Saturday, 18 July 2015

GREEK FIRE: FORGETTING OIKONOMOS


Astrology became astronomy. Alchemy became chemistry. I wonder what economics will become.

Bernard Lewis

 
A doctor gives his patient six months to live. The man couldn’t pay his bill. The doctor gave him another six months.

Old joke

 

 Journalists become many things as the news cycles pass one into another. Just now, as Greece descends towards that Ancient Greek word anarkos, it is amusing to watch them becoming expert economists. However, although the scribblers seem aware that ‘democracy’ has Greek roots (demos: a people; kratos: power) they seem unconcerned that economics is also a classical Greek concept; oikonomos.

One would think the PC martinets of the press – today’s hacks are scarcely gentlemen – would have been all over the word, steeped in gender equality as it is. Oikonomos, broadly, referred to domestic financial affairs kept in balance, good house-husbandry, competent financial management, and was the largely the province of the lady of the Ancient Greek household. Economics, to the classical mind, was madame doing what she could with what she had. Would that the modern Greeks had not forgotten these classical, feminine rules and regulations, checks and balances.

Until its recent travails, Greece was a country with a public sector so wasteful and corrupt it made our own bloated state entity look like a lean, mean efficiency machine. Greek shadow jobs, whose staff would clock in and go home for the day, returning only to clock off, were common. Holidays were absurdly long, retirement unrealistically early. Fourteen paychecks a year were not uncommon. They had not read their septuagint, the original translation of the Bible, or they would have noted Luke 12:42;

‘The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful, wise housekeeper (oikonomos) whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time?”’

The Greek government, those open-shirted, leather-jacketed, whining Flash Harries arguing with Merkel and her gang, could hardly be accused of being wise housekeepers. But is the rest of the Eurozone, is the rest of the world, any better? Looks at Spain, Italy, Portugal Look at China. Five years ago, I noted in a weblog that a man named James Chanos – famous for smelling a rat scuttling through Enron’s accounts – had found a new Enron. Its name was China.

At the time of writing, Chinese stocks have lost a quarter of their value in a month. Company directors have been banned from selling their own shares. The press has been forbidden from using phrases that indicate economic problems. The Chinese share a ghost infrastructure with the Spanish and a Muslim problem (their Uighur) population) with the rest of Europe. If these are tomorrow’s economic victors, what will the vanquished look like? Possibly much like America.

As Mark Steyn has noted, you can bail out little Greece, but there isn’t enough money on the planet to bail out America. Obama, the sainted black president we had supposedly all been waiting for, is an economic illiterate. In his first three years in office, he borrowed more than America had borrowed between George Washington’s presidency and that of George W Bush. He is a hardcore, supply-side Keynesian with a dash of revolutionary Marxism thrown in. After the disaster of Obamacare – in the defence of which the press dutifully rode shotgun – his latest wheeze is Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, a means by which he can reduce all American cities to the status of Detroit, Baltimore and St. Louis. On the one hand, he borrows financial capital which doesn’t exist; on the other, he destroys social capital which does. Fracking (which our Communist Greens are naturally against) may have slowed the decline of the American economy, but nothing can stop it.

In these times of economic guesswork, and to proffer a monetary metaphor, here is my two bobs’ worth. I think the Greek debacle is a sideshow, a distraction, the magician’s hand waving in the air, diverting the audience’s attention while the real action takes place in the other hand. Greece is a fall guy for the imminent dissolution of the European Union, a folly to rival anything at Louis XIV’s Versailles. The Greeks will be called the first falling domino that brought the others down, when the structural deficit of the UK economy (which we are lyingly told is growing into recovery) is worse than that of Greece.

I believe that the Chinese and American economies will collapse, with all the concomitant financial storms that will produce. The reason will be Communism, which did not simply pack up its bags and leave when the Berlin Wall was dismantled, but mutated and adapted, a malevolent sea-change, Gramsci’s mepamorphosis. The Chinese government is explicitly Communist. Obama is a Communist in all but name, although with a healthy dash of Saul Alinsky and Jeremiah Wright thrown in and a racial agenda which would bring America to its knees even if its economy was in the rudest of health, which it is not.

To return to our clucking, braying journalists. These pointy-headed stringers have had a lot of laughs with the idea of Greek tragedy, but the long financial suicide of a lazy Mediterranean holiday resort with a side-order of olives thrown in is not the central drama; it’s an off-Broadway flop whose demise we will be informed by the MSM will start a chain reaction contagious to the global economy so beloved of the Socialist new world government-in-waiting. But this is to make of Greece a scapegoat, the pharmakos of the ancient Greek city-state. Derrida writes about the pharmakos in Plato’s Pharmacy; simultaneously medicine and poison dependent on the quantity administered.

What will economics become? If you are a progressivist, it must constantly be moving forward, with everything else, into a glorious, Socialist, statist future. If you are a genuine conservative – and I am – then you may feel it is time for economics to go back, back to the Ancient Greek housewife tending to the things of the household, appeasing the simple gods of home and hearth.

No comments:

Post a Comment