Thursday, 3 November 2011

Fatigue and Disbelief

Financial crisis fatigue has struck.  I look at the spectacular, manicured landscape, the gleaming cities (Rome is looking particularly fine as we watch the polished motors ferry ministers and officials about through imperial grandeur),  the streets full of new cars, the holidaymakers returning from their extended break for All Souls,  the banks functioning perfectly normally, the gold bars resting under the beds, the net private wealth, some 8,500 billion euros,  and the 1,900 bn euro  Italian government debt with its 180 billion a year interest [no, 90 billion, doubled it by mistake, sorry] and simply don't care any more about the hysteria of euro-hate that is filling the media.

Lamberto Dini, former prime minister, (there are quite a lot of those in Italy but this is the one who looks like the un-kissed frog) is probably right.  The euro is under assault for reasons nothing to do with its stability and functionality and a great deal to do with the decline of the dollar and the decline of America.  It's quite cheeky of President Obama to turn up in the South of France, basking in its wealth and sunshine, and tell us to pull ourselves together.  We are together, much more so than poor America.  The G20 is looking more and more threadbare and irrelevant - just another  global jolly for the politicians and their hangers-on who travel from  venue to venue living off our governments' largess, using our taxes and networking among themselves ostensibly for undesirable and unobtainable ends (like global governance) but in truth chasing a free lunch (and dinner, and lodging, and transport, and unearned life-style). 

Greece is another matter, of course.  It's a country burdened by poverty and corruption, by intransigent politics of right and left, by recent military rule and the costs of getting rid of it.  Anyone who had any money made for the exit ages ago.  We could  beneficially show some understanding towards Greece  -and recognise its greater claims on us than any  country  further afield on whom we spend money


Nick Drew said...

We could beneficially show some understanding towards Greece -and recognise its greater claims on us

whilst accepting various complex holistic causal principles, & what touches one touches all etc etc, there is a genuine dilemma when people who propose to retire at 58 (etc) expect to be subsidised by people who must soldier on to 67

I have experience of this at a personal level: friend who was living in a grand manner (houses, cars, children's schooling, holidays, the works) & it turns out to be way beyond their means, all on tick

when the whistle is finally blown, the cries go out - to people living a lot less well - for help to maintain lifestyle

well: I'm not writing to HG Agony Aunt here! - we can all make our own decisions in such circumstances

but it's a fair old dilemma, between friends

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hatfield girl said...

ND, retiring at 58 when you started work at 14 (or even 12, it's not so long ago that the school-leaving age was the end of the elementary school in Italy and, I expect, in Greece too)is different from retiring having started work after 3,4,5 years of tertiary education. Many of these early pensioners have put in their 40 years - the scandalous 19 years, 6 months and a day with time having children and studying for a degree counted towards, applies to very few - Bossi's wife among them: she retired at 38 but she was a school teacher and for a brief period school teachers had wangled such an inappropriate use of resources. There's something about school teachers and their expectations for time off, short hours and early pensions.

What I intended to say was that I'd rather give understanding and leeway and aid to Greece than anywhere outside Europe, first. More or less on the same principle as sorting out UK needs before handing money to the IMF, or International Development. Global garbage is an unearned lifestyle for the few and a destructive burden for most.

As for your friend, it often puzzles me why people don't expect to be poor when young and with young families. We were amazingly poor, and so were most of our friends of the same age.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

"its greater claims on us than any country further afield on whom we spend money"

Well that's certainly true.

However, money spent further afield (India, anyone?) is likely to do real good in those countries, whereas yet more money sent to Greece will just go gurgling down the plughole like all the rest.

No more bailouts.