How Not to Understand International Economics (it’s easy)

by Robert Arvay, Contributing Writer

I used to be so naïve that I actually thought that economics is understandable, at least by economists. Silly me. A simple reading of a newspaper is all it takes to set anyone straight on this matter.

Take the European union, for example. You no doubt have read that Greece has been borrowing kazillions of euros from Germany and other European countries. You no doubt have read that Germany wants some assurance that some day it might get at least some of that money back. Silly Germans.

In order to get that assurance, the Germans have asked the Greeks to stop spending zillions of Euros on exorbitant salaries for its government workers, to raise taxes to help pay off the debt, and in short, to stop throwing money around like drunken sailors (and please believe me when I say that I have the utmost respect for drunken sailors, because after all, they spend their own money, not Germany’s).

Here is an unofficial wording, slightly edited, of the Greek position on the matter.

Dear Germans: How dare you try to tell us what to do with your money? After all, it is your money, not ours. We don’t tell you what to do with our money that we never lend to you. So stop telling us what to do with the money you lend us. Stay out of your business, or else we will threaten not to pay you back— which of course, we can never do anyway. So there, take that, you big bad lenders of kazillions of Euros that we desperately need to delay our economic collapse for a few more days, after which we can never pay you back.

There. Now you understand that there is no understanding of economics.

You’re welcome.

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