All nations are thankfully, not alike. It is the national character that defines a nation’s uniqueness; that enables us to celebrate diversity.
Many years ago, in response to the perception that heavy alcohol consumption was viewed as positive the Australian Government ran a nationwide advertising campaign whose intent it was to demonstrate the Neanderthal behaviour of those who drank to excess and thus, to discourage this worrying attitude. The campaign backfired. Australians are a relaxed lot, they like their leisure activities. Sans alcoholic overindulgence, it is not a fault but an enviable part of the Australian character.
To complete this comparison, America and Germany are nations for which making money is embraced with enthusiasm. At least in theory, everyone choosing to thrive has the opportunity to do so. Their societies are driven by a work ethic that is different to that of Australia, or Greece.
The EC was created because the Americans were looking for a way to stop the European propensity for slaughtering one another and the negative impact this militant imperial provincialism had on the rest of humanity.
Greece, even with its 18% reduction in cost of borrowing can not, at this time in its history, compete with Germany. Although it has been a member of the European Community since 1981 perhaps it never will be as competitive as Germany is. Nor should it have to be. But any economic system that is not based on the ability of the participants to repay their loans within mutually acceptable periods of time is based on charity.
Charities grow for three reasons. The first is self-identification, the second legitimately occurs because of need. Its end goal must be self-extinction or it becomes a self-perpetuating parasite, living off the living flesh of its victims. To those people who will be offended by this analogy, some parasites exist within a symbiotic relationship with their host. Most do not.
No nation should be a charity case and those that are, are defined by their corruption, their greed and the excessive degree to which they victimise their own people.
Prime Minister George Papandreou has two choices. He can lead Greece into default, in which case all its outstanding international loans become worthless to its owners; or it will have no choice other than acquiescence to decades of recovery.
Both Germany and France, as its two main creditors profited from their relationship with Greece. It is not the Global banking system that failed us all, this time. If Greece does default the repercussions for Global growth will be significant. For far too long the relentless drive to increased profitability has been achieved at the expense of society and its unrealisable expectations for unlimited Consumerism.
We may be entering a period of sustained economic stagnation. Perhaps the volatility of markets with its cyclical boom and bust will finally be brought under unintentional control.
The greatest threat to Global stability is uncertainty. It leads to fear. Bad governments create crises to deflect criticism from them-selves. Military insecurity increases the possibility for war. Migration collapses and population transfers cease to occur except by ethnic cleansing and expulsion. This in its turn accelerates the destabilisation of nations. Societies are forced to cope with the finite resources at their immediate national disposal.
The clash of civilisations may be realised as isolationism, fear and extremism catapults the fundamentalists everywhere into positions that protect their own communities.
If the party is over, it is possible for a more equitable society to emerge from the debris. If nations can develop humility as a counterweight to ambition and greed it may be worth the hangover.