Greece’s economic woes have turned dire. On Sunday, the country rejected the EU’s last ditch bailout offer, leaving it’s economic future — and it’s future as a member of the eurozone — in doubt.
The country is expected to miss a 1.6 million euro ($1.8 million) payment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday — that is, unless a crowdfunding campaign for that sum comes through in time.
Thom Feeney, a 29-year-old London resident launched an indiegogo campaign to “sort” Greece’s financial troubles after being fed up with the European Union’s inability to manage the crises.
“All this dithering over Greece is getting boring,” Feeney wrote on the campaign’s page. “European ministers flexing their muscles and posturing over whether they can help the Greek people of not. Why don’t we the people just sort it instead?”
The cause is gaining traction. So far, more than 85,000 people have promised contributions that total nearly 1.5 million euro.
“We promise that all profits will go to the Greek people,” Feeney wrote, pointing out that a three euro contribution from everyone in the European Union would pay off the debt.
Although he’s promised Greek goods like ouzo to those who promise contributions to the cause, few should expect deliveries of the Greek liquor to their doors.
That’s because Indiegogo only collects funds and delivers the promised rewards to contributors if the entire funding goal is reached. And with Tuesday’s deadline looming, that seems like a nearly impossible task.
Although the campaign has already gotten an impressive amount of promised contributions, they’re still only a small fraction of the 1.6 billion euro that Greece owes the IMF next week. It’s such a slim fraction, in fact, that it registers as 0 percent on the graph tracking the campaign’s progress.
Feeney calls his efforts “a real attempt to do something,” and not just a mere symbolic maneuver.
For its part, Indiegogo has backed up the campaign.
“This is why Indiegogo was created,” the company said in a statement. “Because our platform is open, we make it it possible for anyone anywhere to make a difference, cutting through the political rhetoric and bureaucracy of gatekeepers like the International Monetary Fund and the European Commission. People from all over the world are helping out in the spirit of fixing what financial institutions have yet to remedy.”
It added the “Greek Bailout Fund” has had more backers than any other campaign it’s ever launched.
That might be part of the appeal for Indiegogo.
The tech site Gizmodo noted on Friday that the crowdfunding campaign was the top hit for Google searches on the “Greek bailout.” The article provided some sobering context, however.
“[A] crowdfunding campaign is not going to fix Greece’s problems,” Gizmodo’s Matt Novak wrote. “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.”
That’s because the looming IMF deadline is the first loan repayment in a long line of payments that Greece is expected to default on.
But Feeney, the enterprising Indiegogo campaigner, sees it differently.
“This isn’t just about Greece, but about the Greek people, the working classes and trying to help other ordinary people across the world,” he wrote. “If governments, corporations or banks won’t help, what can we do but band together.”
In doing so, they’d form a European Union of their own — one comprised of so many people in Europe, instead of their representatives and governments.