Greece and Us

Greece's woes will become ours

I read a compelling blog post last week that explains how the situation in Greece, along with Peak Oil will potentially be the cause of an imminent societal breakdown. Greece, as part of the European Union, is using a shared currency that we all know as the Euro, and as such, is tied very closely to the union. The country has insufficient funds to be able to pay the government employees - from the highest ministers to the lowest civil worker - beyond the next couple of weeks. To remain solvent Greece will have to borrow from other countries. Those countries that have lent in the past and may be in a position to lend again have put conditions on these loans with respect to austerity measures that have made the Greek people rebel and strike. Obviously the citizens of Greece are not welcoming these austerity measures which leaves the government stuck between that deadly rock and the hard place.

The blog post goes on to say that in past currency break-ups, things wound themselves down in mostly an uncivilized manner. Riots, breakdown of law, mob rule and so on could set in with only authoritarian power being able to wrest control in a manner that ensures stability. This is the situation in Europe - the member countries want to keep Greece in the union to avoid civil unrest and in the meantime Greece is struggling desperately to stay afloat.

How would this affect us here in North America? I believe the first signs are already present with stock market volatility that appears to have no end. What comes next is likely continued contraction in stock value, employment count and increases in foreclosure and bankruptcy. As more people lose their jobs and more people lose their homes they will no longer be spending as the good consumers our governments would like us to be. This lack of spending will put more people out of jobs and more businesses will close, creating a positive feedback cycle that so far, only Quantitave Easing has been able to quell. Enormous dumps of money created out of nothing will not and can not go on forever, eventually things will have to change.

Rising unemployment and rising debt will bring economies in North America along the same path that Greece is on presently. There will come a time when government payroll will become problematic, there will be a time when civil unrest will start due to austerity measures. In the European Union some of the richer countries have helped to bail out Greece up until now, who will bail us out here?

What are we to do? Dmitry Orlov has written a lot and explains a key solution that I believe we should all be working towards. He describes an iron triangle as home-car-job. If you can find a way to live outside the need of these things, you will be protected from any of the contractions that we are facing. Getting rid of the car and the job is easy, learning how to live without a home is the tricky part.

I'll be getting his book, Reinventing Collapse, and once I've read it, if the question about living without a home is not answered, he'll be hearing from me and I'll be publishing another hub with his answer.

More by this Author


Comments 19 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

The talk shows on television had much to say about this topic this morning. We will be impacted but since our currency stands alone and is not tied to others (such as the Euro) we can hopefully address our own problems.

We have to curb our borrowing; increase production of products and do more exporting and also raise taxes and reduce spending on social programs (much of which will not be popular) but necessary none-the-less or else we will be slowly following in the footsteps of Greece which obviously does not work long term.

Some painful choices lie ahead and our "employees" in Congress and the Presidency better get to work and quit playing politics!


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec Author

Peggy, when the politicians' most prominent concern is being re-elected, they are unlikely to act in ways that are necessarily good for the future. What political leader would raise taxes? What leader would decrease spending?

It really takes a strong leader with a vision who has the ability to explain to the masses that troubling times are coming and that cooperation is key. Before Obama was elected I thought he might just be such a leader, but so far he has done little to nothing to turn things around.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas

Our country, and its citizens (us), is defintely facing some uncertain and difficult times ahead. I would be very interested in seeing the solution to living without a home or a car (which you could live in). Although, when land was mostly unowned, the American Indians did it all the time, even in the extreme cold.


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec Author

An idea I had recently was to buy a typically sized home but then do some severe renovations inside to make four very small apartments inside. If you are okay living in a small apartment inside such a home, the three renters would be paying your living expenses.


homesteadbound profile image

homesteadbound 5 years ago from Texas

That's a very interesting idea to consider. I will have to share it with my husband and see what he says.


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec Author

I also really like the idea, but with a wife and three kids, we can't live in a small apartment.


mtsi1098 5 years ago

An excellent read and good heads up for North America. I sincerely hope that everyone reads this and does their part for iron triangle living. I think if debt could go away so would the need for the three sides. thanks...bill


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec Author

It is quite a challenge to willing lower ones standard of living, but the more people that manage to do this, the better off we'll all be. Thanks for stopping by!


Cogerson profile image

Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

I know you wrote this hub 5 weeks ago...but I found the information still very useful...especially since Greece is really back in the headlines again...if they ever really left. Voted up and awesome and scary...even if we do not have that button.


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec Author

I agree that we could use a scary button, but then, probably, we'd need a whole bunch of other buttons also.


sweetie1 profile image

sweetie1 5 years ago from India

I have been watching CNBC last few days and stock markets all over world tanked on news that their PM asked for refrendum. It is being said on TV and must be true that greeks dont want to work 8 hours a day so countries like Germany got to ask their citizens to work more to bail out Greece. Now this is worst, if they dont wish to work then they got no right to expect anyone else take them out of problems. I think it might be painful for world economy but they should be allowed to go in poverty and debt well over they can repay.. because they dont wish to work to improve their financial condition they are in or tighten their belts and want to live on borrowed money.


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec Author

sweetie, it is a very difficult situation, if the people in Greece do not want to be forced to adhere to the austerity measures, they have that right, but as you say, should face the consequences. The problem is that the consequences will go way beyond the borders of Greece, which is why the EU wants to help them out.


leroy64 profile image

leroy64 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas (Oak Cliff)

Phil,

In the US, before one subdivides a home into apartments, one should research the local zoning laws, if there are any.

If you are in an unincorporated area there will not be any.

Cities tend to control housing densities with zoning regulations. Sometimes the fines are non-existent and sometimes they are draconian.

I am not familiar with Canadian zoning practices; and, that would be an interesting hub to me.

I like the idea of property that generates income; and, that is a very different idea from property as an investment. My grandparents used to have a green house in their backyard and sold flowers to local businesses. Of course, they lived on a farm. That could be adapted to city life, I think.


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec Author

Yes, I would certainly check with zoning regulations, however, if it was strictly prohibited, I'm not certain that would stop me - it would be a matter of letting the tenants know that they should consider themselves roommates of a shared home rather than an apartment dweller.


leroy64 profile image

leroy64 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas (Oak Cliff)

lol - Zoning rarely stops anyone; but, it does give an upset neighbor some ammunition. Once the rebuilding is done, then most cities won't make you tear things down. That is from my experience. Were you thinking of a community kitchen and rooms with their own exits? It's been done before. Be sure you expand the pantry. Most people underestimate the need for food storage.


leroy64 profile image

leroy64 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas (Oak Cliff)

Sorry Phil, the designer in me started thinking. Housing designed for boarders is an interesting thought.


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec Author

Well, I hadn't given too much thought to the design, though I did figure that each mini-unit would have what is described as a wet bathroom, like they have in RVs. There would be a shared laundry facility somewhere in the building, but as for shared kitchen, I'm not so sure about shared.

With respect to separate exits, that would be a change to the exterior that would really tip off neighbours and outsiders that we are having a multi-tenant single family home.


leroy64 profile image

leroy64 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas (Oak Cliff)

All architects use a verbal description of what the client is expecting to start designing. About two pages of notes will work for a house. Drawings are sort of a middle step. You've started designing your remodel.


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec Author

Yes I have, but it is only in a dream world; I haven't the budget or the willing wife that would allow for such.

As a child I dreamed of becoming an architect, that got lost in the shuffle somewhere.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working