Monday, February 9, 2015

The Latest Round of Ignoring History

Last week the Facts & Arts Web site ran, "A Greek Morality Tale," an analysis by Joseph E. Stiglitz of the damaging effects of austerity that was almost painful to read. Unfortunately, much of the pain came from the conclusion:
One hopes that those who understand the economics of debt and austerity, and who believe in democracy and humane values, will prevail.
Ironically, the leading beneficiary of the sort of judgment that Stiglitz counsels is Germany, through the planned recovery it experienced following the Second World War. Unfortunately, Germany is now the leading "austerity hawk."

Actually, Stieglitz himself does not take Germany to task. Rather, he lays the blame on what he calls the "troika" of the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. These are all institutions of the rich and mighty getting richer and mightier than they are in narrowing that enormous gulf between extreme wealthy and abject poverty. In such organizations "humane values" are no longer part of the mindset. The days when the filthy rich could cleanse their souls, so to speak, through philanthropy are long gone; and no one of any import seems to regret their passing.

Meanwhile unemployment has reached crisis proportions in just about every corner of the world. As I wrote back in 2011, this has become the age of "youth without future," brought upon by those whose incessant fixation with the immediacy of the "bottom line" has led to a willful ignorance of history. Is it any wonder that such youth, feeling abandoned by those who should know better, are attracted to the lure of extremists, most of whom can only be counted upon to make matters worse?

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