Courtesy of Jason Kottke, here are some good articles, in which people try bravely to explain the things that I fear I'll never understand.
- Greece Saunters Across the Autobahn
If you want to predict what people will do in most financial situations, then figure out what is in their narrow self-interest to do, and assume they will sooner or later figure it out, too. But that doesn't work when people's behavior isn't confined to the narrow channel of self-interest.
- Felixsplainer: I haven’t been paying attention. What’s going on in Greece?
For the first few decades after the war, it worked very well. But today the different European countries are deeply suspicious of each other. There’s an especially deep divide between the rich/creditor northern, Germanic countries and the poorer/debtor Mediterranean countries. Europe as a coherent political entity exists more in theory than in practice. And without political will, the economics simply doesn’t work.
- 5 things you need to know about Greece's financial meltdown
On pensions, the EU wants Greece to stop people from retiring early, as 75% of its public-sector employees do. Europe wants Greece to raise the retirement age to 67 years old — the same as Germany's — which would be a big change from Greece's current retirement age of 61 years old.
- Everything you need to know about this unfolding Greek tragedy
Although unwelcome, stiffing the IMF is not considered a default by the main credit ratings agencies, which are focused on debt held by private-sector lenders. The IMF also gives late payers warnings and some time to clear their arrears before publishing an official notice of default.
Clauses in Greece’s debts to the euro zone’s rescue fund and the ECB include provisions to call in loans if the country misses a payment to other creditors, but officials suggest that they wouldn’t be quick to enact these clauses as long as there is hope of reaching some sort of deal that would keep Athens afloat.
- Greece debt crisis: Live Coverage
European Union President Donald Tusk has warned the Greek people that voting no in the referendum will not give their government more leverage to seek a better bailout deal: "Every government has a right to hold a referendum, therefore we respect the Greek decision. However, one thing should be very clear: if someone says that the government will have a stronger negotiating position with the `no' vote, it is simply not true. I'm afraid that which such a result of referendum, there will be even less space for negotiation."