WINTER SMOG ENGULFS CITIES. People are heating their homes by burning whatever will burn. The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson explains: “Cut from the mountains surrounding Athens, charred in the stoves and fireplaces of middle class homes, and blown through their chimneys, the unnatural cloud hovering over the capital city has become a bleak metaphor for one of the worst economic depressions in modern European history.” The pictures are incredible.
A German traumatologist—trained in assisting communities after acute trauma—explains in the Frankfurter Allgemeine what he saw in Greece last month, where “the reality surpassed his gloomy expectations:”
—Pregnant women with no money and no insurance going from hospital to hospital to find someone to help them deliver their babies
—Recently middle-class people gathering food scraps from the streets
—Those that are admitted to hospitals must bring their own bedding and food
—Doctors and nurses, who have not received pay for months, cleaning toilets in hospitals because everyone else has been fired
—The suicide rate has doubled in the past three years
via Naked Capitalism
Nothing we have to worry our little heads about because “the United States will never, ever turn into Greece.” Matthew O’Brien explains why, in this executive summary:
[Things are about to get very wonky below, so my editor forced me to sum up things here. The two main conclusions are: (1) For countries that can borrow in their own currency, like the U.S., higher debt doesn't clearly lead to higher interest rates. (2) For countries that don't control their currencies, like Greece, it's borrowing too much from foreigners (NOT borrowing too much in general) that clearly leads to much higher borrowing costs ...]
New numbers out today! Zero Hedge reports: —26.8% of people who want to be working and are looking for work are unemployed.
—56.6% of people age 15-24 (“YOUTH”) who want to be working and are looking for work are unemployed.
—Both numbers are all-time highs and “perhaps in a few months, the total number of inactive workers (3.34MM) will surpass all those who are working.”
So that’s how that is going.
Pharmeceutical companies are cutting drug shipments to Greece because public hospitals haven’t paid their bills, and because drug prices in Greece are lower than in other EU countries (“It’s a disgrace. The government is panic-stricken and the multinationals only think about themselves and the issue of parallel trade because wholesalers can legally sell them to other European nations at a higher price.”). It’s working out pretty terribly for patients.
PULLQUOTE 1: “The government has drawn up a list of more than 50 pharmaceutical companies it accuses of halting or planning to halt supplies because of low prices in the country.”
PULLQUOTE 2: “In Athens and Thessaloniki, Greece’s second city, chemists say they are often overwhelmed by people desperately trying to find life-saving drugs. Oscillating between fury and despair, the customers beseech pharmacists to hand over medications that they frequently do not have in stock.”
Al Jazeera reports that with 1,000 workers losing their jobs each day in Greece, many people are fleeing cities to work on farms. Alexandra Tricha is a former scientist who now works “growing gourmet snails.” She says: “The work is labour work, it was very difficult for me. I’m a girl, I was raised in Athens, I was having everything done for me. And now I have to dig. I feel like Scarlett O’Hara – the land is my strength, I think that when you have the land you can feed yourself, you can produce anything, you can be happy …. We can’t expect anything from the government, they have proven so many years that they are useless, so we have to do it ourselves.”