Greece and Greeks: Financially More Virtuous Than Most Of Europe

This paragraph from an article by James Meadway of Counterfire (H/T Enfant in comments upstream) needs to be read by everyone in the US and the UK, and especially by everyone in Germany:

… The deal [between the EU/ECB/IMF Troika and Greece] is the latest in the long line of brutal calamities inflicted on Greece. Not that much of the reporting here in the UK would tell you this. For months, the lie has been peddled that Greeks are lazy, spendthrift, and have brought the crisis on themselves. This is xenophobic garbage. Greeks work the longest hours in Europe – half as much again, every year, as the Germans. They retire, on average, later than Germans. The Greek government spends less than the EU average, as a share of GDP.

I have spent this week reading an historical detective novel by Paul Quinn called The Hour of the Cat, set mostly in the period between the two World Wars, in New York and Berlin. A subject that comes up several times in the novel is the plethora of volumes of “scientific” racism published in Germany prior to that period, especially “scientific” bigotry against Jews, of course, but by no means limited to Jews… other Europeans are also often cast as inferior to Germans. These tomes, which exist in real life, may be an earlier manifestation of the very xenophobia Meadway mentions. Today that xenophobia is directed against Greece and Greeks. But it is as ugly as ever, and like all xenophobia, is simply not based in fact.

UPDATE: the damage done is more than merely economic. From the same article:

Elections are scheduled for April. The three main parties of the far left, all of them opposed to the Troika, are polling over 40 per cent. In these circumstances, whether elections will occur is increasingly moot. Wolfgang Schäuble, the German finance minister, has already hinted at their suspension. Most likely they will proceed, with the centre parties’ agreement to observe Troika demands.

Great. Gun pointed straight at Greece: “your democracy or your life!”

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