Talking to Paulo Nogueira Batista (Harald Schumann on the trail – the complete interview)


Mr. Nogueira Batista, when the Euro crisis
started in Greece in spring 2010 and the Greek government asked for financial assistance,
what was the recommendation of the IMF staff in its first report, how to deal with this
request? Well, when the…when the crisis erupted in
Greece the IMF was…in a very difficult situation. Because the Europeans initially were very
reluctant to allow a member of the Euro area come to the Fund. They thought this would
be a downgrading of the…of the importance of the Euro area which would stigmatize in
some sense the Euro area. So, paradoxically the Europeans were undermining the…the program…at…in…at
an initial stage, yes? And later they realized that they had no option
and they decided to…to even pressure Greece to come to the Fund. And when Greece finally
did come, the crisis had already…ahh…de…deteriorated in…in a very strong fashion and the Greek
situation was very…very delicate. So the one…one big issue that arose at the time
in the IMF was, whether the Fund could lend exceptional amounts of resources to Greece
because under the rules this could only be done if the debt could be…perceived as…sustainable,
meaning payable according to schedule. And the IMF staff was very reluctant to say that
outright. So, what happened…ahh…and this was a pretty bad moment for the IMF, was that…the
rules were changed to suit the situation. A new…and a new condition was introduced
to…oh yes, you…the Fund can lend enormous amounts of money to a member country, even
if the debt cannot be said to be sustainable with high probability. Provided that the staff
can also say that there is a risk of spillovers, international contagion. So…so the rules, the internal rules of the
IMF were changed over night only because of Greece? Because of Greece and not because of Greece,
I would say, but because of the…situation in the Euro area and the risk that…ahh…the
Greeces and the crisis in Greece could…transform itself into an overall crisis of the Euro
area. Then there was a…a change in the rules that allowed the Fund to make an exceptional
amount of resources available to Greece without the staff being able to say that the Greek
debt was payable with a high degree of…of…probability. So, this was a…this was a…an ad-hoc emergency
solution that was found at the time. At a cost! At a cost, of course. Because the cost
is reputation. And there are no firm rules and…and depending
on circumstances the…rules are bent or changed to suit…ahh…major shareholders. But the European directors probably argued
there might happen a domino effect in the Euro area and this is the main reason why
we have to do this! Were they right? This is the…the argument that was used.
Let’s introduce a new…ahh…a new…ahh…a new feature in the rules and say yes, even
if a country has a debt that is perceived as doubtful in its repayment capa…capability…if
that country poses a risk of international contagion, then the Fund can proceed with
large loans, exceptional access to use Fund jargon…ahh…for that country. So, that
was the argument that was used, a danger of contagion was a danger that…ahh…was…ahh…invoked
at the time. But this was quite contentious in the board,
wasn’t it? It was…it was…ahh…I was in the board
at that time already and…ahh…what disturbed me…ahh…at the time in particular was the
fact that the rules were changed in a non-transparent manner. In the sense that…ahh…(laughs)…you…you
had to look very carefully at a very extensive report to see that the rules were being changed. Ahh…it…it was not an…an item on the
agenda? It was not explicitly on the agenda, so it
was…it was very…ahh…very bad move, I would say, because…ahh…I…I realize of
course that there was an emergency situation, that the Europeans were desperate, that…ahh…Europe
has a lot of influence in this institution and they…they went ahead. But…ahh…the
manner in which it was done was not conducive to trust and to…and to the credibility of
the institution…including, you know, this…this what I’m telling you know…this…has since
leaked the whole minutes of the…me…meetings on Greece at that time… …have…have been made public…ahh…in
the press. And this has done a lot of harm to the credibility of the institution. Because
you…may say, well, how can we trust an institution that has rules but then suddenly changes them…in a…in a sudden manner…ahh…without…ahh…without …adequate preparation … without even I
would say adequate discussion at the time. So, we were…not …not only…I…others
were also…disturbed by the manner in which this was done. Let me tell you first of all…I
must say something: I’m the executive by…director for Brazil and…ahh…ten other countries
in…in the executive board of the Fund. But I don’t speak on behalf of the IMF. No, of course not. I’m speaking on a personal…in a personal
capacity here. As an Executive director. No, otherwise we
would have to ask…ahh…Mrs Lagarde. (laughs) That’s right! Or her deputy! That’s right. No, but under the rules I’m…I’m
always obliged to clarify that expressly. […]… No, no, we will make it clear with
the insert that you are the executive director for Brazil and ten other countries and nothing
more. Yeah. But even…that’s a lot! That’s clear from the context that I’m not
speaking on behalf of the Fund because I think that damage was done to the credibility of
the institution by the way it was conducted in that time. You said this would done in an intransparent
manner. Usually, when something…things like this are done in an intransparent manner there
are certain interests which are served. Whose interests have been served by this decision? Well, I think, first of all…ahh…Greece…wha…you
see, often you…you speak of that Greece is…people say…ahh… Greece is being bailed
out, Portugal is being bailed out…or Ireland is being bailed out. But in reality, I think,
it was the bail-out of the private creditors of Greece that we…that we saw at the time. In the sense that…ahh…many important banks,
European banks, other banks had a large exposure in countries like Greece and …what…what
happened was that the large amount of resources lent by the Fund and even more by the European
official sector, allowed these creditors, these private creditors of Greece and other
crisis countries to exit from their exposure at part…with no discount, without…without
making concessions. So, in a sense there…the…the…well, Greece was forced on this major adjustment
program which.. at a high social cost and…ahh…and the debt was transferred from the hands of
private creditors to the official sector. Does that mean Greece was…in a certain way…sacrificed
for the sake of Europe’s big banks and global financial stability? Well, you could put it that way…Greece was…Of
course the political consent, the political majority, the political system in Greece did
not want to leave the Eurozone…it had gone too far in terms of insertion into the Eurozone…
and they were ready to pay the costs of…of doing what the Europeans and what the Troika
thought that…ahh…Greece and other countries had to do to remain in the Eurozone. But of
course the cost was immense and what is now being discussed in…in Washington is looking
back on this experience of Greece and other countries…what can you learn from this?
Can we continue like this with a situation where…ahh…private investors, private creditors…generate enormous imbalances, create…ahh…potential instability and then they change their behavior
suddenly and…draw…draw down their…their claims suddenly. And what…what will the
official sector do…the IMF, the Worldbank, the ECB, the European Commission…will they
be simply stepping in to allow…to bail out…not the countries in reality but mostly the creditors. Something has to be done and this is under
discussion. To find a way to…while preserving…stability, trying to preserve stability, the rights of
creditors, but balancing that against what I think has been a…a bias in the current
system, a bias towards…ahh…privatization of profits and socialization of losses, to
use a sentence that has been used a lot in other contexts too. Hm. Ahh…Back then when the decision was
taken – has it not been under consideration to do a prior debt restructuring, debt reprofiling,
debt relief…to make the Greek sovereign debt sustainable? Because this would be the
economically sensible way to…to manage it. That’s the point…for example, I made at
the time in our written statement – I’ll give you a copy of our written statement – Yeah. – if you wanna have a look at it – the one
we presented at the board for that first programm. So you…you’ll see that what
I’m saying is not…ahh…ex-post fact… Not in hinsi…hindsight… Hindsight wisdom, no. But anyway it’s…ahh…I
think, a case could be made that…ahh…Greece and…the…official sector… …would be…would have been better off…with
an upfront debt restructuring. It did happen as you know, but it took a long time… Well…ahh…two years later! When… Much later, after much sacrifice and after
many of the creditors of Greece had exited and transferred the onus of financing Greece
to the official sector. Now when you say transfer the onus of financing Greece to the official
sector, that means in last analysis to taxpayers of these countries. Yes. Of course. Or the nationalized banks and via the nationalized
banks the taxpayers. For example, in Germany it was the Hypo Real Estate which had been
nationalized, bailed out, and had a portfolio, I think of 15 billion Euros sovereign bonds
from Greece. Ahh… That’s writedown… So…they…these have…had to be written
off… Yeah. …at 50%… I think, what you saw in Greece and in the
Euro crisis is a…is an aspect of a wider phenomenon. In the last, say 30, 40 years
there has been an enormous increase in the power, economic, financial, political of the
financial sector. In the world. And in the North Atlantic countries
very clearly. So, this has created enormous distortions, I think, because these special
interests, these private interests have come to control and influence the political decisions
in a manner that is alarming. And it’s not conducive in my opinion to stability, to fairness,
to social balance, you know? And now what you’re seeing in Europe today, in the Euro
area is this, that …the countries have paid an enormous price to adjust to these…to
these hegemonic interests. And the social and political cost is being paid to fatigue
with…with all this process. The erosion of the credibility of the Euro area, of the
European Union. I know, that there has been recovery… Hm. …in the Euro area…or…it’s there, you
can see it in the data. But it’s very slow, very slow. We’re gonna discuss this in the
board on Wednesday, tomorrow. Hm. And you’ll see later…you see that there
is some glimmer of recovery in the Euro area…even in the countries that are…were most affected.
But unemployment is at still…is extremely high, long term unemployment very high, youth
unemployment very high. A whole generation is being wasted… We’re just coming from Portugal. 2.000 young
people every week leave the country. I hope they’re going to Brazil! (laughs) Cause we need young people…(laughs)…we
need young, qualified people. For Europe you have…the destruction of skills, because
people don’t acquire skills, they lose the skills they have, right? Or you have loss of people, as you say, people
that emigrate from Greece, from Spain, from Portugal…in se…seeking opportunities outside.
So it’s a…it’s been a destructive process. I hope Europe will recover, I think Europe
is beginning to recover from this long crisis but it has been…this has been done at an
extremely high price. The programs for the crisis countries
were based on the assumption that austerity, meaning harsh cuts, harsh budget cuts could
consolidate the states finances. But in Greece it soon turned out that the cuts made the
domestic demand collapse and…so the recession became a depression, worse than in the…in
the 30s of last century. Was it an accident or was it done on purpose? Well, I…I think that the…the…the…it
has been shown that the application of single minded austerity in some… circumstances
is very destructive of prosperity. Destructive of the level of activity, of the level of
employment, of public finances themselves. Because it can become self defeating. You
cut expenditures, you cu…you increase taxes but then you compress demand and erode the
basis on which…ahh…the…the taxation…ahh…is taken from. So this makes the deficit more
difficult to reduce, hm? So…and unemployment requires supports, so that’s a source of expenditure,
so the experience has…has shown that of course you need to adjust, you need to have
your…your finances be put in order…Greece for example, in the run up to the crisis had
had a very imprudent fiscal policy. Very…ahh…very unsustainable fiscal policy.
So a correction was necessary. Once you enter into a process of decline of activity, if
you simply add to that…further fiscal austerity then you produce, not only recession but even
depression. And what you have in Greece to this day…to this day… It is a depression! Is…a level of unemployment is…that is
reminiscent only of the…the sort of unemployment you had in…in the Great Depression of the
1930s. That’s…that’s what you see in Greece and Spain for example also. So…austerity
yes, I think it’s important but it can’t be the only recipe. I think, for example, in
the case of Greece, I don’t see how the country will emerge from this long period of…of
recession without something else. And this something else needs to be a…debt restructuring,
debt…relief. My…my question was…couldn’t that have
been expected? Couldn’t that have been predicted when such harsh budget cuts…I think it was
in…only two and a half years budget cuts of 18% of GDP…yeah? Ahh…couldn’t it have
been expected that it…this would produce a depression? Well, I think…ahh…the IMF…the IMF has
recognized that and the European authorities underestimated the extent to which the fiscal
austerity would undercut growth. The multiplier effects of…of…austerity… But…but was it only an underestimation?
This…sounds like an accident, you know? Oh, sorry, we have done it wrong! But for
example I’ve…I’ve read a memo from the IMF staff… Hm. …written for the European executive directors,
dated from March 2010 and saying, I quote, „the fiscal contraction will cause a sharp
contraction in domestic demand and intend a deep recession, severely stretching the
social fabric.“ This is exactly what happened later! So…they knew what they were doing! Yes, well…everybody knew that Greece…and
other countries would go to a recession but what I…what I think is, if you look at the
data that was produced at the time, probably the…the de…the deepness, the…extent
of the recession and the extent of the increase in unemployment was not fully foreseen. And
so… when looking back at the crisis, the IMF staff has…ahh… assessed that the multipliers
associated with fiscal cuts…were higher than initially thought. Well… The direction… I do…I do ask because when we were in Greece… Aha. …many critics and economists, trained economists
said, well, look…these multipliers they have assumed…we could have told them… Yeah. For example, I talked to an economist, he
said, I met with the IMF staff back then, I predicted what would happen if they would
apply this kind of budget cuts. Yeah. And they rejected my projection and two years
later I came to them and said, well, look here, it’s exactly what I said to you what
would happen! Ahh…so…there is…you may call it a conspiracy theory but many people
in Greece at least, believe that the numbers have been cooked in order to produce a program
which seemed at least superficially according to the rules! Ahh…but that in fact everybody
knew what would happen and that Greece was…was…was to be sacrificed! Yeah. I’ve already knew that Greece would
suffer enormously from the…the situation. Yeah. But…ahh…it is…you know…it’s very difficult
to make precise predictions in economics. Specially in periods of high instability.
So, I wouldn’t go as far as saying that it was a deliberate attempt to…cook numbers…I…I
think that…well, that’s perhaps an exaggeration. But I don’t know. (laughs) You don’t know. Well, but…I only put this
question because one of your colleagues, the…the…from India, Mr Arvind Emani, he…in his statement
back then, which has been leaked, he warned very clearly that the program in Greece was
bound to fail. Hm. And he said…he predicted… Yeah. …exact the situation which later happened. Yeah. Ahh…that’s…that has made many people particular
in Greece suspicious what was going on there. Yeah. What…why this warnings have not been taken
serious? Ahh…you know, I think…ahh…what the Greek
program…Greek situation illustrates is that the worst thing that can…happen to a country
is to fall into the hands of…an inter…international bureaucracies… (laughs) …that know better what they…the country
needs to do. And…for example, even to this day, the extent of intervention in…in Greece
is amazing. The Troika has designed a program for Greece that is such a detailed program…it’s
a complete government program. Ahh…administered from the outside. Now, can that work? Perhaps.
But it’s…I…I’ve rarely seen that work because if a country does not…a country
should know what to do. It knows its problems. It know its priorities. It’s not some bureaucracy
in Washington or in…or in Berlin or in Brussels that will say to you, look, you have to do
this…just look at the last program! It’s a public document. There is…hundreds and
hundreds of conditions that the Greeks had to fulfill. Yeah, I’ve read it, yes. (laughs) Yeah, so…I think…ahh…well, Greece is
not entirely blameless because in the run up to the crisis, policies adopted in Greece
were very weak. Hm. So, Greece needs some structural adjustment,
needs some…needed some adjustment. It has done a lot in terms of fiscal adjustment already.
But…ahh…I have no doubt that…ahh…you know, even the issue, in retrospect, maybe
it’s too late now to say that…ahh…in retrospect …one wonders whether Greece should have
had…should have been a member of the Euro area at all. Because we just had a discussion
yesterday in the board about Iceland. Hm. And Iceland… And how they managed it, yes. Iceland, in my opinion, has…has…has done
better than the Euro area countries. Of course. So, I asked yesterday on the board: should
we not wonder whether Icelands performance compared to the performance of the Euro area
countries that are in crisis is not due to the fact that Iceland had its own currency,
could devalue, could introduce capital controls, could do an upfront debt restructuring? So
Iceland did all that and given the rules of the Euro area, the countries like Greece could
not. They could not devalue, they could not restructure, they could not adopt capital
controls. And…so they went through this…this pure, let’s say, German style adjustment (laughs)
at a high…at a very high cost. Extremely high cost. Mrs Lagarde…the…the Executive Director
of the IMF said last year, „in May 2010 we knew that Greece needed bailout but not
that it would require debt restructuring. We had no clue that the overall economic situation
was going to deteriorate as quickly as it did.“ In the light of what was actually
said in May 2010 in the board… what we know now from the leaked statements…(laughs)…this
is not very credible, is it? Oh…I think…ahh…there was…there was
enormous un…uncertainty to say the least… Yeah. …about whether Greece could pay the debt.
So, there was a perception and many people…outside and inside the Fund, I…myself included that…the
situation could not be dealt with by…without restructuring the debt. So, we had a clue,
of course. At least we had a clue! (laughs) Yeah! We had a clue that the situation was extremely
difficult and it might…it might have been convenient for some at the time to say, oh
no, we don’t know…we…we are…we were surprised, etc. but the fact is that…ahh…looking
at the numbers, specially when it came out that the numbers for Greece in the run up
to the crisis had been substantially distorted – when that came out it was clear that…ahh…the
situation would not be at all easy. After it was clear that the…the concept
of pure austerity does more harm than good, why then did the IMF and the other creditors
not learn from this and change at least the design of the programs for Portugal, Ireland
and Cyprus? I think…ahh… the Troika is a…is an unbalanced
arrangement where the dominant force is the European side. Hm. The IMF is…a junior part…partner of the
Troika. First, because it’s Europe, right? So, it’s…it’s Europe’s problem and Europe
wants to handle it. Second, because most of the money that comes from the Troika comes
from the Europeans…less from the Fund. So, the Fund was in a minority role there really.
It…ahh…it…it…sometimes adopted I would…should say in fairness, the IMF adopted a more flexible
approach then the…European…German-dominated European side. Hm. So, sometimes I think the IMF did a counterpoint
that was useful but on the whole, I think, they were overtaken by events. And only very
late…so it was always the…the syndrome was always too little, too late. Too little,
too late. And in the meantime, the situation in Greece became more serious and more serious
and only more…very recently did we have…a…a few glimmers of improvement in the situation
in Greece. About which unfortunately most of the Greeks
have no glimmer at all. They don’t see this. Ahh…another core element of the adjustment
programs and as far as I know this is an element which the IMF staff has pushed very hard is
the so called internal devaluation. Meaning, decrease of wages in order to make the countries
economies more competitive. Ahh…and the…the…the consequences were…that the Troika imposed
radical reforms by which the workers lost nearly any social protection, people can be
dismissed without reasons, severance payments were cut or abolished and…and the system
of collective bargaining has been almost completely dismantled in…in Greece, in Portugal, in
Ireland…ahh…trade unions missed…we’ve talked to in…in Portugal for example, they
call this class-struggle-by-law! Are they right? You see, the problem is…that Greece being
a member of the Euro area it…it hadn’t…it didn’t have the option…to devalue its… Yeah. …to do an external devaluation. So, the
jargon is, in that situation the country has to do an internal devaluation. The internal
devaluation is an euphemism for compression of…prices and wages, uh? Hm. Now this is extremely difficult to do. Because
if you…if you compress wages in nominal terms you tend to produce a situation where
the economy, the price…the price level falls and the debt, fixed in nominal terms, become
more onerous. So even if you can regain competitiveness which is…is extremely painful and slow by
compressing wages and prices, in the process of doing so, you increase the debt burden
of the country in real terms. And…and you interfere in the social and
industrial rel…relations in the country. Yeah? You…you…you weaken the trade unions…ahh…you
empower the employers…ahh…you change the social fabric! That’s…that’s inevitably what’s happening
and…every time …a high, high and persistently high unemployment…ahh…occurs in a country
the bar…bargaining power of labour is eroded, automatically…of trade unions, of labour
and that’s what’s going in Greece and in other countries of the Euro area. No doubt. But so far in none of the affected countries
have these measures led to the creation of more new jobs! That’s true. If…if you… Many…you know, many…many Greeks and Portuguese
say they fell like guinea-pigs in in a…in a large neo-liberal experiment as they call
it. Can you understand? Yes, I can because they’re…they’re going
through wrenching process of adjustment with no…you see…when you go through a very
difficult process of adjustment, you have a light at the end of tunnel, no, we are gonna
do this for one year, two years, three years but then we have a prospect of recovery. That’s
something different. But what…what makes the situation in countries like Greece…ahh…and
others but Greece is the most serious one, very disturbing is that you don’t see the
prospect of growth. When you ask the Troika, tell us, where is growth gonna come from in
Greece? Where is employment gonna come from in Greece, Portugal…ahh…Italy, Spain,
you don’t see a clear answer, you don’t. You see a hope that…ahh…by persisting
in a…in tough…ahh…adjustment…in tough structural reforms, confidence will return
and then the economy will move. So, this confidence, this mysterious confidence factor is…sounds
more like a hope than as…like a…a concrete prospect. And in the meantime, unemployment
is at or near record levels in a…in the Euro area. In most countries of the Euro area,
notably in the periphery. When I read the programs and the reviews in
all these crisis countries, I always wondered why did…do these…these officials, these
technocrats as they are called…why do they not care about the distribution of the burden
on different parts of…of the society? Why always only the workers and…and the ordinary
taxpayers have to pay but the privileged elites, the bankers…ahh…capital owners…ahh…they
are…remain more or less untouched. They are even the winners of the process when they
can buy…state assets at…ahh…bargain prices, yeah? Ahh…this must produce a feeling
of being treated unjust by foreign…powers in the population. Isn’t this a big danger
for the…for the IMF itself as an institution? I think it is. I think the…the IMF cannot
be perceived as…as supporting policies that are…ahh…that lead to concentration of
income, that lead to…a…weakening of the social fabric. I think the Fund at least rhetorically,
the IMF at least rhetorically recognizes that. Yes, it did. In an…an evaluation report
on the Greek program. Yeah. Yeah. But when this pro…pro….I have read this…this…this
evaluation, yeah? In…in summer…I think in June 2013. And I said, wow…they have
realized…they have done it wrong. Hm. And then I…we travelled to Greece…so we
asked what was the consequence…of this report? Yeah. Did you propose a…a…levy on…on high
fortunes or higher in…inheritance tax? Nothing. No. So…it has been said, it has been admitted
but it had no consequence. So rhetoric…rhetoric recognition of the
problem is not enough and…ahh…what we need to do is to push the institution towards
a better recognition of the social effects of its policies. Ahh…we’ve been trying to
do that in this chair, in the Brazilian chair and I think…if I may so, Brazil is…is
a country that can have a role because we…we now we are creditors of the Fund, but not
so long ago during my lifetime… Yeah. …ahh…Brazil was under the same…ahh…sort
of process during the debt crisis of the 1980s, 1990s, so I think Brazilians realize better
what it is to be under an IMF program, or even worse under…under a Troika program,
yeah, which could be even more rigid than the traditional IMF program. So, I think we…we
try to play a role within our limitations, to…to explain to our colleagues that the
point of view of the debtor countries needs to be taken on board more clearly. Not only
of the countries in…in abstract but of the populations. As you see…the whole point
of…of this is to preserve European Union, we don’t want to see European…European continent
fragmented again into dis…into nationalities that fight each other. How can you do that?
You need to have legitimacy in the policies that are adopted. And they cannot be legitimate
if they are perceived to be structurally unfair, or persistently unfair. And that’s the risk, I think that the European
authorities have not yet faced up to completely. Isn’t…isn’t it generally very…risky to
grant so much power to unelected officials who are not accountable to any parliament…not
even to a court of auditors or something like that? They…they…they can do what they
want. They’re…they’re out of control, aren’t they? I think that’s a big, big issue. It’s…it’s
a big issue in the context of Europe because we have these what de Gaulle called the…technocracie
à patrie…ahh…in Brussels taking decisions, unelected officials, you have here in Washington
international bureaucraties…bureaucracies. I’m not excluding myself there. It was so
distant from the problems, I have never been to Greece. So, I haven’t seen the problems
in the field. I wish I could it go to Greece, I’m ready to go as soon as I have an opportunity
but, you don’t really feel the problems of the country…of the countries. When you are…
you know, in a protected environment like Washington or Brussels…and this is a dangerous
situation for a country to have some many of its decisions, crucial for the future of
its citizens in the hands of people that are not in touch really, you know? Not in touch.
Of course, you have the missions, you have the staff that goes to the countries but…that’s
not a situation that I would wish for any country to be…to have its destiny decided
in Brussels or in Washington. Or both in Brussels and Washington. One Portuguese union leader we talked to last
week, told us he wants the responsible members of the Troika to be brought to the court.
He said, they violated our constitution, they have broken all conventions about social rights
and labour rights we have, so we have to bring them to court. What do you think about this
proposal? No, I didn’t hear about that…ahh…whether
it’s possible…I think these international organizations can in…invoke…ahh…immunity.
I believe, I’m not a lawyer, but I believe that they… They have it! They have immunity. They have…they have… They can invoke immunity. And…ahh…this
brings…me back to the point you made before because if you have immunity, you are not
elected, you don’t run for reelection so you have not, you don’t…you are not accountable
in the sense that an elected official is. This creates a problem. A problem of…ahh…of
a…of a…generating a…situation where the risks…involved in the decisions are
very high for the countries. So, my…if I were Greek…like I’m Brazilian and I know
because we’ve gone through that…in the 80s and 90s…my wish would be to be able to sta……
at one point in time to do what Portugal and Ireland have done already. To exit from Troika
programs. This would be a…a major goal I think for any country that wants to regain
hold of its…ahh…future. Thank you very much!

11 thoughts on “Talking to Paulo Nogueira Batista (Harald Schumann on the trail – the complete interview)

  1. Danke für den Upload, besonders dieses Interview fand ich in voller Länge sehr wertvoll, um ein differenzierteres Bild von dem Interviewpartner aus der Doku zu erhalten. Ich fühle irgendwie den Zwiespalt, indem er zu stecken scheint – einerseits an den Nutzen von Austerität und co (in Grenzen) zu glauben und gleichzeitig zu sehen, dass es nicht funktioniert und Gesellschaften zerrüttet.
     Bei solch hochrangigen Ökonomen würde mich mal interessieren, wie sie auf die Idee kommen, dass Lohnsenkungen einen positiven Einfluss auf die Wirtschaft haben, wenn ihre Wirtschaft nur zu einem geringen Teil Export betreiben und besonders die Binnenkonjunktur relevant ist, die durch massive Lohnkürzungen sofort zerstört wird.

  2. Hr. Schumann, Vielen Dank für den ausgesprochen wichtigen, Ihren letzten Dokumentarfilm ergänzenden Beitrag, sowie für Ihre gesamte Arbeit. Die Tatsache, dass ein deutscher Journalist diese Belange hinterfragt und der Weltöffentlichkeit zur Verfügung stellt halte ich für eine wichtige Leistung insb. im Sinne einer hoffentlich künftig guter Verständigung mit unseren griechischen und sonstigen Nachbarn. Die z.Zt. Herrschenden haben es also mustergültig versaut. Hoffen wir auf neue Generationen und Veränderungen, die ja unabdingbar sind.
    Weiter so!. 
    Das Interview von KenFM (05.04.2015) mit dem Journalisten Ernst Wolff, der dort als Autor des Buches "Weltmacht IWF" Rede und Antwort steht, stellt m.E. eine sinnvolle und zielführende Ergänzung zu Ihrem Beitrag Wolffs Aussagen stimmen alles andere als positiv. Das gesamte Interview wird wohl für die weiten Massen lehrreich sein,  Ab Min. 24:00 erklärt der Gast die neo-lieberale Markt-Philosophie. 
    Ab Min. 42.00 erläutert Herr Wolff den Trugschluss, dem viele verfallen, wir lebten im Gesellschaftssystem, das Demokratie heißt. Zitat: "Die Herrscher gehen zum IWF, weil es den herrschenden hilft. Die Politiker vertreten ja nicht das Volk, Wir leben ja nicht in einer Demokratie. Demokratie heißt es ja, "die Herrschaft des Volkes" Wir leben auch hier in Deutschland nicht unter der Herrschaft des Volkes, sondern unter der Herrschaft der Finanzindustrie. Die Finanzindustrie beherrscht unser gesamtes Leben. Die Politiker, die an der Macht sind, sind nichts anderes, als Erfüllungsgehilfen der Finanzindustrie." 

  3. It is not just thousands of young Portuguese leaving the country every week.  It is also seniors (e.g. 90 years old) being evicted from the houses they have been renting and living in for 50 years without being given an alternative living arrangement.  There is therefore criminal behaviour going on in terms of social engineering, some silent erasure of an entire people, I do not want to mention what it makes me think of because the past is past and we need to be united and humane in the present in order not to repeat unreapeatble stuff.  watch?v=gC2ezqB9IFg

  4. "…leading up to the crisis Greece had a very imprudent fiscal policy…" Say, for example, billions spent on German weaponry? Did the Troika in it's infinite wisdom fix these issues? No, wait a minute, they demanded that those billions kept being spent leaving, literally 4 or 5% of the "bailout" tranches actually going to support people/services in Greece. It is past time for an independent and external audit to determine what money was spent on and under who's direction. Look to Ecuador for a lesson. THEN, we can discuss how much needs to be paid back and to whom.

  5. Right: Its nobody's fault… it's the "monkey's fault" as we say in Portugal. No one is willing to assume any responsibility for this social genocide that in time will be named by its true name: WAR.

  6. How moving: the qualified Portuguese expelled by their government from their country can go to Brazil to work…. how moving…

  7. How moving: the qualified Portuguese expelled by their government from their country can go to Brazil to work…. how moving…

  8. Paulo N Batista: "it's very difficult to make economic forecasts"? Really? How about asking your Mother? You know, normal people that run families…. they know the answers that you guys there at the IMF are, as we can see, incompetent to find.

  9. Sorry, but an insider who says "he thinks it was the private creditors they were bailing out not Greece"? He thinks either he fucking knows or he does not.

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