Thursday, November 3, 2011

Government by Shareholders?

It would appear that Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel, as self-appointed representatives of the rich and mighty, have managed to scuttle plans for a Greek referendum on the proposed European Union bailout package.  The most positive reaction to their action appears to be significantly positive responses in both European and American stock markets.  The Asian markets apparently closed before receiving this latest news, so we shall have to wait to see what happens when they reopen.

At least we know who is really in charge in the brave new world of globalized economies.  All Prime Minister George Papandreou wanted to do was to give the Greek people the opportunity to respond to the proposal through the ballot box, rather than through yet another major protest on the streets of Athens.  This was apparently intolerable for those who acquire and maintain their wealth through those stock markets, and the result is that the representation of their interests counts for more than that of the Greek population at large.

Meanwhile, things are not much better on our side of the pond.  New York City got its first taste of winter snow, turning Zuccotti Park into a latter-day Valley Forge.  Like their Revolutionary forebears, the members of Occupy Wall Street are determined to stay through the winter if necessary;  and theirs may be the most significant battle of wills in the interest of the 99% they are representing.  However, right now Oakland seems to be receiving more media attention with a move to shut down the nighttime activities at the Port of Oakland.  While this began as the latest peaceful march, it appears that the police did not want to see things that way;  and things started to get ugly after midnight.

I would like to think that those in Cannes for the G20 summit are following this news very carefully.  I would like to believe that more and more news about these events will oblige them to give more thought to the issues behind the protests.  I just worry that the only thoughts that will emerge will have more to do with the well-being of shareholders, rather than the issues the protestors keep trying to raise.

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