A definition of chutzpah is murdering your parents and then claiming social benefits as an orphan. It is not widely recognised, but the IMF illustrates similar brazenness in the current debate on Greece’s debt burden.
While not exactly pretending to be an orphan, the IMF is currently getting a lot of sympathy for its position: it has come out increasingly strongly in favour of debt relief for Greece. On realistic assumptions the debt burden is unsustainable. The country can only recover if there is substantial debt relief. Its most recent debt sustainability analysis claims it was forced to provide loans when the euro crisis broke, alongside European institutions, against its better judgement, but now only massive debt relief will work.
Its realism has been welcomed, and contrasted favourably with the EU (and its German paymasters), which against all reason are insisting on more-or-less full repayment of past loans. In so doing the IMF has been feted by Greek commentators, the many EU citizens/taxpayers sympathetic to the plight of Greek citizens, and much informed economics commentary.
One certainly does not need to think of the IMF as a murderer. But one should be aware of three things. First the IMF was not simply an innocent [Read more…]