Creative realism?

The insistence of the economy minister (and occasionally of the prime minister himself) that the economy is on the right track and remains the government’s «trump card» is somewhat reminiscent of a slightly discriminatory but amusing joke, involving two residents of the Ionian islands who get into their boat one evening to go from one island to another, but forget to untie the rope connecting the boat to the pier, row feverishly all night, and – when day dawns and they realize they haven’t moved – one turns and says to the other: «Why Nionio, we forgot to untie the rope and we’ve been dragging the island with us all night!» Making selective use of indices and «interpretations» of statistics with the aid of creative accounting (at which they are old hands), senior government officials responsible for the economy are trying to present an image of reality that is completely at odds with the current situation. They are trying to show that things are going well in order to belie people’s anxieties and concerns and to cultivate hope for the future, which they hope will pay off at the next elections. The only hitch with this approach is that the economy – and the prosperity it brings, or doesn’t bring, to society – involves more than mere statistics; it is an active reality experienced by everyone, regardless of prettification and managerial PR tricks…

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