"The Greeks were wasteful and now they must sacrifice their living standards" say many cynics in Europe. This is a neoliberal nonsense. Let's see some revealing statistics regarding Greeks's "preposterously luxurious" life:
The above facts certify one major thing: Greece's working class had been already affected by the neoliberal policies imposed in the country after the 1992 Maastricht Treaty. Today's crisis is just the "top of the iceberg" in a series of austerity, fiscal tighening, privatization of social institutions and broadening of the gap between poor and rich. In Ireland, Portugal, Spain and Italy the working class felt the "benefits" of the free market economy and of the uncontrolled competition between monopolies.
Now, the question is the following: Who has benefited from the ongoing crisis, in Greece and the eurozone? You don't need to have memorized the whole Marx's "Das Capital" in order to give an answer - the benefits of the people's "sacrifices" go to the ones who created the crisis. In simple words, the international and domestic Plutocracy (a Greek word, composed by "Plutos" and "Kratos", actually meaning the "rule of wealth").
Some statistical data regarding the recent profits of monopolies, banks and loan sharks are more than revealing about the situation:
The above data consist a small example of how the current Capitalist system works. When the masses are sinking into recession and austerity, when young people bury their dreams in unemployment (or in monthly salaries of 400 euros), some elites - the same bourgeoisie that Marx and Engels was refering to in 1848 - are speculating and profiting.
The default of the people - not of the modern bourgeoise - seems to be the prerequisite for the recovery of the "sick", over-accumulated, Capitalist economy. Apparently, Greece (and, consequently, the whole of Eurozone) became the "guinea pig" of an intra-Capitalist struggle between bankers, stockbrokers, creditors, loan-sharks and neoliberal governments. As Alan Woods points out correctly "after the last crisis there was a black hole in the banks that governments have been attempting to fill by shovelling in billions of taxpayers’ money. The result has been close to zero". As a resulf of that "the banks are not lending, the capitalists are not investing, the economies are stagnant, unemployment is growing, and now they are on the brink of a new slump" 10.
It becomes clear that the deep austerity and the strict monetary policies, proposed by leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Central Bank boss Jean Claude Trichet, aiming in "sacrificing" the living standards of the many for the sake of a few elites. The Greeks are now called to pay not only the undoubted huge mistakes and mismanagements of their governments but also the salvation of Europe's bourgeoise. And the bill will be also passed to the Portuguese, the Irish and the Spanish people.
So, what's next? The Greek government faces difficulty to meet the "targets" set by the IMF-EU-ECB Troika, Brussels start to feel the pressure of a possible Greek default and European governments tighten the belt around people's neck. The European Union not only was completely unprepared for such a crisis but, additionaly, cannot prevent it - simply because it is the very nature of the Capitalist system that generated the crisis.
Today, most analysts in the media try to explain whether or not Greece will default, how it will happen and if the country will leave the Eurozone. It is indeed a significant issue. But the most important thing is something else: What is the future that Capitalism promises for us, the people? Isn't it the continuous austerity? Isn't it the exploitation of the poor from the rich? Isn't the broaden of the gap between the wealthy classes and the working people? Furthermore, isn't it the ground where the political and financial elites intertwine between each other, always on the back of the masses?
The possible default of Greece and the ongoing crisis in Europe and the United States of America are nothing but another episode in a series of Capitalism's technical recessions - from the 1792 Panic in Wall Street to the 1929 Great Depression and from Argentina's collapse in 2001 to today's Greek drama. Therefore, the overthrow of the current economic system is the only way to solution for the people. That preoccupies not only the immediate stop of the neoliberal monetary policies - not only the socialization of the means of production - but the deletion of the countries's odious debt.
Otherwise, the future of the people in Greece, in Europe, in the Third World but also in the United States is the one of a modern, social, political and economic barbarism.