10 Consequences of Greece’s ‘No’

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from Bloomberg Businessweek,

By heeding their government’s advice and voting “No” in the referendum on Sunday, Greek citizens sent an unambiguous message. Much like the fictional Americans portrayed in the movie “Network” who threw open their windows and shouted out, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore,” the Greeks are demanding that the rest of Europe acknowledge their distress.

At this stage, however, only a handful of European leaders seem willing to listen; and even fewer appear willing to deliver the sort of relief that Greece desperately needs. The implications will be felt primarily in Greece, but also in Europe and beyond.

Here are 10 consequences of the vote that could unfold in the next few days:

1. The victory of the “No” camp — with more than 60 percent of the vote, according to preliminary returns — will initially lead to a general sell off in global equities,

2. Having been caught off guard, European politicians will urgently seek to regain the initiative: Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and President Francois Hollande of France will meet in Paris on Monday to work on a response.

3. Greek and European politicians don’t have much time to get their act together. The horrid conditions in Greece will get a lot worse before they improve.

4. As hoarding increases, shortages of goods, including fuel and food, will intensify. Capital and payments controls will be tightened. The economy will take another worrisome step down, worsening unemployment and poverty. And the government will struggle to pay pensioners and the salaries of civil servants.

5. As a result, the government will be under mounting pressure to issue some type of IOUs to maintain a sense of a functioning economy. If it does, the IOUs will take on the role of a parallel currency, quoted domestically at a discount to the single currency.

6. Outside Greece, a lot of thought will be given to limiting adverse spillovers. The ECB will most likely have to roll out new measures to contain regional contagion

7. All parties involved will find themselves slipping into their Plan B mode. This transition will probably be much more traumatic for Greece than for the rest of Europe.

8. With the ultimate goal of countering as quickly as possible the likelihood of further human suffering, pain and uncertainty, Europe has the instruments and institutions to limit contagion and maintain the integrity of the euro zone.

9. It is quite doubtful, however, that Greece will be able to restore its status as a full member of the euro zone. Indeed, without very skillful crisis management, it is at high risk of becoming a failed state.

10. Finally, expect an explosion of blame. This unproductive activity may end up delaying Europe’s urgent need to internalize the lessons from this sad outcome: A series of broken reform promises by several Greek governments was made worse by political stubbornness, poor analysis and inconsistent follow-through by Europe, which is contributing to the loss of Greece as a functioning member of the family.

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