What’s the top hit for a Google search of “Greek bailout”? Depressingly, it’s not a thorough economic analysis of how to get Greece out of debt. It’s a goofy Indiegogo campaign to crowdfund €1.6 billion. And the campaign is fast approaching €1 million.
Yes, everyone’s heart seems to be in the right place in this instance. But a crowdfunding campaign is not going to fix Greece’s problems. Even if they raise that €1.6 billion ($1.8 billion) that they’re looking for (minus Indiegogo’s 4 percent cut off the top, of course), the money won’t even scratch the surface in helping to alleviate their problems.
The campaign was started by a 29-year-old man in London named Thom Feeney, who is understandably tired of politicians mucking up the world’s economy. Feeney figured that a crowdfunding campaign might be the answer. Sadly, it’s not the answer. Not even close.
“I was fed up of the Greek crisis going round in circles, while politicians are dithering, this is affecting real people,” Feeney told CNBC. “While all the posturing is going on, then it’s easy for the politicians to forget that.”
And while Feeney might be absolutely correct that politicians created this mess, I might humbly suggest that politicians are going to have to fix it. Putting aside everything else, the infrastructure of internet crowdfunding can’t even handle the incredible amount of interest in this story. The campaign’s website has been spotty, with Indiegogo noting yesterday that they were experiencing connectivity issues.
But more importantly, the €1.6 billion is just the beginning of what Greece owes. The amount Feeney is raising on Indiegogo is for a loan from the IMF that the country just defaulted on yesterday. They have more payments due in the coming weeks to other creditors and in all likelihood they’re not going to be able to pay those either.
The sad truth is that however noble the intentions of the contributors, this crowdfunding campaign is not going to help Greece. Greek’s banks are closed, and everyone is understandably panicked about next steps. But if you look at the percentage counter in the upper right hand corner of the Greek Bailout Fund you can see why this problem is going to have to be solved by governments: Despite raising nearly a million euros, percentage-wise the campaign is still “0 percent funded.”
Photo: Pensioner Giorgos Petropoulos shows ten euros notes (AP Photo/Spyros Tsakiris)