June 22, 2011

Greece, as any nation, is represented by is the sum of its public and its formal and informal private sector.

Sir, Martin Wolf in “Time for common sense on Greece” June 22 makes a clear case for why common sense should not be delayed more than it already has. Even the argument that he qualifies as “right” namely that there is a “net transfer of resources into the Greek public sector” is doubtful if the Greek public sector does not merit such transfer.

A World Bank report states “it has been reported that Greeks already hold EUR 250bn in Swiss banking accounts and that the private-wealth capital outflow from the country is ongoing.” If we were just to suppose that all that private money is invested in public sector debt of Germany and France, and that the banks of Germany and France hold that same amount in Greek public sector debt… the question of who is better off in the case of a Greek public debt default, becomes a truly debatable one, since a nation is, at the end of the day, the sum of the public and the formal and informal private sector.

I mention this since in my country, Venezuela, I witnessed how foreign banks in the late 70s and early 80s trampled on themselves in order to lend to the Venezuelan government and, what finally saved the nation, was that the private Venezuelans did not believe in such nonsense and kept their money in safer overseas investments.