Monday, July 06, 2015
The European Test
Finally, we have what we have been waiting for - Democracy versus Capitalism!
It seemed we took two things as one. We expected people to be pliantly follow the subtle commands of money or debt, which became instruments of choice instead of machine guns, for international dominion. In one Greek Sunday, suddenly, the cozy deception came to an end, and the game was exposed.
We have been told that Democracy and Global Capitalism can not coexist within the context of a nation-state. This was the thesis of Dani Rodrik of Princeton, proved accurate in many cases, but hushed up because it is rather inconvenient. But here it is now, the cat is out of the bag!
The extraordinary sacking of the Greek Finance Minister, precisely at the moment of his triumph, is perhaps how these things go. It is an indication how little leverage one has if someone has given in to International Financial interests. It only works for the rich - it is okay to look after German voters but the Greek ones - and if a country is poor, someone needs to save it once it has signed up for the global game (because the God can not).
Now, the Greeks will perhaps discover a truth - that democracy does not really matter! Poor Greek voters are indeed no match for privileged Bankers and Ministers of the Eurozone, and indeed, they must be punished. This is fast becoming the fault line of International Capitalism, and in a more serious way than one would imagine. A potential Greek exit, after a popular mandate, may mean not just existing the Euro, but also EU and NATO, and an uncomfortable detente in Southern Europe! Besides, Eurozone becomes an unstable entity now - Spain is perhaps next - as its inability to adjust to its own regional divisions will become plain. France and Italy are said to be sympathetic to Greek demands - they better be, because their numbers may be up next too!
There is an irony in this debt versus democracy thing. It is Solon, the Athenian statesman, who crafted the first debt-relief in history, and laid the groundwork for a great flourishing of Athenian intellectual life, in 593 BC. He effectively released the impoverished Greeks from Debt-induced slavery they were selling themselves to, following the laws drafted under Draco, the first legislator of Athens, which gave us the expression Draconian. We now see history in reverse, its European neighbours imposing on Greece some Draconian measures and the latter trying to wriggle out of it for one more time.
Greece may be another of those defaults which we got used to. It may have less impact than those melt-downs in Wall Street, because we had preparation time. But, that is only short term impact! Its long term impact may be much greater - the political fall-out, the instability of Eurozone in foreseeable future and this whole debt-versus-democracy issue on the table - and it may resonate for a long time to come. This is that penny-dropping moment, the test whether one can indeed fool all the people all the time, and Europe, very deservedly, is at the precipice.
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How To Live
"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
- Theodore Roosevelt
- Theodore Roosevelt
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
- T S Eliot
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