What’s it all for?

Greece is under the supervision of the International Monetary Fund. The government asked for more adjustment measures, and the chairman of the IMF has already prescribed them: deflation, or slashing salaries in every sector. The European Union’s Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn went one step further and demanded wage cuts in the private sector as well. In combination with planned reforms to the social security system, we have a pretty clear idea of what we are looking at: salary cuts for the productive members of the population, along with a decrease in pensions and a higher retirement age – or, in short, a decrease in incomes for all wage earners. Salary cuts for civil servants, meanwhile, have already been announced. We still need to see the nature and depth of the changes that will be made to labor laws, healthcare and education before we can begin to appreciate the kind of new and straitjacketed world we are being asked to adapt to. This new world looks harsh, but our political leaders, within and beyond Greece’s boundaries, abetted by the «faceless» yet ruthless markets, assure us that there is no other way to go. Maybe we have run out of options, but, if this is the case and society simply must take this painful path, must experience the pain of cutbacks and the trauma of a radically changed lifestyle, we need to see a plan, we need honesty and equity, daring and an understanding of what it all means. Sacrifice is only offered at the promise of redemption. What kind of country can the sacrificing citizen hope to survive in in the future? This is the most fundamental question right now and it is almost impossible to answer. An effort to answer it should nevertheless be made, not just by the politicians but by the people themselves.

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