05 Jul 2015


Krugman 20 Comments

In this post Paul Krugman is happy about the Greek vote. He writes:

Tsipras and Syriza have won big in the referendum, strengthening their hand for whatever comes next. But they’re not the only winners: I would argue that Europe, and the European idea, just won big — at least in the sense of dodging a bullet.

…You don’t have to love Syriza, or believe that they know what they’re doing — it’s not clear that they do, although the troika has been even worse — to believe that European institutions have just been saved from their own worst instincts. If Greece had been forced into line by financial fear mongering, Europe would have sinned in a way that would sully its reputation for generations. Instead, it’s something we can, perhaps, eventually regard as an aberration.

And if Greece ends up exiting the euro? There’s actually a pretty good case for Grexit now — and in any case, democracy matters more than any currency arrangement.

On a hunch, I looked it up and apparently gay marriage is illegal in Greece. (I choose those words deliberately, if you go read the link.) Supporters of gay marriage are appealing to outside institutions, including the EU, to overturn the results of Greek democracy.

I await Krugman’s column on this important social issue.

20 Responses to “Awwwkward”

  1. Adrian F says:

    Sound evidence that Krugmans economic advice is politically motivated?

  2. Harold says:

    The Greeks signed up democratically to abide by EU principles. If it is found that they have passed a law that contavenes those principles, it is democratic for them to stick to their earlier committment as part of their membership of the group. If they don’t like it they can democratically decide to leave the EU. The UK is getting close to deciding this. In this context the EU is not an outside institution.

    • aby says:

      “The Greeks signed up democratically to abide by EU principles”
      Was there a referendum back then, or do you mean that their elected representatives made that decicion?

    • Andrew Keen says:

      I never would have pegged you for a secessionist.

    • Josiah says:

      The Greeks signed up democratically to abide by EU principles.

      Is it an EU principle that they have to agree to whatever terms the troika proposes?

      • Harold says:

        I don’t know what terms the Greeks signed up to when they borrowed all the money. I think that is a separate arrangement from the one made when they joined the then EC.

  3. Harold says:

    I am not sure if they had a referendum. They applied to join in 1976 -shortly after returning to democracy. They were admitted in 1981. I am sure there has been plenty of opportunuty to either not join or leave if that were the public feeling. My understanding is that the Greeks are generally desirous to be in the EU.

    The EU is not an outside institution in the same way the USA would be. The EU says if you want to stay in the club you must abide by the rules you signed up for.

  4. Transformer says:


    After a fair and democratic vote on July 6 2015 the Transformer Family have unanimously decided they no longer have responsibility for their so called “Mortgage Debt”. This “debt” is illegitimate as it was taken out by a previous Transformer Family regime, and was only done so under the due pressures of the fear of homelessness and the imperative of preventing a global recession by buying a brand new BMW. It is the will of the people of the Transformer Family that this criminal “debt” be consigned to the dustbin of history.

    The Transformer Family has spoken ! Lovers of freedom and democracy everywhere will celebrate this momentous event in the exercise of people power against the might of the the world’s financial empires.

    • Harold says:

      Unfortunately you probably do not owe enough. As the old saying goes, owe the bank $100 and can’t pay, you had better worry. Owe the bank $100 billion dollars and can’t pay, the bank had better worry.

  5. khodge says:

    I think you should give Krugman a pass on this. I don’t usually follow him but, to me, it looks more like he’s just trying to fill up a column or two rather than really making profound statements on Greece and same sex marriage.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      !! Does he put an asterisk next to the blog posts that he sincerely believes in?

      • khodge says:

        If only.

        I think it is fair to point out that we all get sloppy in our locution and/or thinking at times and, based on the second paragraph in the above quote, it sounds like he does not really care, (which is a little bit at odds with some of the other things he has written about Greece recently).

        Haven’t you, on occasion, pointed out that Prof Krugman is able to discern the motives of those writing against him. Surely it would be possible to discern his motives without needing an asterisk.

  6. Major.Freedom says:

    Democracy is often praised by people when the outcome is to their own preferences, for show.

    Nobody is actually pro-democracy however. They are pro-something else, and oh look, thankfully the majority agrees, so suck it.

    • ax123man says:

      That made me smile. We must share a drink some time.

  7. Major.Freedom says:

    Hey Murphy,

    Health insurance companies are seeking to raise insurance premiums 20-40% after finding out just how sick their mandatory customers are.

    Remember ancient history from progressives that healthcare costs to the consumer would decrease with more government involvement?


    • Bob Murphy says:

      Heh yep…

    • Keshav Srinivasan says:

      There were some insurance companies requesting double-digit increases last year as well, albeit not as many as this year, but after regulatory review there wasn’t much premium increase. I assume premium increases this year will be larger than last year, but probably significantly lower than what the insurance companies are requesting.

      In any case, I think a large part of why the insurance pool was sicker than expected is because the mandate is so weak: the fine is really low initially, and the only enforcement of the fine is deducting the amount from your tax refund if you’re getting a tax refund. (They can’t put a lean on your house or do any of the other things that the IRS can do to collect other taxes, which was a sop to progressives who didn’t like the mandate once the public option was removed.) I expect as the fine goes up (as it’s scheduled to), more young healthy people will find it worthwhile to buy insurance to avoid the fine, and that should improve the risk pool.

      • Major.Freedom says:

        “probably significantly lower than what the insurance companies are requesting.”

        All hail Obama!

    • Scott D says:

      This is why we need to rein in the free market. If only healthcare were properly regulated, instead of dog-eat-dog, wild-west style capitalism.

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