The sound bites of the current Euro Crisis are deceptively easy and offer simple, if stark, analysis of the economic peril we all face; the problem is that the Euro Crisis has personal and humanitarian consequences, which the sound bites effectively negate.
Perhaps we want to negate the sufferring of millions of Europeans becuase we are scared because we know it could happen to us, quite easily?
I tweeted the other day an article about the Greek tragedy which is unfolding due to the Euro Crisis, whilst I think that an economy that has shrunk 20%, that people cannot afford basic Health Care, and Youth Unemployment is at 50% is desperately sad it was the line that children were fainting at school because of malnutrition. My tweet took a sentence from the article and read:
Greece is a country where children are fainting in school because of being hungry. [with this link]
The reply I got was:
So what, its self-inflicted. If they’d paid their taxes instead of bribing people they wouldn’t be in this mess ~ @Cadrieu
At first I thought it was Christine Legarde who had answered, the popular soundbite being uttered, qualified and circulated a few days ago.
Whilst the comment was short, simplistic, it was offensive and does not understand the argument, whoever fault it is, a population is on the brink of trauma.
The crisis is not only affecting the current generation but will affect generations to come, and will take decades to heal, from a basic mental attitude point of view of nagging insecurity to the fact that education will suffer and with that the prospects not only of the immediate for generations who will not be achieving academically. It is a tragedy that children are in desperate need, basic human compassion kicks in, these people are suffering – yet Christine Legarde, Head of the IMF, has no sympathy for children who are starving when she heads at multi Billion Dollar Organisation for which she gets paid £350,000 – tax free! For those without a calculator that is about £29,000 a month in her pay packet. Any pontificating about Legarde, who as Minister of Finance in the French Government helped France rack up substantial debt whilst playing Casino Capitalism with the French economy, is just hypocrisy.
The tweet basically rephrased the comments of Christine Legarde which was about as caring as Marie Antoinettee’s “let them eat cake”.
The hope of many through the crisis is that we discover a new compassion for each other, that we care and we are ‘our brothers keeper’ and even if it doesn’t shouldn’t we have basic compassion for our neighbours?
When we cold heartedly accept the suffering of children in the cold light of economics we need to re-asses our humanity. Legarde’s comments reinforce to cold heartless philosophy of the undeserving poor with the corollary that there is such thing as the deserving poor, and from there it is only a short step back to the Work Houses.
My old boss used to say when things went wrong “we are where we are” and same with the Greece. The European Union has been as hypocritical as Legarde over Greece, yes Greece has maxed out the National Credit Card by borrowing cheap and living off debt, but where was the European Union in warning the Greek not to buy too many German submarines, or that it wasn’t investing? Wringing your hands when you could have been responsible and warned a friend is not being a friend.
The other disservice the European Union has done to Greece is that it allowed it to join the Euro in the first place.
The Euro Crisis is the fault of Bankers, not the people, and Governments that borrowed too much and I do not hold a child responsible for that, are we so scared of contagion that we must distance ourselves from by trivializing the suffering in Greece?
We are too comfortable with sound bite politics and we have to realise life is far more complicated.