Greek banks continue to struggle beneath the onerous burden of financial debt imposed by their left-leaning welfarist government and as such are teetering on the brink of insolvency.1 Despite a slew of highly restrictive capital controls and out-of-the-blue "bank holidays" designed to maintain some modest levels of liquidity in the face of branch and ATM queues across the country, the condition of Greece's banks is less than ideal and quite possibly insufficient for long-term survival.
Despite several media reports suggesting that there's been an appreciable uptick in Bitcoin interest in the former home of the western intellectualism, the now-impoverished Mediterranean nation has still not either broadly or officially embraced the single most important innovation since Aristotle's Politics.
Symbolic of this recalcitrance was the January appointment of anti-Bitcoiner Yanis Varoufakis2 to the role of Finance Minister, despite his most notable work experience to that date having been in the video game industry. Since his appointment, Varoufakis has been a court jester of sorts, flying to various European state capitals at the behest of his Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, largely for the amusement of the conventional media as well as the assorted foreign office holders and bank officials who actually control the financial well-being of the Greek economy. That is, until Varoufakis over-stayed his welcome and began to be excluded from meetings with even a pretense to import.
As a result of this snubbing – and also because of the OXI (NO) referendum result of this past weekend in which Greek citizens refused to accept austerity measures offered to them by their foreign lenders, and in order to maintain whatever face he feels like he may have left after an incredibly unproductive six months in office in which he essentially failed on every score imaginable – Varoufakis has announced his resignation in a blog post on his personal site.
From his post, it's clear that he, like the people he formerly represented, has an undue and unwarranted level of self-worth and personal dignity :
It is, therefore, essential that the great capital bestowed upon our government by the splendid NO vote be invested immediately into a YES to a proper resolution – to an agreement that involves debt restructuring, less austerity, redistribution in favour of the needy, and real reforms.
That the NO vote was "splendid" in Varoufakis' eyes demonstrates an unusual perception of his nation's options, which appear to this author to be really quite scant. And what "great capital" he imagines he
controls controlled when the Eurogroup purse strings are tied so tightly, one can only imagine. Certainly, such "capital" cannot be used to bail out the country's fractional reserve banks or to buy groceries, but alas.
Varoufakis makes a final concession :
We of the Left know how to act collectively with no care for the privileges of office.
As a representative of the left-leaning/socialist end of the political spectrum, Varoufakis not only didn't care for the privileges of office, but he also neglected its responsibilities, to say nothing of the unprecedented opportunities that Bitcoin offered him and his people. If only he, and they, had had the humility to say YES.
The prospect of Greek debt default isn't just weighing down the local economy either. Inextricably intertwined as the global fiat economy is, the Euro has taken some damage, as have a number of stock markets around the world, as many are wondering aloud whether Greece is the canary in the coalmine of paper promises. ↩
Varoufakis is on the record in saying that Bitcoin is "dangerous" for being "apolitical money," as if money and politics were in any way separable, while at the same time denouncing the all-too-real existence of a Bitcoin aristocracy. ↩