Saturday, February 13, 2010

More (and more encouraging!) Views on Greece from Greeks

Reader Ralph left a comment on a previous post directing me to this article in the WSJ about how Greece is morally bankrupt because they blame others for their problems.
According to the dominant conspiracy theory, Greece is engaged in a gigantic fight to save the honor of the euro zone—believe it or not. The "attacks" of the "foreign speculators" against Greece in effect represent an onslaught against the euro by all the "dark forces" (read: Americans) who do not wish Europe to prosper and assume its rightful place on the international scene. This is a discourse that goes down extremely well with the majority of the population. For 30 years, all of Greece's political parties have fed them a steady diet of "anti-imperialist" rhetoric, according to which the causes of Greece's misfortunes is always the xenoi and the machinations of "neoliberal profiteering."
That rings true with progressive politicians - the instantaneous reaction to look for "profiteers" to blame. Profits are a sure sign of villainy. It is also precisely what I found in the quotes of Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou.

WSJ commenter Perikles Konstantinides challenges the statement that the Greek people agree with this in a comment containing this bit:

No one blames foreigners for what is going on, except for a very few politicians and some fringe journalists and communists. The vast majority of the Greek people acknowledge that the country dug its own hole and that we are solely responsible for our troubles. Four different opinion polls published last weekend show that strong majorities -55-70%- consider the austerity measures announced by the government both needed and necessary.
That sounds not only more reasonable but quite mature and clear-headed on the part of the Greeks. With regards to our own fiscal follies, I've always thought that reality smacking us upside the head will wake us up to the idiocy of Keynes and endless borrowing. The quotes I was finding from the Greeks were causing me to despair, but this one is a lot more reasonable.

No comments: