The economic crisis is on the minds of everyone in Greece, and James Carville’s “It’s the economy, stupid” is on the lips of many Greek politicians. The Hellenic economy is collapsing, and the huge and counterproductive public sector has failed to generate growth, produce wealth, and diffuse it to the people.
The major European papers reported that Greece has gone bankrupt, forcing the government in Athens to borrow at high interest rates. In reality, what happened was that the Greek budget deficit skyrocketed to 12.7 percent of GDP. After a decade of bludgeoning the people with high interest rates, the banking sector now seems intimidated; 20 billion euros are gone and will not be coming back. Businesses are failing; people are losing their jobs. Blue-collar workers are now almost exclusively foreign immigrants. The state cannot assist anyone. No one speaks about development anymore, since that would sound like a cruel joke. And 90 percent of the state’s income ends up covering expenses and foreign debt. (That amounts to 113 percent of GNP.)
Unemployment is expected to rise to 12 percent, while the government continues to sack state employees and raises taxes. (They call it “taxation reform.”) At the same time, Athens is planning to naturalize more than half a million immigrants (most of them African and Asian). And in a few weeks the European Commission will be on hand to check on the government’s budget! This is a reminder of Greece’s “commitment” to the European Union and the eurozone. It’s enough to make some of us nostalgic for our beloved drachma.
Somehow, the Obama fans who now rule Greece managed to persuade people that the economy should be our number-one priority. Money, money, money—not blood and soil.
The materialists have won.
There are a few of us left in the ancient land called Hellas who actually think that the economic crisis is a byproduct of a profound moral crisis. It is the result of immoral and unethical decisions—decisions favoring the rich, decisions that disregard our values, decisions that are transforming men into consumers, decisions that deviate from our traditions.
As in the United States, immoderation is the rule in Greece. It’s difficult to resist, when nothing stands in its way—no religion, no values, no history, no future. In Greece, we forgot everything about our glorious past. We sacrificed it for comfort and pleasure; we borrowed and spent without remorse. And now it’s payback time.