Greece to be a debtors’ prison: email exchange

In the interests of transparency we’re publishing this exchange of emails relating to the Greek financial crisis.

Sat, July 4 2015, 8:00 am:

Gnaedige Frau Merkel

This is to report that it has been necessary to set up a debtors prison for the Greek population. Naturally our Greek business friends, financial colleagues and, in general, the better sort of Greek people, will not be incarcerated. According to reliable reports known to the International Monetary Fund they have been able to take their money to Switzerland or they have invested it in the London property market and other safe havens. Thus the principle that only the little people pay taxes and that they must be made to pay the debts of Greece will be safeguarded.

I am sure that you agree that when our colleagues at Goldman Sachs helped the Greek government with its book keeping so as to make possible all those loans to Greece over a decade ago neither they, nor we, anticipated such problems. First we had that idea from the staff of the IMF in 2012 that the debts could not be repaid and should be written off – which would have wrecked the banks and financial institutions of France, Germany and the US. Say what you like about Dominique Strauss Kahn’s sex parties he did us all a favour by ensuring that Greece was loaned the money to repay our banks and those of the French – I can’t imagine that we would have got very far if we had sued Goldman Sachs for the money because they helped our friends in Greece prettify the governments accounts. For goodness sake, that is what banks do! That is what they are there for! The latest Greek government has shown a distressing naivety in that regard. The European Central Bank is not located in Frankfurt accidentally. As the strongest economy in Europe we can out compete anyone else in Europe now they cannot devalue a separate currency against our currency. We did nicely there – since we can out compete them all the money must come to us eventually to pay for our goods – and then they will have to borrow it from us to be able to do anything. Beyond that we will have every reason to keep on squeezing them until we own everything in their economy – and there is no room in that vision for subsidising pensioners. I mean pensioners don’t even work. They are too old to be a migrant labour force. They are complete financial parasites.

Despite all this being blindingly obvious I have however to report a new impertinence from the upstarts of the Greek government. They are resisting getting the pensioners to repay the debts but we will soon be able to take care of that.

Yours Schauble


On Sat, Jul 4, 2015 at 3:36 PM:

Dear Schauble

Thank you for the update on the Greek periphery. I have taken the opportunity to copy our
friends at Serco. They will no doubt be in touch with a business proposition for the new prison
shortly. It is important that the Greek public sector unions do not get their hands on such a
potentially lucrative business.

I don’t think it matters much to us what the result is tomorrow. My only real concern now is
the actual debt write down. As you know the plan has been to replace Syriza with a more
agreeable government and then offer them a small write down of debt that they can dangle to
the Greek peasants as a sign of success. Unfortunately I am not entirely sure that we can do
this now. I had been assured that since we ‘kicked the can down the road’ ( I love those
anglo-saxon metaphors) four years ago, we had successfully ring-fenced the various risks to
avoid any contagion. My new experts tell me that the previous experts were in fact somewhat
optimistic in this regard – or may have been. I am told, (please bear with me here) that
‘no-one knows’. As you will appreciate this somewhat offends my deterministic view of the
cosmos, and I did wonder if they had been watching too many Varoufakis videos, but the
situation does, I believe, warrant some caution.

I am advised that the best immediate measure is the usual one – we just change the rules.
We can apparently redefine what a ‘credit event’ is, so that whatever happens a default
doesn’t trigger the multi-trillion CDS derivatives exposure of DeutscheBank. Incidentally the
new men at DB are mystified how the previous CEOs were misinformed, but there you go
that’s capitalism for you. (see ‘Information Assymetry’ on Wikipedia – bit of an eye-opener).

I also took the opportunity of asking the DB crowd their view about the US vulture funds that
still hold some of the Greek debt because Obama doesn’t want them inconvenienced and
causing a fuss in the run up to our little TPP celebration party. They hadn’t thought much
about that, being too absorbed with their own problems.

Ah well. All will become clear.Off for a few days rest now at our timeshare at the Eagles Nest.

Pip pip (as George says).

Dr M

July 6, 2015 at 11 am:

Hiya Wolfie and Angie,

I see the markets are looking a bit wibbly-wobbly since the Greek people were allowed to think they had a choice about their future yesterday, and so am chipping into your discussion (thanks for the cc, Angie!).

Yes indeed, we’ll be delighted to provide anything you might wish for. If you have a ballpark figure for the number of detainees you anticipate that will help with our planning. Also please don’t forget that we can supply prison tags, stun guns, drones etc as required*.

Talk soon, pip pip!

Rupert Soames
CEO, Serco

*Note: Fees are subject to unexpected and abrupt inflation.

July 6 2015 at 3 pm:

Hello Angie (and Rupert)

Yes the markets are wibbly wobbly but let’s celebrate. The main thing is that that upstart Varoufakis is gone. We should have expected the vote against the plans for debt prison but now we do not have to endure meeting a man who does not wear a suit and tie. Last night he was seen in a tee shirt. If we do not dress up in our official role people will start to believe that we are ordinary people. To be a member of the governing elite we to have to convey formality, sobriety, proper respect for long standing convention. How can we expect that people will do what they are told and pay their debts unless the most elementary principles of conformity are adhered to by the people who are their betters? The arrogance of the man was extraordinary, lecturing us about economics. I know about economics – I trained as a lawyer and how much else do you need to know? If people do not pay their debts everything that is sacred in the world will dissolve. This man had to go and we have toppled him. Never mind the ballot that was the main thing – he will never again pollute the corridors of power.


Brian Davey, Graham Barnes and Caroline Whyte

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