Unnoticed by the human race, the men and women of Mars had developed a huge economy over the last decades. They were working, working and working; producing, producing and producing; and exporting, exporting and exporting. Exporting to Greece & Co.
As payment for their exports, they accepted sovereign bonds denominated in Euros. Since they had no use for those Euros on Mars, they lent them to Greece & Co. The men and women of Mars had become savers and they also thought that they had become rich.
One day, the Martian banking system started fearing that all those sovereign bonds might default. The Martian government sent an urgent message to the EU Commission telling them to urgently bail out Greece & Co. so that a collapse of the Martian banking system could be avoided. The EU Commission replied post haste:
“That seems to be your problem and not ours”.
The Martians threatened to drive Greece & Co. into default; expel them from all international financial transactions and, essentially, run their economies into the ground. The EU Commission replied, more slowly this time:
“Do what you think is right and what you can be responsible for. Don’t worry about the economies of Greece & Co. We will keep them alive by financing their ongoing needs as a preferred creditor”.
At this point, the Martians realized that they had to act like beggars. They politely requested the EU Commission to bail out the Martian banking sector. The EU Commission replied, again with some delay:
“Ok; we’ll do that. Here are the terms: 99% ownership of the banks and total control over management and business policies. The right to sell off the banks after they have been restructured to anyone of our choosing”.
The first thing the new owners of the Martian banking sector did was to forgive Greece & Co. all their sovereign debt. And the next thing was to work out economic restructuring plans for Greece & Co. as the condition to finance those countries’ ongoing financing needs.
All shareholders of all Martian banks were wiped out. Even all of their bondholders were wiped out. This on the grounds that they were considered as “professional market participants” and should have known what risks they were taking. Luckily for regular Martian savers, a solution was found where regular savers did not lose any money.