Political and financial leaders

By , October 10, 2011 2:06 PM

It is now clear to all of us that the current situation in Greece is tied to the state of things in Europe and the larger world. I am not sure whether purely economic arguments can be used as the only compass to get a sense of preferred direction for our country. My own gut feeling is that the fate of Greece is linked to wider trends that remain unacknowledged, at least publicly, by our political and financial leaders.

Here are my thoughts on this. We have been living in the so-called modern world for several hundred years now. The building blocks in this modern world have been: (1)Science and the scientific method for understanding our physical and social world, (2) Commodification and mass production of goods and services to meet our material needs, (3) Democratic forms of government to manage political systems on the basis of consensus and the middle ground, and to spread the wealth to as many people as possible.
Along with these 3 building blocks, religion has continued to play a role in our social sphere.

A delicate balance among science, commodification, and democracy was at the heart of the modern social contract in the developed world. All three building blocks worked more or less synergistically. This social contract is now broken. Commodification has become the dominant building block in our world. The outcomes of this domination are hard to miss or ignore:
small financial elites which have amassed obscene amounts of wealth, great poverty amidst mountains of material goods, an obsession with economic growth at the expense of our planet which is the only home we have, the takeover of our political systems by the interests of financial elites, and the progressive delegation of science into the laboratories of industries and corporations. Not a pretty picture.

Greece is not alone in its difficulties. Other countries and peoples around the world are experiencing the perverse effects of unrestrained commodification. In my view, we need to engage in a dialogue with our European partners and the rest of the world because we have common interests with all of humanity. Political and financial leaders will not respond to silence. Pressure, unrelenting and continuous pressure, is what gets attention and results. We are not commodities to be used and discarded. We are not just “taxpayers”. We are human beings and citizens. I join my voice with the voices of all my fellow Greeks, Europeans, North Americans, and people everywhere. This is not an issue of German against Greek, it is not right against left. Divisiveness and isolation is a trap. Enough is enough. We want a more just, dignified, and united world.

Anastassios Carayannis, PhD
Professor, Department of Applied Human Sciences
Concordia University
Montreal, Canada

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