Wise harbinger of ills

The Soviet Union was ruled by dictators but not by fools. It produced brilliant scientists and economists who foretold that the country’s economy was on a precarious course, heading straight for the rocks. But they could not revise their fundamental conceptions about economics; they obviously put all the problems that emerged day after day down to quirks in the system. And so, overnight (one could say with some exaggeration) the Soviet system collapsed. Not a single gunshot was exchanged on the day that Socialism so humiliatingly became another chapter of history. Something similar is currently taking place in the world of the free market economy, or at least as much was insinuated (in a manner) by one the biggest «speculators» of all, George Soros, at the Institute of International Finance meeting of bankers in Vienna last week, where Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou was also present to make an address. «It is important to realize that the crisis in which we find ourselves is not just a market failure but also a regulatory failure and even more importantly a failure of the prevailing dogma about financial markets,» Soros told the assembly. He added, «But the collapse of the financial system as we know it is real and the crisis is far from over.» Soros’s academic qualifications may be questioned but he is without doubt an expert on markets who knows how they work inside and out so well as to have made a tidy profit. In this sense, his opinion matters, maybe more so than that of all the experts on global economic matters who seem incapable of shifting their view on things. Back in this small part of the world called Greece, let us hope that Soros is mistaken and that efforts to rebuild the economy will yield results. Either way, no one can possibly expect Greece to blaze any new trails on its own. It cannot develop its own economic policy and it is obliged to obey the commands of the eurozone. If this is a mistake, it is one that affects all the world’s developed economies. The essential thing right now is not to lose hope as long as the effort is being made.