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20 May 2012
POLLS THAT STINK
A seminal question about one aspect of the current political and economic crisis in Greece has been nagging us for a long time now.
We do not know whether this question has been raised in Greece – frankly, we doubt it – but our assiduous perusal of the European press outside Greece has revealed not a single reference to it.
In near non-stop demonstrations over the past six months and also in the parliamentary election the Greek people have overwhelmingly demonstrated that they are opposed to the austerity measures imposed on them by Brussels, Frankfurt and Washington in exchange for fresh loans to enable the Greek government to pay off existing loans made to it in the past by foreign banks.
The question which piques our curiosity is this: despite the Greek people’s hostility to the austerity imposed on them by the European Union, opinion polls appear to show that they are nonetheless overwhelmingly in favour of retaining the euro as their national currency instead of reverting to the drachma. One poll said that 75% of Greeks wanted to retain the euro.
By eliminating Greek debt and restructuring the Greek economy so that it resembles – dream on – that of Germany, the austerity measures are designed to turn Greece into an efficient productive debt-free member of the eurozone. However, since the Greeks are not prepared to accept the austerity package, it is not clear how they can knock their economy into shape to such an extent that they can remain in the same currency union as less indebted more free-market-oriented economies such as Germany or Finland.
It would be logical, it seems to us, for those Greeks who reject the austerity to reject the euro as well. By extracting itself from the straitjacket of monetary union, the Greeks could simply write off their debts and devalue their currency, thus kick-starting growth and employment. Exports would soar in response to devaluation while imports would plummet, thus encouraging the emergence of Greek firms providing indigenous goods and services to replace imports made too expensive as result of the replacement of the euro by the devalued Greek drachma.
Which is why we find it extraordinary that the polls consistently show a substantial majority of Greeks in favour of retaining the euro while rejecting the austerity package that inevitably goes with it.
In fact, we smell a rat.
Brussels, Frankfurt, Washington and their Greek collaborators, the establishment pro-austerity parties Pasok and New Democracy, desperately need a straw to clutch at, given the population’s thorough rejection of austerity.
That straw is the opinion polls which conveniently show that, despite their hostility to austerity, a majority of Greeks want to continue to benefit from the supposed economic security provided by membership of the eurozone.
Antigone1984 would like to know a lot more about these opinion polls, which apparently show repeated majorities in favour of the retaining the euro. For instance:
1. Who is paying for these polls?
2. Who is setting the questions?
3. What precisely are the questions?
4. Are the poll results being scrutinised by an independent polling verification board?
5. Are there any personal or structural connections between the polling organisations and Pasok and New Democracy or between the polling organisations and any of the Greek newspapers in which the polls are being published?
6. Is the European Union funding any of the polls?
7. What are the size of the samples questioned in each of these polls?
8. Have the samples been weighted for social class, district, age, region, etc to provide a representative selection of the Greek people?
9. How has it been possible to carry out accurate statistically reliable polls in a broken country ravaged by social, political and economic turmoil?
As we said above, we smell a rat.
You might perhaps care to view some of our earlier posts. For instance:
1. Why? or How? That is the question (3 Jan 2012)
2. Das Vierte Reich/The Fourth Reich (6 Feb 2012)
3. The shoddiest possible goods at the highest possible prices (2 Feb 2012)
4. Where’s the beef? Ontology and tinned meat (31 Jan 2012)
5. What would Gandhi have said? (30 Jan 2012)
Every so often we shall change this sample of previously published posts.