Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Every cloud has a silver lining.

Each Finnish taxpayer is lending 300e for the Greek government without guarantees. Others are better informed to write about the loan itself, so I offer a few positive notes about the debate.

Greek voters have double handicap on future time orientation. Firstly, they are a Southern country. Therefore memories of long, harsh winters and the need to prepare for them are not circulating in their bloodstream. Secondly, their average score on a specific list is the lowest of all Euro countries.

Usually such nations get preferential treatment in public debt debate (example). Scrupulous Western imperialists and capitalists get the blame. With Greece, the blame for nonpayment is finally placed where it should be - on the borrower who refuses to pay. Finally the common taxpayer walks on the loaner's shoes.

The Greek have darker skin color than Finns. Despite this, the racism card has not been played. Finally skin color does not give people freedom from the consequences of their actions.

Many people say that Greece should not have joined Euro in the first place and the banks should not have given them loans, and these financing options prolonged the crisis and made it worse. When we talk about Finns, it is acceptable to say that instant loans and credit cards cause trouble for some, although for the majority they provide a valuable service. Finally we can say that some countries are too immature to handle loans like grown-up Western democracies.

Media is full of reports about demonstrations and strikes where the Greek people oppose the cuts on their benefits and tax evasion options. These get nothing but condescension and laughter. Usually there is a double standard where the feeblest complaints from victim groups are valid and should be accommodated. Finally the double standard is breaking down.

Despite the cost to the man on the street, we are not seeing attacks or hate speech against the Greek people. Finally the public debate contains a recognition that despise towards some group's lower performance does not mean hate, violence nor discrimination.

In short, when Finns deal with their own money their public debate is much sharper. Let's hope that these same honest attitudes spread to rhetoric about developing countries, ending the monopoly of the compassion industry.

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