Alexis Tsipras had a choice. As the leader of the fledgling Syriza government in Greece, he could have told the European Union to stuff its austerity plan. He could have taken the risk that the EU would offer a better deal to keep Greece in the Eurozone. Or, failing that, he could have navigated his country into the uncharted waters of economic independence.
Between now and next April, four members of the European Union (EU) will hold national elections. They'll go a long ways toward determining whether the 28-member organization will continue to follow an economic model that's generated vast wealth for a few, widespread misery for many, and growing income inequality for all.
Myths are dangerous because they rely more on cultural memory and prejudice than facts. And behind the current crisis between Greece and the European Union (EU) lies a fable that bears little relationship to why Athens and a number of other countries in the 28-member organization find themselves in deep distress.
It is a truism to say that democracy began with the Greeks – less so to say that it originated in popular rebellion against debt and debt-bondage. Yet, with the Greek people ensnared once more in the vice-grip of rich debt-holders, it may be useful to recall that fact. For the only hope today of reclaiming democracy in Greece (and elsewhere) resides in the prospect of a mass uprising against modern debt-bondage that extends the rule of the people into the economic sphere.
Five of Kazantzakis's major works have been translated in England, and even more in America, and yet his name remains almost totally unknown to the majority of readers. This is a curious situation, which may be due in part to the fact that Kazantzakis wrote in Greek, and that modern readers do not expect to come upon a great Greek writer; even his name has a foreign and discouraging sound. If he had written in Russian and been called Kazantzovsky, his works would no doubt be as universally known and admired as Sholokov's.
With a 50 percent haircut recently given on the Greek sovereign-debt question, investors are increasingly asking what the real risk of sovereign debt is. It would appear that investors underpriced the risk inherent in sovereign debt, especially that of Europe's periphery. One might even go so far as to say that investors made foolish choices in the past and are now getting their just deserts.