OPINION

Sign of the times

The demand for transparent governance is as old as the state of Greece. But the recent wave of corruption allegations shows that this demand remains unfulfilled. Greece is a country with high levels of social mobility and wealth redistribution. At the same time, business activity is mostly about establishing ties with the political establishment. Corruption, however unwelcome, should not come as any surprise. Getting rich quickly became an end to itself while free-market slogans gradually poisoned the minds of the people who began to think that economic success is a central life goal. It was believed that reason and secular principles would dampen the greed fueled by the conviction that fulfillment comes with personal aggrandizement. The symptoms first seen with the adoption of the principles of Enlightenment at the time of the French Revolution, and the years that followed, resurfaced, albeit stronger. But they affected man on a different level. Conservative voters – regardless of party preference – were thrown into confusion. It is no coincidence that it was members of the left, a reincarnation of communism, who became the most deft champions of the new order and the most ardent proponents of «change.» That was notwithstanding their perennial failure to realize their abstract ideas and free man from the chains that bind him. Hence we saw a systematic campaign to discredit the role of the state which was driven by the conviction that removing the obstacles raised over the previous centuries will increase individual freedom. Market inspections were scrapped and prices skyrocketed. State monopolies were replaced by cartels and the job of monitoring healthy competition was awarded to individuals of questionable moral character. Modern-day ills are a cause for concern but not any surprise.