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Analysis and Comment (44)

Not your average poet. Not your average poet. Wikimedia Commons

New Sappho poems set classical world reeling

It’s a kind of literary miracle. Fragments of two new poems by Ancient Greek poet Sappho have been discovered, making it possible for us to be among the first people to read these texts for more than 1,000…
A World Bank report gives a hopeful forecast for global growth. A World Bank report gives a hopeful forecast for global growth. Image sourced from www.shutterstock.com

Growth spurt hopes for global economy, but challenges remain

The World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects report released this week is moderately optimistic about the short-term outlook of the global economy. World Bank economists anticipate an improvement in most…
Fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden continues his fight for asylum - a concept that is grounded in ancient history. Fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden continues his fight for asylum - a concept that is grounded in ancient history. EPA/Kay Nietfeld

Snowden, Assange and the ancient history of seeking asylum

As Julian Assange remains inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London and Edward Snowden, last thought to be Venezuela-bound, attempts to avoid capture by an enraged United States, the grant of asylum has…
Greece is feeling the heat from its European creditors. Greece is feeling the heat from its European creditors. liako

Battle over broadcaster a sign of deeper Greek political woes

The latest political crisis in Greece began with a spat over the future of public tv and radio. The fragile political consensus among the three-way government coalition was finally broken with one party…
Greek protestors take to streets after the ERT shutdown. Greek protestors take to streets after the ERT shutdown. Yanis Varoufakis

The view from the studio, as Greece’s state TV was shut

For those of us who grew up in the Greece of the neo-fascist colonels, nothing can stir up painful memories like a modern act of totalitarianism. When the television screen froze last night, an hour before…
Greece: not just riots and unemployment. Greece: not just riots and unemployment. flikr/Imagaday

Europe’s latest investment opportunity … Greece

The IMF has conceded that mistakes were made in the way the first Greek bailout in May 2010 was handled. Its report suggests the need to refine the fund’s lending policies to accommodate for conditions…
The plans of far-right Greek political party Golden Dawn to visit Australia have caused much consternation in the local Greek diaspora communities. The plans of far-right Greek political party Golden Dawn to visit Australia have caused much consternation in the local Greek diaspora communities. EPA/STR

Golden Dawn: Greek fascists come Down Under

Melbourne has long been known as one of the biggest cities for Greek diaspora in the world, and the “world’s most liveable city” is fast becoming the latest battleground for the swelling fascist movement…
Fair contest: should we tinker with the rules in a free market? Fair contest: should we tinker with the rules in a free market? AAP

The AFL’s lesson for the global economy: changing the rules works

We all know the global economy is down the toilet. Even if we overlook the financial debacle in Greece, Spain, Iceland, Ireland – and that’s not easy – the big problem is Uncle Sam. Currently, the US Government…
Germany’s triple A rating has been given a negative outlook by ratings agency Moody’s, amid ongoing woes in Greece, Spain and Italy. Germany’s triple A rating has been given a negative outlook by ratings agency Moody’s, amid ongoing woes in Greece, Spain and Italy. AAP

From the periphery to the core: the unstoppable journey of the Euro debt crisis

On 23 July, the rating agency Moody’s put the triple A debt of Germany, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg on a negative outlook. The day after, the outlook on the European Financial Stability Fund was also…
Will super Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank, come to the Eurozone’s rescue? Will super Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank, come to the Eurozone’s rescue? AAP

It will take courage to end the Eurozone crisis

Today Eurozone leaders will meet in Brussels. On the agenda is nothing less than the survival of the euro. Officially, it is about Spain: Spain’s economic and financial woes show the urgency. Moody’s drastically…
New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras has promised a “new salvation” for Greece. New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras has promised a “new salvation” for Greece. EPA/Alexandros Vlachos

It ain’t easy being Greek: fragile coalition faces a Herculean task

Greece is a land of high drama. As fires ranged across the south of the country, stretching the emergency services to the limit; in the afterglow of their national soccer team’s astonishing win over Russia…
Greece’s New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras has gained sufficient votes to form a coalition - but there is a long way to go for Greeks yet. Greece’s New Democracy party leader Antonis Samaras has gained sufficient votes to form a coalition - but there is a long way to go for Greeks yet. AAP

Greece stays with austerity, but scenarios abound

Greece’s New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras begins the task of building a coalition after emerging as the front runner to form a government. Reports indicate New Democracy has narrowly beaten leftist…
In the aftermath of the Greek elections, there have been renewed calls to accompany austerity measures with pro-growth policies. In the aftermath of the Greek elections, there have been renewed calls to accompany austerity measures with pro-growth policies.

Austerity and growth: trying to make sense of a contradiction

Having read that the outcome of the Greek elections points to a continuation of the push for fiscal austerity in that country, my heart sunk. Then I see that our own Prime Minister has been quoted as telling…
Greece’s citizens are faced with an unenviable choice. Greece’s citizens are faced with an unenviable choice. EPA/Orestis Panagiotou

Greece’s choice: bargaining versus pleading

When two sides bargain, their interaction reflects a potential mutual benefit but also a measure of conflict. For instance, when a firm and its supplier reach a deal, there is often more than one price…
Worst hit by the Asian financial crisis in 1998, Indonesia’s economy has returned to pre-crisis growth rates. What lessons are there for Greece? Worst hit by the Asian financial crisis in 1998, Indonesia’s economy has returned to pre-crisis growth rates. What lessons are there for Greece? Flickr/Cillian Storm

Can Greece learn from the story of Indonesia in the Asian financial crisis?

European financial woes are mounting daily is what some have called the biggest economic challenge of our generation. However, just over a decade ago an even larger financial crisis was unfolding in Australia’s…
Alexis Tsipras, leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza) party, has proposed the cancellation of Greece’s agreements with the European Union and the IMF. Alexis Tsipras, leader of the Coalition of the Radical Left (Syriza) party, has proposed the cancellation of Greece’s agreements with the European Union and the IMF. AAP

With Europe at debt’s door, the future hinges on Greece’s election result

All eyes are on Greece this weekend for the second legislative election in five weeks. This is no ordinary election: the global implications of the outcome might be significant. Griffith University lecturer…
Alexis Tsipras will lead Syriza to the polls on June 17. Alexis Tsipras will lead Syriza to the polls on June 17. EPA/Orestis Panagiotou

Greek elections: the heart of contradiction

To free the age from its captivity, To create a brand new world, The discordant, tangled days Must be linked, as with a flute. –Osip Mandelstam, The Age (1923) There is an air of impending disaster in…
Austerity’s political cheer squad: but is the game over? G8 countries have committed to growth by setting sights on employment. Austerity’s political cheer squad: but is the game over? G8 countries have committed to growth by setting sights on employment.

Why do our world leaders cling to the dismal politics of economic austerity?

The lingering commitment to austerity of leading Western politicians in the face of impending economic tragedy is beyond belief. The dismal science is a sobriquet often wrongly applied to economics, but…
Generation Nothing: Spanish protestors against austerity in Cadiz. Generation Nothing: Spanish protestors against austerity in Cadiz. Aleksandra Hadzelek

Spain: dispatches from the frontline of the indignados movement

This week marked the first anniversary of the 15-M movement, a precursor of Occupy movements worldwide. 15-M again mobilised its supporters for a 4-day long program of street protests culminating in a…
Euro group chairman Jean Claude Juncker: “This is nonsense; this is propaganda.” Euro group chairman Jean Claude Juncker: “This is nonsense; this is propaganda.”

Greeks to go back to the polls - and back on the edge

“I don’t envisage, not even for one second, Greece leaving the euro area. This is nonsense; this is propaganda.” That’s Jean-Claude Juncker, Prime Minister of Luxembourg, chairman of the Eurogroup, speaking…
Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras would like to seek Greece withdraw from the Eurozone. Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras would like to seek Greece withdraw from the Eurozone. EPA/Simela Pantzartzi

Is the end of austerity the end for Europe?

Ten days ago, the political landscape in Europe changed profoundly. Greece voted in the main to elect parties from the far right and far left who are opposed to austerity, and France elected a socialist…
With Greek leaders still unable to form government more than five days after the election, the prospect of Greeks returning to the polls is strengthening. With Greek leaders still unable to form government more than five days after the election, the prospect of Greeks returning to the polls is strengthening.

Plus ça change: Europe wipes its leaders off the electoral map

The democratic executions of Nicolas Sarkozy in France and Lucas Papademos in Greece means the body count of European leaders guillotined by angry electorates has risen to 12. Sarkozy and Papademos join…
Greek citizens took their frustration out on the ballot box this weekend. Greek citizens took their frustration out on the ballot box this weekend. EPA/Orestis Panagiotou

Elections in Europe an assault on the austerity doctrine

The answer, even though they see over and over again that austerity leads to collapse of the economy, the answer over and over [from politicians] is more austerity. – Joseph Stiglitz, Asian Financial Forum…
In Ethiopia, the short food supply chain has enabled consumers and food growers to have a direct relationship with each other. In Ethiopia, the short food supply chain has enabled consumers and food growers to have a direct relationship with each other. Benjamin Shepherd

Sustainable food supply chains: what we can learn from Greece and Ethiopia

Poverty is definitely not some bucolic ideal that we should romanticise. It is ugly, brutal and should be fought against. But there are lessons from the poor that we, in affluent (and frequently complacent…
Satyajit Das: “I think the democratic process and the politics of the world relies on a very fragile construct. One is trust. And trust relies on economic growth.” Satyajit Das: “I think the democratic process and the politics of the world relies on a very fragile construct. One is trust. And trust relies on economic growth.” Supplied

Satyajit Das: Europe will have far-reaching consequences for everybody

Welcome to the latest in our In Conversation series, between risk analyst and author Satyajit Das and Kevin Davis, Research Director of the Australian Centre for Financial Studies. Satyajit Das is an internationally-known…
Not so funny…. Portugal is the next vulnerable Euro nation, but it doesn’t fit the German-favoured critique of a profligate country unwilling to undertake reforms. Not so funny…. Portugal is the next vulnerable Euro nation, but it doesn’t fit the German-favoured critique of a profligate country unwilling to undertake reforms. AAP

After the Greek rescue package: will Portugal be the next to fall?

Greece is rescued, for now…maybe. Perhaps it’s time to move on to the next basket case. So, which of the PIIGS is the next Greece? For the moment, Portugal looks to be the front-runner. The country’s public-debt-to-GDP…
Protests rocked Athens as Greek legislators voted to accept a tough austerity package. So what now for the Greek people? Protests rocked Athens as Greek legislators voted to accept a tough austerity package. So what now for the Greek people? AAP

Austerity in, Euro out – is this Greece’s future?

As Greek politicians approved a tough austerity package amid fierce protests, one question dominates: is an orderly exit from the Eurozone available for Greece? And just what might be the consequences…
The eurozone crisis is moving beyond “spendthrift” countries in need of rescue, to the rescuers themselves. The eurozone crisis is moving beyond “spendthrift” countries in need of rescue, to the rescuers themselves. AAP

Heart of darkness – entering the Eurozone’s end game

Early this week, sovereign bonds spreads for France and other Euro-core countries peaked. Around noon on Tuesday the spreads on French and Austrian 10-year government bonds exceeded the German bund rate…
Former EU commissioner Mario Monti will form government in Italy as Silvio Berlusconi exits. Former EU commissioner Mario Monti will form government in Italy as Silvio Berlusconi exits. AAP

Here come the technocrats, to save the Eurozone

Is the Eurozone about to crash and burn, leaving Club Med in its wake? Not so fast. Reports have suggested that French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have discussed a strategic…
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has said he will resign after losing parliamentary support. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has said he will resign after losing parliamentary support. AAP

As Berlusconi exits, is democratic reform the next real step for Europe?

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi appears set to become the largest political casualty so far of the Eurozone’s continuing inability to resolve its massive sovereign debt problems. Berlusconi, who…
The Greek Prime MInister is on the way out, but the new government has a lot of work still to do. The Greek Prime MInister is on the way out, but the new government has a lot of work still to do. AFP/Aris Messinis

New PM for Greece but will a new government save the country from the debt crisis?

The Greek Prime Minister will resign in an effort to save the bailout deal agreed by the European Union to dig the country out of its debt crisis. George Papandreou agreed to go following talks with the…
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou will use the referendum to try to win a mandate for austerity measures. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou will use the referendum to try to win a mandate for austerity measures. AAP

Pain or more pain? The political gamble behind Greece’s debt referendum

Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou has taken the bold step of planning a referendum on the country’s EU-imposed austerity measures, in a bid to claim a mandate for his efforts to avoid a default on…
The first free elections borne from the Arab Spring were held in Tunisia. Over 90% of registered adults voted. The first free elections borne from the Arab Spring were held in Tunisia. Over 90% of registered adults voted. EPA/Zacarias Garcia

Tunisian hope and Greek despair: A week in the life of democracy

It has been a tumultuous week in the life and times of democracy in the Mediterranean. Seven days punctuated by joyous hope and its ugly opposite, sullen despair. The promising news came from Tunisia…
The Occupy movement: different agendas, but united by the right to civil disobedience. The Occupy movement: different agendas, but united by the right to civil disobedience.

#Occupy movement: different aims, but united by the importance of civil protest

The “Occupy” movement has swept the world in the last five weeks, as seems appropriate in this year of demonstrations by people tired of a clapped-out status quo. Of course, the Occupy movement is quite…
A 40% public hospital budget cut has restricted access to care. A 40% public hospital budget cut has restricted access to care. AAP

Greece’s financial crisis takes toll on the nation’s health

Another round of violent protests erupted in Greece last week, following the latest austerity cuts to public service jobs and pay. Meanwhile, the creeping consequences of austerity measures are beginning…
If Greece’s economy collapses, it could easily lead to a breakdown of civil order. If Greece’s economy collapses, it could easily lead to a breakdown of civil order. AAP

What will happen if Greece defaults?

Global markets look set for a rough week amid new concerns that Greece could default on its massive debt. The Australian share market has spent most of the day down 3% after reports that Germany could…
Nicolas Sarkozy, Christine Lagarde and Angela Merkel share a joke at Thursday’s Greece bailout talks. Nicolas Sarkozy, Christine Lagarde and Angela Merkel share a joke at Thursday’s Greece bailout talks. AAP

Greece is safe for now; but could Italy push Europe over the edge?

European leaders signed off on a second, 109 billion euro bailout for Greece overnight, while also establishing what has been described as an “infant monetary fund” to intervene if the bloc’s sovereign…
Thursday’s make-or-break EU finance ministers meeting looks set to be a highly charged affair. Thursday’s make-or-break EU finance ministers meeting looks set to be a highly charged affair. AAP

Greece can’t be quarantined, so Europe will keep on giving it medicine

As Margaret Thatcher’s trade minister in the 1980s, Norman Tebbit devoted much of his time to dealing with the European Community – the precursor to the European Union. Routinely, at meetings in Brussels…
Many Greeks are ashamed by what has happened to their country. Many Greeks are ashamed by what has happened to their country. EPA/Orestis Panagiotou

Greece debt crisis threatens democracy

Athens is no longer considered by scholars as the birthplace of democracy but all of a sudden it has become the epicentre of a powerful political earthquake rocking the foundations of every democracy in…
“Indignado” protests prove a headache for Spain’s politicians but won’t threaten a greater Europe. “Indignado” protests prove a headache for Spain’s politicians but won’t threaten a greater Europe. AAP

Spain’s ‘indignant’ protests may hurt politically, but won’t threaten EU unity

As international markets react to the unrest in Greece amid fears of contagion, mass protests have also continued in fellow European Union member country, Spain. This protest movement, called the “indignant…
Despite attempts at regulatory reform, ratings agencies still act with little threat of litigation. Despite attempts at regulatory reform, ratings agencies still act with little threat of litigation. AAP

Should investors sue ratings agencies? It’s a matter of opinion

Standard & Poor’s downgraded Greece’s sovereign debt rating by three notches on Monday, reflecting its view that it would be next to impossible to imagine a scenario where the country could restructure…
Greece would be better off defaulting on its debt than languishing under tough austerity measures. Greece would be better off defaulting on its debt than languishing under tough austerity measures. AAP

A Greek debt default wouldn’t be a tragedy

A poll of international investors last month found that 85% expect Greece to default on its debt this year. As market expectations go, that is very high. Moody’s has since downgraded Greece’s already abysmal…

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