Friday, June 15, 2012

Creaking Toward Shutdown

Greece has become the tantrum-producing problem child of the European Union.  Their economic plight is not totally unique only to Greece within the EU, but their reaction to the need to present themselves as willing and capable of helping themselves along the road to solvency has been less than inspiring. 

Riots, complaints of outside interests - the European Central Bank a case in point - Germany, for insisting that certain lending safeguards be put in place - deliberately manipulating Greece's problems to their own advantage; desperately angry people withdrawing from the country's banks, all reflect the country's mass denial of reality.

Germany, the singular EU country of financial restraint and capable administration whose citizens know how useful a frugal lifestyle can be to the longevity of one's prospects into the future, now finds itself bailing out the sinking ship of a country that has for far too long pampered its population into believing that the state could provide all the value-added to their lives that they desired - and the blue Aegean is washing over the ship of state's upper decks.

The bailout that the EU has offered to Greece in these anxious times, compelling action to prevent the entire Eurozone from slipping into total chaos is not viewed by most Greeks with thankful appreciation, but huge resentment.  Because what accompanies those huge loans is an obligation that Greeks have no wish to fulfill.  The radical left in Greece is hovering very close to assuming power. 

Syriza is a reflection of the state of mind of young, defiant and angry men insisting that Greece, despite the funding it has received from its European partners, needn't pay it back.  In fact, there's no need to remain with the euro, let alone the European Union, though most Greeks would prefer to remain comfortably ensconced within it. 

Food, shelter and medicine are the kinds of basic needs Greeks focus on.  Becoming increasingly hard-to-afford, and this in particular represents an unspeakable irritant.  Blaming their government for its irresponsibility in acceding to the demands of the electorate has a certain classic ring to it.  Everyone is to blame, and no one is responsible.

The entire EU has been stricken with new signs of economic slowdown, and outright distress.  Britain and France haven't been exempt, and have had to look for ways to tighten their spending, introducing austerity measures that have no more made their governments popular than that of Greece and Spain.  Spain has accepted a bail-out, because it had no other choice, even as it rejects the nomenclature as too embarrassing.

Spain is too large a country with too large a GDP to fail.  Right on Spain's coattails is Italy, another of the EU's heavy hitters that has hit the doldrums.  As went Greece so may they too go.  The national debt exceeds the GDP in Greece.  Unemployment ranks over 22%; 50% for those under 25; reflective, actually of Spain's figures as well.

The European Union is no longer striking committees to formally regulate the correct size and weight of potatoes, acceptable shapes for zucchini, outlawing chimney sweeps, producing exacting measurements for apples, tomatoes, and threatening other countries' sea harvests through the influence of boycotts.  It is wringing its proverbial sweaty hands over the travail brought upon it by not paying attention to things that matter.

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