Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘and Spain

Biter-sweet Euro: Before and after Greece; (Mar. 7, 2010)

Before Greece, you have the States of Lithuania, Hungary, and Ireland that suffered the same fate of a prematurely imposed Euro on States of weak economies. There are many articles analyzing the financial crisis in Greece. I thought that I can make sense in a short post for readers eager to know, but would refrain reading lengthy erudite articles.

There are two main factors for Greece financial problems; and there are two resolutions available, equally painful, but one is far better in shortening the pain and healing faster.

First, the common currency Euro forced weaker economies to relinquish their sovereignty over issuing money in time of shrinking economy in order to re-launch the inner trade.

Second, the US financial multinationals before the crash infused too much credit in a small economy that did not correspond to normal credit rating behaviors. This quick infusion of money inflated the sense of economic boom and generated laxity in financial control and management.  Greece is awakening to new demands for harsher financial control and imposition of higher taxes to straighten the budget balance sheet.

The first remedy is inviting the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to intervene and infuse $1.7 billion in the Greek coffer to pay the debts due this spring. This would be a bad decision. It is a worse alternative because even the EU is encouraging Greece toward that option. For example:

Lithuania GNP shrank 18% in the first year the IMF intervened with its draconian conditions: jobless rate climbed to 20%, the high level in health, education, and retirement suffered greatly. Actually, retired persons are bleeding and the socialist political parties lost ground.

In Hungary, the IMF intervention made sure that the people suffer and the socialist government be replaced by like-minded anti-socialist government headed by the former minister of economy.

If Greece ends up asking the “help” of the IMF, as the EU wishes too, then the socialist George Papandreou will start packing; a decision that will please Merkle PM of Germany.

Greece with budget deficit reaching 13% of GNP and growing, has a reasonable solution out of this mess if it wants to avoid 10 years of suffering and humiliation. Until the EU comes up with a financial recovery plan, Greece should revert to its national currency the drachma. Greece should regain its sovereignty in issuing money in this difficult period: Internal and external trades should not be hampered for lack of liquidity.

Since Greece imports amount to only 20% of its GNP, then better competitive drachma should enhance exports and reduce the loan deficit. With the already strict financial control in place, Greece will be able to shorten the period of its pain.  The EU will accept Greece currency to revert to the Euro in due time in order not to let other Euro member States to follow Greece decision.

Greece should learn how Argentina recovered.  After four years insisting of keeping the currency linked to the dollar, Argentina economy faltered entirely.  Argentina decided to float its currency and it devalued accordingly. Argentina was able to default on $100 billion of foreign loans. The government insured that bank deposits of consumers keep the same purchasing power by regular re-evaluation and re-fixing of the national currency.  People living in their own properties enjoyed the same financial facility at the rate of pre-devaluation.  Within a single semester, Argentina economy was back to normal and going strong.

Greece has choices: either the IMF intervention accompanied by ten years of suffering or reverting to the drachma until the economy is back to normal within a couple of semester.

Note 1:  I suggested in several articles that an internal Euro currency, Euro B, be created for European internal markets. In this case, smaller economies could issue Euro B to keeping liquidity available for their internal market. As the internal economy is functioning and creating jobs, harsh cuts in social budgets will be reduced.

Note 2: Spain, Portugal, and lately Italy have been experiencing bad economical and financial downturns.  If the “Euro B” was adopted, and the current Euro used for just exporting goods and dealing with foreign markets, this Euro would have been in better shape and more immune to currency exchange deals, mostly dominated by the US financial policies.

Try to take a Nap

Siesta: Try it (March 27, 2009)

In many States, the siesta interval is official and sacred; commercial stores and public offices close from around 1 to 4 p.m. (give or take an hour) before resuming their jobs until eight.

Siesta means to sleep for an hour after lunch and relax in the shade until the heat of the day subsides.

In Africa, South and Central America, and Spain appreciate siesta resting period.

I recall that when my parents, working in Africa, visited us on summers forced siesta on us kids; it was a struggle to makes us just lay in bed. Kids would never feel the need for siesta. The rest of us should start experimenting with a resting period in bed after lunch.

Those that encourage napping for just 15 minutes because more than that it no longer beneficial… well, I don’t trust them; they either never tried a 15 minutes nap or they are trying not to alienate the Anglo-Saxon readers and maintaining their credibility.

A short nap sitting on a chair or a sofa is not what I have in mind. I recall that I had meetings with tenure track professors at 1 p.m. and they kept dozing during the meetings. I comprehended perfectly well their need for siesta but I could never reconcile insisting on scheduling meetings after lunch when they could enjoy a well deserved siesta.

Those who claim that daylight is reserved to working are hypocrites; they forget that since time immemorial the worker in the field used to sit under a large fig tree or grape vines and take well deserved naps under the shade.

Workers used to start before dawn and end their day at sunset, more than 12 hours work but they enjoyed extended breaks at meal times.

Those who regard employees taking naps as lazy workers are hypocrites: they simple want to exercise repressions.

I recall once during secondary school that I had barely a nap for 5 minutes after lunch (we lived at walking distance from school) and I woke up as if I slumbered in for three hours with dreams and all. That was an exception because it never recurred and that is why I can recall it so vividly.

Siesta or enjoying a nap means to lay in bed, having a blanket spread over your head, and closing your eyes and not feeling worried that you might sleep for two hours. How can anyone claim to nap when he is constrained with time and in tight schedule?

When it rains or it feels cold I enjoy a good two hours siesta with dreams; usually, I had started my day before 5:30 a.m. I realized that if I don’t take siesta within 15 minutes from lunch then I cannot sleep: it seems that my brain has recovered from the slumber of the meal and it is crowded with ideas to write down; all that I do is get in bed, cover my head with the blanket and close my eyes for an hour to rest my body; that goes also when I have a bowel movement because I feel too relaxed and good afterward and don’t need to fall asleep, even if I decide otherwise.

If you try a good one hour nap in bed then you find out that you are fresh and ready for productive eight hours of steady work. I blame those who have to succumb to the dictatorship of management for preventing well deserved naps.

I know that the afternoon tasks are the worst in accuracy, productivity, and good will. You have the impression that what the morning produced was the most essential and the remainder of the day work is an official incarceration, like school kids being punished for truancy.

I never trusted the professionalism of those who submit to drive more than 30 minutes to work and return to work immediately after lunch breaks; unless they can afford to rent a studio close to work for well deserved lunch breaks and isolation.

I am amused with all the funds extended to researchers for rediscovering the wheel that lunch naps go a long way to recovering sanity, health, and productivity.




February 2023

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