Is it all Greek to you?

Ronald J. Rankin

We are fiddling while Athens burns. We in the UK are having our divertisement of an election among three political parties to see which is going to get into power. (Remember the days where one voted for an individual to be our local Member of Parliament who would represent us, instead of being part of a monolithic party State?) Anyway, the wider scenario right now is still the stifling and life-threatening DEBT, provided by the financiers, which is choking many countries, whose citizens ask for little more than being able to earn an honest crust with which to feed their families.

We are led to believe that Greece has been living above its means, has a problem with public sector pensions, and has a corrupt and venal Government. So nothing new there then to single them out as the bad boys of Europe. The European Union, as it currently calls itself, is supposed to be the ‘comfort blanket’ for all member countries to be covered by it in the shared bed. In the middle of the bed is the old shoe woman, who having 27 children certainly does not know what to do now. The old woman lives in a luxurious palace in Brussels, with a holiday house in Strasbourg. All of her children are by different fathers and the children are squabbling about this new pocket money not going as far as the old money which their different nationality fathers used to give them. Many of the fathers are now impotent since they had their money converted to the woman’s new money. The hand-me-down clothes which the children are forced to wear are a uniform size and cannot possibly fit all of them properly.

The real mess that this woman has gotten herself and her children into is that she conceived the wrong way. She thought that money would solve everything for her bastard children. It isn’t working out because she is really a single parent with each father wanting the best for his own offspring. It’s a bit late for her, now in her sixties, to have more children of her own, but she is nevertheless trying to adopt other children, even although her perspicacity is failing. In her teens she felt that if she progressed stealthily she would eventually get her own way. The horse that should have been ahead of her cart was the absolute imperative of one strong horseman who had the political iron rod to give his offspring the one surname. Without that, the monetary tide was as uncontrollable as the Severn bore.

She is calling upon Uncle Ebenezer IMF to ‘bail out’ some of her boys. Ole Eb says “do you think I’m made of money”? She knows that Eb makes his money out of nothing except two contra book entries, and he does not ‘bail’; he lends money at interest, as he has done with 40 others in the past. Uncle Eb will go anywhere to gorge: his favourite trick is to turn himself into a monster of the deep, put a protective shell round his victim, and then suck out its innards.

So, to get back to the naughty Greek child, who is not much naughtier than some of his siblings. He is not getting on with his mother; detests Uncle Eb; and is very wary of Uncle Eb’s cousin once removed, Uncle ECB. He should heed Mr Rankin’s mantra : “whether you are an individual or a country, you cannot get out of debt by taking on yet more debt”.

Rather than go with a boom, the Greek boy could go with a bust. Individuals can declare themselves bankrupt: countries can default on their sovereign debt; and are free of their immediate shackles. It is not open to El Greco to devalue his currency, because he had signed up to the Euro. However, Auntie Merkel’s patience is being exhausted as she is having to help out mother and son with some of her real wealth saved up over the years. She remembers how her Eastern brothers almost ruined the Western family when they came to stay permanently. Mother EU does not want any of her brood to leave the nest and will jealously guard what she has disparately begat without the hand of one strong father to rule over the lot. It could be best for both mother and son to part, giving the son back his Drachma, just in case Auntie Merkel also takes back her Deutsche Mark. The son in question might hark back to the days of the Greek City State, where things were smaller and more controllable – where there were no Banks that were “too big to fail”; where there was a currency set up by their own state to support the people’s needs; where industry and trade in its products would flourish to support the welfare of its people despite the fact that those in power always had the cream off the top. Exchange controls and a Tobin type tax should be put in place to deter financial derivative speculation and shorting.

How indeed are the mighty fallen. The Parthenon, built some 400 years before Christ, is still there overlooking Athens. The democratic ideal that first saw the light of day there should act as a harbinger for Athens and the whole of Greece to hold their independent heads high once more.

Ronald J. Rankin

[email: [email protected]]Edinburgh, Scotland