Cash for coastlines: Germany suggests Greece sell islands to balance the books

Paul Raven @ 09-03-2010

Further indications of the corrosive effect of corporatist economics on the nation-state: German politicians suggest to Greece that it balance the books by hocking off a few spare islands and a national monument or two [via BLDGBLOG]:

Alongside austerity measures such as cuts to public sector pay and a freeze on state pensions, why not sell a few uninhabited islands or ancient artefacts, asked Josef Schlarmann, a senior member of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, and Frank Schaeffler, a finance policy expert in the Free Democrats.

The Acropolis and the Parthenon could also fall under the hammer, along with temptingly idyllic Aegean islands still under state ownership, in a rush to keep bankruptcy at bay.

“Those in insolvency have to sell everything they have to pay their creditors,” Schlarmann told Bild newspaper. “Greece owns buildings, companies and uninhabited islands, which could all be used for debt redemption.”

Greece here is being explicitly viewed as a corporation, one whose assets include rights of sovereignty over areas of the planet’s surface which could be valued and sold in order to pay off monetary dets; how short a step is it viewing the corporation as a nation? Let’s say UberMunsterLagerNeu! Schallplatten Gmbh* buys a few of those Greek islands; would they be any more or less a legitimate nation in terms of actual excercisable and enforcable rights than the Dominican Republic, or Sealand? And if so, why?

[ * If you need to ask whether this is a real company name, you probably need a day or two away from the internet. 🙂 ]

Be Sociable, Share!

One Response to “Cash for coastlines: Germany suggests Greece sell islands to balance the books”

  1. Martin says:

    I do like your analysis, but selling and buying land between nations have long been a practice in history, right? And selling and buying islands, to corporations or individuals, is hardly a new thing either? But of course, if Greece went all in with this advice, it would result in some interesting results.

    However, I think the step we are waiting for, in terms of corporation-nation-convergence, is when the nation sells its _rights_. E.g. selling ownership of land is not new, but the nations have always claimed final authority (in terms of defence, collecting tax, applying its laws). When they start to sell those rights to the corporation, then we can truly talk about convergence.