Bullish on Greece
A blog on business, economy and trading in Greece and abroad
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A retired teenager turned businessman and investor, Thrass Kalochairetas has a commitment to investment and profit in Greece and abroad.
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Τετάρτη, 17 Νοεμβρίου 2010
15:06

 Καλώς, με διαγράψατε δια μίαν εισέτι φοράν,  αναμενόμενο, το ιστολόγιόν μου διατί το κλειδώσατε? 

 

Μπορώ να έχω το ιστολόγιόν μου (Φρόνημα) πίσω? Ευχαριστώ. 

 

Θρασύβουλος

 

 

 

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Κυριακή, 12 Σεπτεμβρίου 2010
18:50

 Hello and happy new (Greek orthodox) year or season if you prefer. If there is one piece one needs to read in order to understand the true nature of what is going on in Greece, let the Vanity Fair piece below be it. It just shows what has been evident to me for a long time: the financial bankrupcy of this country was preceeded and caused by a moral and civic bankrupcy seen only in some sub-Saharan or other third world societies. In short, the massive loss of of value seen in assets was preceded by a massive loss of values both at the level of society (if one believes that such a thing exists) and the individual.

 

Read the VF piece (underlining mine) and you will understand the state of this bankrupt nation better.

 

Excerpt:

 

That’s how it feels in the financial markets too. The question everyone wants an answer to is: Will Greece default? There’s a school of thought that says they have no choice: the very measures the government imposes to cut costs and raise revenues will cause what is left of the productive economy to flee the country. The taxes are lower in Bulgaria, the workers more pliable in Romania. But there’s a second, more interesting question: Even if it is technically possible for these people to repay their debts, live within their means, and return to good standing inside the European Union, do they have the inner resources to do it? Or have they so lost their ability to feel connected to anything outside their small worlds that they would rather just shed themselves of the obligations? On the face of it, defaulting on their debts and walking away would seem a mad act: all Greek banks would instantly go bankrupt, the country would have no ability to pay for the many necessities it imports (oil, for instance), and the country would be punished for many years in the form of much higher interest rates, if and when it was allowed to borrow again. But the place does not behave as a collective; it lacks the monks’ instincts. It behaves as a collection of atomized particles, each of which has grown accustomed to pursuing its own interest at the expense of the common good. There’s no question that the government is resolved to at least try to re-create Greek civic life. The only question is: Can such a thing, once lost, ever be re-created?

 

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Τρίτη, 27 Απριλίου 2010
23:56

Dear Angela,

 

OK, OK, you know it, I know it. The Greek political establishment, full of dynastic politics and populist stupidity has ruined its chances. The people too, I know, we mostly live in our own world. We like liar politicians, after all mythology is a Greek word. But we no longer speak about the rats of Athens that can manage nothing, not even the other rats. We talk about a country and a whole Union.

 

So, to cut the long story short, I think it is about time you gave Greece the help promised. I know, i know, I hate those idiots running the show far more than you do- after all I live here. I loath the corrupt state, the state-sponsored "business-people", the fat-cat journalists repeating the same old populist lies, the armies of good-for-nothing-else civil servants.

 

But a fire in this remote village could translate into a wildfire sreading all over Europe. Now, we don't want that, do we?

 

So, let's make a deal: you give the funds to cover the (also: your) banks' exposure to our debt and you ask to make the whole local system behave in a more European way. Less lies, more numbers and transparency, less lost wages on lazy asses and more productivity, fewer civil servants. Oh, yes, and less black payments from Siemans and Co. 

 

It's plain simple. Ask and you shall be given. Say it right and we will come by your side. But please give first before this whole thing gets way out of control.

 

Thrass will side with the forces of life and justice for Greece, anyhow.

 

 

The time is nigh...

 

 

 

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Πέμπτη, 8 Απριλίου 2010
21:10

 Nothing to surprise the friends of Thrassos Kalochairetas out there. There is pain, there is moaning, there is pessimism - and the complulsory fire-and-brimstone. The only thing that is there not is cash. The famous "loaded gun" our PM celebrated for turned out to be somewhat defective. And unsurprisingly the markets are trying hard to trigger it. 

 

A member (Logistakos) of the forum revealed its form and I have the pleasure to present it exclusively in the bloggosphere:

 

 

And yet not all is lost. In fact I am pretty confident that this too shall pass. After all once upon a time this country used to be among the best, not the worst. Times change. We will find our selves and will be back

 

 

I put Helena with the wonderful ancient Greek translation here firstly because she's a babe (one of my favorite and a Number 1) and secondly because it is mostly  people who have lived or are still living outside or have some other outside view from this populist sewage-pit called "modern-Greece politics" are likely to appreciate good things...

 

We'll be back!!!

 

 PS And we'll be "rescued" out of this one way or the other well before June...

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Παρασκευή, 19 Μαρτίου 2010
01:10

The rumour spread like wildfire in the cafes and bars of central Athens: the former National Mint has finished the new 10.000 drachmas banknotes and is going to start with the lower denominations. I immediatelly placed a bet that  this was sheer nonsense. For one, nobody on their right mind would start with such high denomination for a currency that would be destined to have the fate of ultra-inflationary drachma of the 80s and early 90s. More likely to have a unit that is more expensive than the Euro, something like 2 Euros for 1 new-drachma. At least for the first few days since no-one should doubt the future of such an entity.

 

On  the other hand, I loathed the idea of resurrecting the drachma once more (it was an ancient name, adopted for the national currency in 1832, not long  after the Independence War of the 1820s). No, we need to give credit where credit is due (so to speak). So since this whole mess can be traced back with extreme accuracy to the unbelievable financial maladministration of Andreas I, Papandreou II (an Economics Professor) of the 1980s, father of the current Prime Minister (George II, Papandreou III) who would adopt it, I immediatelly suggested that the new currency should be named papandrachma.

 

Now, I have little doubt that papandrachma will ever be implemented. Why? Because it is not in our creditors interest. With a simple calculation it would take the Greek debt just a bit less than 12 years to double at borrowing rates over 6%. This is impossible - since nobody would lend us that money with a National debt well over 100%. So the Government has to give land-and-waters (as our ancient kinda ancestors would say) at a good price to the people who would give us any money. Plain simple. The Germans are just playing a hard hand of poker before they bring the third PM of the Papandreou dynasty to his knees - oh, yes, and the rest of us too. Knowing the German Right-wingers as I do ( that is: a little), I suspect they cannot resist to prove to their voters that they will teach the having-too-much-fun Greeks a lesson and the socialist PM another.

 

That of course is not to say that the country is not a mess. The second Papandreou of the dynasty, Andreas, put anyone he could on the public payroll, either as a civil servant or a... pensioner. The statist centre-right (labels in GR have little meaning) PM who led us to the latter stages of the fiscal drama (who should be present on the papandrachma coins methinks), Karamanlis II, finished the job by hiring several hundred thousand others who did not qualify under Andreas since they were not... socialist.

 

Now the numbers in a country of ~10 Mio have as follows:

civil servants or other employees dependent on the State: 1,05 to 1,3 million (estimates vary as nobody knows!!!)

pensioners: 2,5-3 million (ditto)

employees in the private sector: 1,8 Million

 

the rest are self-employed, famous for ingenuity in paying no taxes, or not working. Ah, yes there is also about 800.000 unemployed already.

 

Now given the simple beauty of numbers, in this Universe, it seems hard for the productive 1,8 Mio regurarly taxed employees to feed the 1,05+2,5+0,8= 4,35 Mio (conservative estimates) that depend mostly on their taxable income. But this State has undertaken the promise to pay those 4,35 accounts every month. Hence the argument that papandrachma would help a lot to keep its promise - in papandrachmas of course. Obviously, the creditors (i.e the decision makers) are another kettle of fish.

 

Plain simple, the numbers do no add up.  So what will hapen? I'd bet on a bad bailout. The PM will try (and most likely manage) to protect the armies that his father put on the payroll, armies that have voted him with gusto, despite his shortfalls, mostly because of his dynastic name. They will give land-and-water but they will not give up their salaries. Sad, but expected in the papandr-ideology country.

 

Now, things are rolling and there is already a timeframe for action. When? No period better than the Greek Easter, this year on April 4th. We have 4-5 days of national holidays, Good Friday to Tuesday after Easter, so if the papandrachma comes (which I dare not think) it will be then. Given that Maundy Thursday is also April 1st, any policy would be seen as a joke and by Easter Sunday, people are so absorbed with consuming innocent-but-roasted lambs that you could pass anything. Alternatively, the far-far more plausible scenarios of EU-IMF bailout also have the same timeline - if not earlier. Personally, I have difficulty to see that the Germans would be so self-destructing as to let Greece fall. My guess is still that they - and several other interested parties- will sooner or later bail us out - with a heavy price.

 

Some of us still hope that those who'd bail us out could ask the Government to cut down the wasteful and corrupt State by firing some of the hundreds of thousands the dynasties made us pay.

 

But then again some think that pigs might fly. Or that a papandrachma could be a serious currency.

 

 

 

 

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Greece is no longer experiencing a true renaissance in business and trading. The country suffers great uncertainty and the economy faces significant challenges. Thrass Kalochairetas explores the phenomenon and discusses the developments.

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