OPINION

Absolution from sin

The views expressed by leading academics and commentators in foreign news media on the crisis dogging our country differ from what we are used to reading here in Greece. Most of these experts seem to agree that developments in Greece are the local manifestation of the global economic meltdown which started in 2008 and which has yet to fully unfold. Foreign observers like to focus on the European Union’s structural shortcomings: the lack of political integration, the launch of a single currency without taking the necessary steps to build a single European economic policy, and an overly rigid stability pact. Many analysts are concerned that instability caused by the growing weaknesses of the United States could also affect China. These are historic times. And it looks like we are in for some painful days. The next world conflict, the conflict of the 21st century, will be about the economy – the distribution of material resources, the breakdown of social structures, the questioning of institutions, growing impoverishment, capital transfers, the blackmailing of states, new weapons and asymmetrical threats. The good news is nothing has yet been decided. The world’s democratic states still have room for a coordinated response in a bid to prevent the worst-case scenario for the people and the planet. But the momentum of developments is fluid, or, in the words of renowned US geopolitical analyst Immanuel Wallerstein, «chaotic.» Faced with these grim prospects, we must also take a look at ourselves without unnecessary self-inflicted guilt. Yes, we have sinned – but the crisis in not just the consequence of our sins alone. Awareness of this fact could lead to absolution. At some point we must stop punishing ourselves for the sins committed over the past decade and instead get together to hammer out a fresh plan for a new, «clean» decade based on new ideas, new concepts and new forces. Or we shall risk losing our social solidarity, the social contract, the core of democratic institutions, our constitution – the country itself.