No one knows what the short-term outcome of the negotiations between the EU and Greece will be. I won't even guess. What I do instead is agree with Larry Elliott of the Guardian whose article published last night was headed:
Creditors' economic plan for Greece is illiterate and doomed to fail
Larry's logic was almost identical to that in the piece I wrote here when sitting in Copenhagen airport yesterday afternoon. Demanding more austerity from an economy that is already as depressed as the Greek economy is really does make no sense at all, unless, of course, the politics of the situation are taken into account. Then bullying and even persecution may be added into the equation and at that point an explanation for what is happening is possible.
Or am I being too kind? Could it be that those demanding Greece suffer yet further cuts are really so economically illiterate, and have an economic understanding so singly dominated by their perception of the relationship between the micro-business and its bank manager that they think that what they are doing is appropriate and even plausible?
I don't rule out vindictiveness for a minute: that is especially apparent in the attitude of countries like Portugal and Ireland. Nor do I rule out German debt paranoia, which they really do need to grow out of. But what really worries me is that some of those undertaking these negotiations might think they are doing the right thing. And that's really troubling.
Just as austerity is both wholly unnecessary and deeply counter-productive in the UK, so is the EU policy towards Greece profoundly wrong in economic terms. So the question is, are we really ruled by economic fools? Or don't they care because they feel so insulated from the reality of what they're doing? Whichever is true the need for change is very, very real.