Tuesday, 14 September 2010

grecian formula

Earlier this month, coinciding with the announcement by the Greek government that there will be no further austerity measures, which lead to riotous protests, to recalibrate the country's economy--I hope that Greece is right and reforms are on pace with recovery, and they are forced to sell any islands or mortgage their cultural heritage to corporate sponsorship, the Hephaisteion all covered with advertizing like a race car--Vanity Fair reporter Michael Lewis embarked on an odyssey from the business centers of Athens to the remote and autonomous, monastic state of Mount Athos to try to gain some insight into the culture that yielded the Greek financial crisis. This article is really intelligent and an interesting read, and while the monks are not precisely sibilants or oracles themselves, their financial acumen is to be respected and their squabble over a swap of formerly mediatised church lands may have brought unwelcome and glaring transparency to the entire Greek market.  Mr. Lewis was able to exercise his journalistic instincts, despite and perhaps because of, as a guest in a place couched with history and tradition.  Maybe the crucial lesson is in his introductory paragraph, when he speaks of Greeks stopped being Greek and Icelanders wanted to forego fishing to become investment bankers during the financial collapse: there is a very Greek term ἐνέργεια, that is being-at-work-staying-the-same.