religion, europe, democracy and ethics ... for liberal minds only
15 June 2012
Dignity for Greece and Europe
The copious analyses of costs and benefits of a Greek exit have barely touched on the human element, and completely neglected the moral one. The Greeks stand to lose all their savings, endure more cuts and see businesses go bust. It is predicted or, more precisely, imagined that the magic wand of devaluation will restore Greece to growth in just a few years. There is no question that the Greek government fiddled the figures, overspent due to cheap credit and mismanaged European funds. The threat of exit from the euro might be a necessary evil to extract structural and political reforms, but is the humiliation of a people required?
The missing factor in the Greek equation is what exit would do to European consciousness. Angela Merkel might believe in the superiority of German technology, economy and work ethic, and give little thought to the origins of these words. She might even believe such economic wealth results from wise investment and hard work, rather than the use of building a massive surplus to the detriment of other economies, the depression of salaries, the bank subsidies to businesses and the current refinancing through cheap interest rates. She has embraced an economic system reliant on uneven development and forgotten the help Europe received after the war.
If the rule of the mighty trumps Greece's livelihood, Europe will have chosen the markets over the cradle of its civilisation. Has ‘civilised’ Europe forgotten Antigone’s lesson that unwritten laws of dignity should take precedence over the laws dictated by power? It is our responsibility, as rich and "civilised" nations, to prevent human penury, restore dignity and show solidarity.