What the bosses have in mind for Greek workers
September 13, 2011
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Austerity, and more austerity.
The bosses demand that U.S. workers work harder for less; they demand it of Chinese workers; and they are demanding it across Europe — where a better-organized working class is waging at least symbolic strikes and other protests, though as yet there has been no genuine general strike.
The New York Times publishes a column suggesting that the only way to “discipline” Greek workers to get them to accept their fate is to expel Greece from the Euro zone. Then the drachma can find its own level, and impersonal market forces can reduce Greek workers’ standard of level to the appropriate level. “Greece may require living standards to decline by as much as 40 percent to become competitive.”
This can’t be done through the political process, columnist Martin Hutchinson suggests, because Greek workers would never accept it. But “free markets” can do the dirty work if people just get out of the way. The resulting decline in living standards would encourage other European governments to impose austerity measures and “reforms.”
And this is indeed the way “free markets” work, if you leave the bosses free to do as they choose. If workers want to hold onto what little we have, let alone make any progress, we have to organize to accomplish the task.