Joseph Stiglitz: how I would vote in the Greek referendum →

June 30, 2015 |

Joseph Stiglitz, one of the 2001 Nobel prize winners in economics, writing for The Guardian:

It is startling that the troika has refused to accept responsibility for any of this or admit how bad its forecasts and models have been. But what is even more surprising is that Europe’s leaders have not even learned. The troika is still demanding that Greece achieve a primary budget surplus (excluding interest payments) of 3.5% of GDP by 2018.

Economists around the world have condemned that target as punitive, because aiming for it will inevitably result in a deeper downturn. Indeed, even if Greece’s debt is restructured beyond anything imaginable, the country will remain in depression if voters there commit to the troika’s target in the snap referendum to be held this weekend.

He goes on to argue that a yes vote would probably result in many years — possibly even decades — of sustained economic depression and financial ruin for Greece. As for the possibility of a no vote:

By contrast, a no vote would at least open the possibility that Greece, with its strong democratic tradition, might grasp its destiny in its own hands. Greeks might gain the opportunity to shape a future that, though perhaps not as prosperous as the past, is far more hopeful than the unconscionable torture of the present.

I know how I would vote.

In any case, today Greece issued a last-minute proposal asking for a new 2-year bailout and some debt-relief. Should this proposal be accepted, Sunday’s referendum could potentially be rendered moot, possibly even canceled. The Eurogroup will hold an extraordinary session today at 19:00 Brussels time to discuss the offer. The deadline expires at midnight.