Sunday, March 14, 2010



It has been suggested by several commentators that the chaos erupting in Greece be compared to the legendary tale of the Sword of Damocles. Actually it was the sword of Dionysius II of Syracuse, who on a drunken whim suggested that one of his indolent parasitic courtiers ensconce himself on the royal throne to get a first hand taste of what it was like to rule his domain. In the midst of the usual court revels, Damocles happened to glance up and noticed the sharpened sword perilously suspended above his head by a slender filament of hair which must have caused him to hastily evacuate his recently assumed position.

Dionysius II of Syracuse was, along with so many other tyrants of whom he is emblematic, "incompetent in governing men" and known for his "lavishly dissolute lifestyle", both of which issues have timely relevance. Though not one to split hairs, I would suggest the precariously suspended sword has already departed from its tenuous moorings and is plummeting to its appointed target. Though Germany will hesitate to deflect its path, the IMF might be the ultimate backstop. The structural adjustments and "austerity measures" being inflicted on the Greek populace and productive of the patented Stiglitz "IMF riot" are already the handwriting on the wall bearing the oft repeated and indelible signature of that plenipotentiary agency. Greece will scarcely be dispatched with one fell stroke however. And that's where our simile ends. It is more likely to be a death of a thousand cuts.

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