OPINION

Politics takes revenge

It is outrageous that Greece cannot borrow from the markets. Even where it can, the interest rate is prohibitive. So recourse to the European rescue mechanism (and the IMF) has become the only solution. Negotiating the terms however is proving difficult. The Papandreou government’s only argument against harsh measures is the possible risk of a self-perpetuating recession which would plunge Greece into bankruptcy, with repercussions on European banks holding Greek bonds, and of course on the euro. In any case it is Greek society, particularly the small- and medium-income groups, which will shoulder the heaviest burden. A heavy price will be paid for even the smallest participation in the free-for-all, even for tolerating the wasteful, arbitrary growth model that is now crumbling. Cursing the corrupt political system and demanding the return of stolen funds are little more than fruitless displays of anger. The lion’s share of the huge public debt has undoubtedly filled the pockets of those responsible for the web of entangled interests. However, blame also lies with those lower down the ladder, where decadent, nouveau riche behavior has become the rule, perpetuating tolerance for a way of life that was heading for the brink. The crucial difference between the two ends of the spectrum, however, is the fact that the big fish have safety valves. History has shown that whenever the petite bourgeoisie imitate a caricature of the rich, they end up paying an unbearable price. What is happening now is a repeat of what happened when the stock market bubble burst 10 years ago. Then it was those who stupidly believed they could make fortunes for nothing who suffered. Now the burden is falling on everyone’ shoulders, whether they deserve it or not. It just goes to show how important politics is. In one sense, politics is having its revenge on us for neglecting our responsibilities as citizens by either becoming clients of political parties or shutting ourselves off, letting others decide our fates.