 2000? I can ask several questions but I can’t write for ever. The thing no western country is democratic. First Greece then Spain and then the rest of the world. Even you. We are all together in this.

  • Marisya

    One who loans is in first place responsable for its deeds

  • Marisya

    Yes, I agree a referendum is the best.
    But you forget there are just 2 options:
    Economize in what form Greece want as long as its effective or get out of the eu zone, a 3 option that paying the other members more and more of more debt is not realistic.
    What should the Eurozone do with still more “members “just bearing credit and not paying back? Let the other 19 paying for them as well?

  • Marisya

    A lot has been written off already, logic is a logical program to economize in Greece, butr sofar they dont want to do that

  • Marisya

    Greece has to economize in a poper way, not wanting more and more credit.
    Greece got enough help and a lot of the debt was written off.
    This is debt wanting more debt and vague promises and has nothing to do with destroying ppl, bye the way I live in Europe we look a bit different to debts as in the US.

  • Marisya

    Ever thought of the fact where the money came from? that every debtor has a creditor?

  • Marisya

    “you fool in the EU” ?? The only foolishness was lending out far to much money to a country that has been the ;ast century several times bankrupt already beeing not reliable.

  • Chris Mack

    “The only foolishness was lending out far to much money to a country that has been the ;ast century several times bankrupt already beeing not reliable.”

    Very close ….now think about your statement and think it through you will see the answer is there staring you in the face. They knew Greece could not pay back but the bankers kept lending Greece because the money never really stayed in Greece. It went back to the bankers. This way the bankers can be stealing the money of the European tax payer and the taxpayer (you) will conveniently blame Greece and they walk away with your money like bandits.

    You know that the lenders knew very well that Greece would not be able to pay back the money they borrowed. Now ask yourself ….why would they lend the money? Do they benefit from the money they loaned Greece? Ask those questions and you will see the answer right in front of your eyes.

  • Marisya

    I dont have to think it through, i know what you mean to say,n but the first responsibility lies by whom who lends.

  • Marisya

    First of all we should agree that the one who lends has the largest responsibility.
    SecondThe Greek gov. didn’t accepted the loans, no, they asked for them, and yes, as the Greek gov. is democratic the representative of the Greek ppl. they wanted the loans.
    As you think the banks never should have given that much credit, and i agree with you, the next rational decision would be not a penny to Greece anymore agree?
    We cant be “all together in this” as long as Greece needs credits, and if Greece got them then saying “who lent all this money to us knewing in could never paid back”?
    So the only right thing would be:
    No more lending and get out of the eurozone.

  • Marisya

    I’ll just keep it with the word rubbish as you did

  • Marisya

    Perhaps they should beginning pay taxes for example, and start to control efficiently.
    I think I “got it since long” those who make debts are primary responsible for their deeds.
    If i get a mortgage i too have to pay every month if not my house is sold, even if the bank should have given too much, it stays my debt right? Why should it be different for the Greek?
    At the moment it seems to you ok to give more money..so more debt, and over half a year you will say “its blamed to the banks, they gave too much credit” if you should be rationaly you could agree with the facts: no more credit and a bankruptcy.
    Garanteed if another 7 biljoen euro will be add to their debt over half a year nothing has changed exept there will be more debt and the Greek drama start over again and again and…

  • Marisya

    Its a cheap conclusion you make.
    Banks want to “sell” in this case money, the officials elected by the Greek ppl. loan, the price for the money is interest i cant conclude anything else.
    Yes, you are right in the way they gave to much credit so better they dont give anymore, neither the EU or IMF cause thats the same thing, they also want interest.
    So, whats your point? If no institution gives credit its a disaster for Greece, if they lend money they are “sharks” in your opnion…what do you want? free money and lending more, never paying back for Greece or what?

  • Marisya

    No, i just say they have to start paying taxes

  • Olaus Trøgheim

    No. You are carpet bombing this discussion with blaming the Greek tax payer.

  • Olaus Trøgheim

    What I say is that the old loans should to a much higher degree have been written off. I do not care if the corrupt chums to the eu bank and imf looses money. They started this by agreeing to the first loans. Without them Greece would have been in a much better situation and the overspending much earlier reduced.

  • Marisya

    Maybe we should look at the facts:
    banks lent money to Greece as a nation, not to peasants.
    The money came from clients who have savings at those banks, from ordinary ppl. not ” aristocrats”
    Banks want a security for the money lent to Greece mostly in form of bonds issued by the Greek state.
    The interest of those bonds is indirect specified by the trust the rest of the world (and not just the EU) has in the ability of the Greece state.
    And looking at the Greek yield there is not very much trust in the way Seriza acts.
    Thans to the leftist Greece cant loan “on the market” and depends on the EU.
    Dont look at history, look at this problem as it is now and what is causing it.

  • Olaus Trøgheim

    Not if EU would let the banks go bankrupt for their shoddy work with letting Greece get the loans in the first place. Let the superrich bankowners bleed just a little.

  • Marisya

    And who are the “bankowners” you think? There are no real “bankowners” most banks are on the stock market for their capital and they need ppl. savings.
    Ordinary ppl. just like you and me…

  • Olaus Trøgheim

    Rubbish. Most bank stocks are not owned by ordinary people. Documentation please. Sure a few noncontrolling stocks, but that’s all. Some funds, but they will stop buying bank stocks if the corrupt system of to big to fail banks is stopped. It’s pretty clear now whose errand you’re running.

  • Bueno Devine Burquez

    I think you’re missing the point of my post: power relations are already “inscribed” into money systems. In other words, what you call “lending” is really just a systematic means of control which Greece is refusing. This is a first step in the right direction for the already brewing tensions between the money’d Euro counties and Spain/Italy/Greece. Simply put: the Greeks don’t have to play by your rules, as you noted to someone else “your truth is not THE truth.” So how do you respond when someone refuses to play your game, your “truth”?

  • Olaus Trøgheim

    Oh, dear. Who do you think own the banks? And of course the owners make sure that managers get rich too. They are after all in charge of the greediness in a bank. If my bank goes bankrupt (and it has happened) nothing happens to my account. My ATM works as before. This is the norm in well functioning countries in Europe. In my case the Govenrment told the bank; you’re bankrupt we take over. They secured the customers, rebuilt the bank and sold it later. No money lost.Other than for the previous owners. As it should be.

  • Sifis Retrobannum

    the greek debt wasn’t erased like in germany with the marshal plan.
    the ammount that was cut, was exclusivelly from the interest. it’s like me giving you a loan of 100 dollars, and after ten years i say to you: ok the ammount you owe me is about 1000 dollars, but i’m being generous so now you owe me 700 dollars.

  • Bueno Devine Burquez

    I see these terms like “normal fact,” “real life.” Money is a purely virtual entity, as I said before it is a concept and concepts are subject to change. Greece does not have to play your game.

    And I asked a very simple questio: what would the powers that be resort to if Greece refused to play that game? Your basic understanding of capitalist economics is simply delusional: the only thing “real” about money is OUR BELIEF IN IT. Simply put: at many junctures in modern history have people broken out of the reign of capitalism.

    Nevertheless, capitalism has very real effects. But once again these effects can be negated by a simple refusal to play the capitalist game, to deny the very premise that it relies upon: namely that value is a “real” thing.

  • Marisya

    As money is a “purely virtual entity” you can accept of course that Greece doesn’t get any credit anymore, lets see whats happens then, it cant be that worse according your opinion can it?

  • Marisya

    The marshal plan didn’t erase the German debts, and Greece got Marshal help too.
    Lets see, 100$ loan paying off in 10 years, the whole amount at the end with an interest of ,lets say 4% yearly ,costs you 40$ interest.
    So after 10 years the whole costs you $140.
    Your compare 100 to 1000$ in 10 years isn’t the real deal the EU got with Greece, the interest is far less then 4%.
    But as for the rest you are right, lending costs money, perhaps not in Greece, but anywere else it does.