Economists have hailed the era of globalism, the interconnectedness of nations.
One nation’s failures and foibles affect others, just as their triumphs do.
Greece is in trouble — again! And the world is holding its breath.
Man, it pains me to watch what’s happening to the country of my ancestors. I’ve visited the place three times: 2000, 2001 and 2003. I’ve seen the good side of the country. My wife and I have experienced its charm, swallowed up its physical magnificence, gotten a taste of its cuisine and seen first hand the antiquities left over from when it was the “cradle of western civilization.”
Greece owes billions of dollars to creditors. It must pay them back or else default. It joined the European Union, converted its currency, the drachma, to the euro, but the EU might kick Greece out. Germany, which has played a huge role in bailing the Greeks out, already is making plans for Greece’s default on the loans it has taken.
International financial markets are on edge. They’re teetering, putting retirement funds — such as mine and my wife’s — at risk.
Why is this all happening? Globalism.
Look, left to its own devices, Greece’s influence on the world shouldn’t be that impactful. It’s a small country. It’s a modern country. Its people are sophisticated and well-educated. But it comprises about 10.5 million citizens, contributing to a gross domestic product of $284 billion annually, which is chicken feed compared to, say, nearby Italy, with its $1.9 trillion GDP.
Still, the countries are linked by common currency, common trade practices and common pressures that ripple their way across Europe — and around the world.
Greece has made a mess of itself and the world might be forced to clean it up.
The push to join nations together in international trade arrangements and alliances by itself isn’t a bad thing. I remain all for it.
These alliances, though, depend on everyone doing what they must to ensure they hold together. Greece hasn’t done it. It continues to resist the austerity measures that others have imposed on it. Its left-wing government also is on the brink of collapse.
Doomsday hasn’t arrived in Athens. It’s getting dangerously close.