The elections and the new

When following the election campaign discourse, the experienced observer feels a gap, a silence on certain crucial aspects of politics, and above all a disjunction between promises and capabilities. Political leaders have avoided saying where they will get the funds to implement the costly measures they have already announced, or have failed to announce any countermeasures. Both camps act alike. The government is making announcements while blithely ignoring the country’s fiscal and funding difficulties. Nor has the opposition completely resisted the temptations of populism either, negating its own discourse about the state of the economy. Granted, unpopular measures are not usually proposed during elections, especially in countries like Greece. But one might expect problems to be raised and discussed, ideas debated, different trends aired and new ideas circulated, with so much talk of the so-called new party, new era and a new government. There are also global trends which have not been discussed yet which impinge on crucial aspects of contemporary life. For example, on the international scene there is much concern about the redistribution of wealth, the gap between rich and poor, the impasse facing globalization, and issues of ethics and justice created by the economic system. Contemporary philosophical concerns pose major ethical dilemmas which we – here in the country of mindless consumption, great inequalities and the provocative display of wealth – haven’t even thought of addressing, such as how to determine acceptable limits on wealth according to the prevailing notion of justice, taking into consideration those who suffer around us. How can contemporary civilization be seen as advanced when it shows no shred of solidarity, and when individuals and organizations, both state-run and non-governmental, do not volunteer a moment of their free time? One wonders how PASOK’s president George Papandreou, who proclaims the new, defends redistribution policies and quotes Indian intellectual and Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, has made no mention of where he will find the funds to support his policies. He knows that if he wins the elections he will be operating with limited funds in an economy that cannot cover the policies he is announcing. Such an approach does not seem to suit the new type of all-inclusive, ideology-free socialist-liberal party which is envisaged. Perhaps, with the usual Greek delay, these concerns will be raised in another decade.