Why wait for politicians to sort out a mess when you can do it yourself?
This week the Greek financial crisis has reached a critical point, with fears of a run on the banks meaning citizens are now limited to taking out just €60 per day. Months of negotiations on extending Greece‘s cash-for-reforms deal with the Eurozone have collapsed, and the government will hold a referendum on Sunday to ask the people whether or they accept or refuse the harsh terms (increased austerity measures) of the European Central Bank (ECB). This could be the toughest decision Greece will ever have to make. Whichever path the people choose, the consequences are dire.
One concerned English citizen, tired of European leaders’ impotency in solving this mess, has decided to take matters into his own hands. Thom Feeney, 29, has set up a crowdfunding page on IndieGoGo to raise the necessary €1.6bn ($1.7bn) to bail out the country. He explains: ‘All this dithering over Greece is getting boring. European ministers flexing their muscles and posturing over whether they can help the Greek people or not. Why don’t we the people just sort it instead?’
If this sounds a little naive, let Thom’s positive thinking inspire you: ‘The European Union is home to 503 million people, if we all just chip in a few Euro then we can get Greece sorted and hopefully get them back on track soon. Easy’, he writes optimistically.
Well, he has a point. A small contribution of €3 ($3.32) from every European citizen would indeed raise enough money to achieve this ambitious aim, and so far over 78,000 people have chipped in. There’s still a long way to go before the deadline next week, but donations have already passed the million euro mark, which isn’t bad at all for a five-day-old campaign.
‘Crowdfunding can really help because it’s just a case of getting on and doing it,’ Thom writes on his campaign page. ‘I was fed up of the Greek crisis going round in circles. This isn’t just about Greece, but about the Greek people, the working classes and trying to help other ordinary people across the world. If governments, corporations or banks won’t help, what can we do but band together? To help an economy recover we need investment and stimulus, not cuts and austerity.’ Hear, hear.
‘ We can help our Greek cousins by buying wonderful Greek produce such as feta, olives, wine and more,’ Thom suggests enthusiastically. ‘And maybe considering Greece as a holiday destination. That’s part of the idea behind each of the perks on the crowdfunding page. Trade will help Greece and the Greek people out of their current situation.’
To do this, Thom’s ‘perks’ are as follows: Pledge €3 and you’ll get a postcard sent from Greece of Alex Tsipras, the Greek Prime Minister. (‘We’ll get them made and posted in Greece and give a boost to some local printers and post offices’, Thom reasons). Pledge €6 and you’ll get a Greek Feta and Olive salad, €10 will buy you a small bottle of Ouzo, and a €25 donation a bottle of Greek wine.
‘So come on, order a Feta and Olive salad, maybe wash it down with an Ouzo or glass of Assyrtiko Greek wine, and let’s sort this shit out,’ Thom encourages us. His positivity is inspirational to say the least, but will it work?
‘I’m confident the people of Europe will get this campaign and some time soon we’ll all be raising a glass of Ouzo and having a bloody great big celebration,’ Thom says.
But who exactly will be celebrating? As much as we love bypassing politics and thinking outside the box, a few people online have pointed out a flaw in Thom’s plan: the bailout money wouldn’t necessarily help the people of Greece, it would go to the bankers and financial institutions who created this tragedy in the first place.
The embedded RT video report features Jim Rogers, who predicts a Greek collapse and summarizes this problem by saying: “I’m sure they will reject the EU terms [in the referendum]. The problem is, this means the citizens are going to be suffering. The bailout is for the banks and financiers. Let them go bankrupt and start over.”
What do you think? Is Thom’s idea ingenious or misguided? Should Greece reject the offer and take the risk of returning to their former currency, the Drachma? We’d particularly love to hear from any of our readers in Greece on this issue.
Update, 8pm 2nd July 2015: The IMF has just announced that Greece needs to find an extra €50bn over the next three years. It looks like Thom’s campaign might need all the help it can get.
This article (An Alternative Solution To Greek Crisis: Man Sets Up Crowdfunding Campaign To Pay Back Country’s Debt) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and TrueActivist.com.