As all (or almost all) of you have probably heard after the breakdown in talks between Greece’s far-left Syriza government and its creditors, the former chose to have a referendum on the creditor’s offer.
There are several problematic aspects of this referendum, the most important one being that few Greeks (or non-Greeks for that matter) really know the details of the disagreement between the Greek government and the creditors. Not even I know as news reports give contradictory descriptions. The fact that most Greek voters won’t know what they’re voting about is obviously problematic.
What I do know however is that the basic mentality of the Greek government, both in the election that sweeped it into power and in this referendum is : “We want creditors to give us money while also write down our debt levels because that’s what our people want”. Now, within families, it often happens (usually between parents and children) that “loans” are given that aren’t meant to be repaid, meaning that they are in effect gifts. And that is of course OK. But none of Greece’s creditors want to give away money to Greece, and neither elections nor referendums in Greece are going to change that.
So the position of the far-left government is completely unrealistic. If they get their way in the referendum (the polls released so far show contradictory results) then they will run out of money as creditors have been very clear that they won’t be getting any more if that is the result.
And the whole idea of voting (whether in a general election or a referendum) displays a kind of robber mentality where you get to decide whether you should get other people’s money. Except the Greeks, unlike street robbers, don’t have the threat of violence to force others into giving them money.