03 November 2011

Three: Greek Economic Crisis

What a spectacle we have unfolding before us, just in time for the G20 Summit in Cannes. Greece teetering on the brink, displaying some brinksmanship in announcing that the severe cutbacks would be put to a referendum. Imagine people voting on measures that would have a serious impact on their quality of life!

Now, I'm not the biggest fan of governing by referendum. One only needs to gaze southward to the US to see how this goes off the rails with alarming predictability. Referenda on other people's rights? Not such a good way to deal with the rights of minorities.

When it comes to fundamental decisions about changing the expectations of a society with respect to its social contract, however, this seems much more appropriate. Who better to determine whether a package of reforms designed to choke off the social supports on which many depend and reduce the size (and maybe the effectiveness?) of the government than the people directly affected by those decisions?

Would it be better for all of us to continue to roll over and have our social contract written to respond to the interests of bankers and others in the wealthy upper echelons of our societies?

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