“To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them.”
To greek or not to greek your debt. “Greeking” is a new verb that indicates “the willingness to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing them, end them”. “Extending and pretending” has the opposite meaning, and is equivalent to suffering and enduring “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”. After years of experimenting with extending and pretending, greeking debt is the new paradigm. ¿Will they stick to their guns?
It matters a lot. Because we are likely to follow different routes depending on the survival of the debt sustainability fantasy. We can’t really know who will “greek” first, and when. The Greeks are the obvious frontrunners, but anybody else could also opt for “greeking”. In fact, a lot more will “greek” sooner or later. The powers that be are hoping for extending and pretending, but Tsipras and Varoufakis could be the worlds first to “greek out” and dance Sirtaki (like Zorba). Maybe sometime this year.
Greeking out greek debt is only the tip of the iceberg. I find it particularly ridiculous when we engage in endless discussions over the pretended rate of growth of the top line (world GDP nominal growth), and we fail to mention the ocean of debt that encircles us in a spiral of seemingly eternal growth. The recent Mackinsey report gives me a great chance to further elaborate on this point. Just take a thorough look at the 57 trillion “debt recovery” that has been taking place over the last seven years. Take your time because there’s a lot of info there.