Honesty demanded

Greece’s reduced international credit rating indicates that the country is at the mercy of the markets: We won’t be able to borrow, pensions won’t be paid, we’ll go bankrupt. Even the government’s economic team seems to have panicked. Finance Minister Giorgos Papaconstantinou has rushed off to European capitals to assure prospective creditors that the most stringent measures will be taken, ones that Greeks have never previously seen implemented, not even by prime ministers. But he’s saying one thing abroad and another at home. This double-talk might indicate that in seeking a solution to its fiscal problems, the government has more faith in the markets and their rules than in the country’s own technocratic and political powers. It appears to be heading toward an artificial solution, without the knowledge of the only real interested party, namely society. It will be a solution without any political future. Nevertheless, over the past year-and-a-half, following the fiasco of the toxic bonds and the ensuing crisis, we know that the golden boys, the cogs-and-wheels of the market that is, are anything but dependable. They were the ones who set the crisis in motion, they were the ones who bankrupted entire financial colossi and then held out their hands for aid from states, that is from public wealth. The government knows this. It doesn’t need to resort to rhetoric but could clarify by when and how it will revive the national economy in the most effective way possible, without punishing society or freezing the national market. The state has assets, it has potential and untapped wealth, and society has virtues as well as weaknesses. The government is not a bank or a stock company. It has an obligation to be honest with the society that has given it a mandate.

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