Greece and the euro

so it seems Greece is about to shoved out of the euro, soon to be followed by those pesky other countries; you know, the annoyingly poor, bolshy and woefully democratic ones who won’#t take the nasty medicine. The ones who were poor and who were promised that euro-ness would raise their standard of living and bring them prosperity. Instead they were offered the credit card and the hard sell of the consumerist dream.  People in Greece are committing suicide; whole families living off one slashed income; unable to access health care, even food.

the Euro obviously existed so that rich countries (you know who they are) could sell their stuff to the poor countries and earn hard euros in the process. But it was all smoke and mirrors. There was no money, it was an illusion. The economies of Greece etc. were not strong enough to consume like that. It was all pretense, a project of the kind of illusion economics that emerged in the 1980s with its evangelical consumerist ethos.. What use, really, to a country like Greece, emerging from the rule of a military junta; Spain and Portugal  emerging in the late 70s from dictatorship, Ireland, riven by a history of colonialism, civil war and still uneasy division. They needed something better, something sustained something that promised less and delivered more.

ow the euro crisis has exposed the deep and hideous flaw in the European project. The EU was meant to bring nations together into a supranational organisation so that they could protect each other and use supranational organisations to adjudicate disputes. No one nation could bully or dominate another.We do have these organisations but they are weak and bureaucratic. Real power, in the stage of late capitalism, lies with finance and the power economically strong states to dominate the situation so that they gain eternal advantage. Instead of protecting each other and building a strong Europe they seem bent on punishing each other like stern parents and naughty children. And I am sure there are plenty of people and companies her ein North Europe poised to march in and buy up whatever they can pick up in the fire sale.Never has the idea of “united Europe” seemed more laughable. Meanwhile ordinary people – citizens –  starve, feel humiliated, die.

The elite stashed their money away and are to be found now in London, as usual. London, cornucopia of greed, overflowing with the filthiest lucre-worshipping people in all of humanity. (When Mammon came to town and established a temple he set it up in that big space between Spitalfields and Richmond Park. London! I feel sick when I (rarely) pass though the environs where the oligarchs play. New Bond St and so on. Faugh. The greedy, sweaty stench of the rapist…)

Thinking on that, I recall back when I did my history MA I happened to TA on a course about the EU; not my specialisation (my field was imperialism and culture) but the professor was a real specialist and it was great to work with him and I learned a lot.  I recall at the time having discussions with him about the possibility of the rich northern EU dominating the poorer south. We agreed that the institutions of the EU were too weak t prevent this. And so it has come to pass.

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