OPINION

Parallel, incompatible worlds

There are two worlds: the one we see in advertisements, rich, luminous, delightful, and the real one, with its troubles and worries. Over the course of the crisis born in America – which showed us that the fate of the United States is not limited to its 50 states but spreads across the whole world – we saw no pause in ads glorifying banks and insurance companies, all unrepentantly generous, promising wonderful policies and loans. What do they ask of their prospective customers? Their trust. In this fantasy world, they are asking for that which they cannot supply in the real world. Even from a different angle, we still get two worlds: In the virtual world, we see an abundance of lofty titles and endless supplies of plastic or digital money, a place where everyone wants to give and no one to take – such generosity. This abundance was what created the illusion of prosperity that comes at almost no cost. We felt wealthy, not because we saw our money grow, but because we saw our signatures multiplying under «handsome» policies and loans, as though our self-respect and social status hinged on the number of such signatures. And now, not only are we consuming products, but our freedom as well: Who can claim to be free when he or she owes money on five different fronts, and borrows from another five in order to pay the former? The third distinction: In the illusory world, George W. Bush is threatening to punish profiteers. Who believes that in the real world (of money, lobbies and power) his threat is more potent than that of, say, the Greek development minister, who promised the same? Even if Bush and Christos Folias really wanted to stamp out these resilient pillars of the system, they could not. The fact that they don’t want to simply makes their words ring hollow, makes their threats impotent, subjugates the political order to the mega «party of the free market,» the party of businessmen, bankers, insurers, brokers and other golden boys, commonly known as goldbugs.