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Greek crisis evokes the concerns about the country’s future, since the 110 billion euros bail-out given by EU/IMF is about to run-out, and despite the vote of confidence for George Papandreou’s government on June 22, Greeks seem extremely unpleased to run into more debt in return to meet the the conditions of European Union by sacrifising more . Greek unrest does not seem to calm down within a short-time.
The country is facing real hard times after the recession in 2009. Currently, the debt is 340 billion euros, which means for a country of 11.3 million population the debt per person is more than 30.000 euros. According to Standard & Poors, Greece became the lowest-rated country in the world, despite the efforts of the European partners. The recent Reuters article “Quick Guide to the Greek Crisis” indicates that, “Greece holds two unwanted world records: the lowest credit rating for a sovereign state, and the most expensive debt to insure”.
On Thursday and Friday, EU leaders in Brussels is going to discuss a new Greek bailout, in return for the commitment of economic reform in Greece, since EU leaders share the concern that a possible Greek default is going to harm the confidence in the euro. Greek example is bringing up the question of European Union’s credibility.
Slavoj Zizek, one of the most influential philosopher and critical theorist of our century, in his “Capitalism and Assault on Reason” article, claims that the Greek crisis is a sign that “not only the Euro, but the entire project of the European Union itself is dead.”
Zizek, sees “Brussels-shaped cold Europe”, against Greek passion and corruption, or in other words, reason against pathos.
Despite the drift of financial crisis, Zizek offers to hold on to an internationalist and universalist approach by re-politicizing Europe by evoking the phenomenon of ancient Greek democracy and French revolution, instead of adopting a speech of global capitalism.
Defined as a post-Marxist philosopher Zizek emphasizes on Marxist jargon and offering communism as an alternative:
“What I would argue is that this state of affairs demonstrates why we need an alternative to the current system of global capitalism, and that communism remains the best name for that alternative. For communism begins with the “public use of reason,” with thinking, with the egalitarian universality of thought.
When St Paul says that, from a Christian standpoint, “there are Jew nor Greek, no slave nor free, no male nor female,” he was thereby claiming that ethnic roots, national identity, gender and so on are not a category of truth.
Or, to put it in precise Kantian terms, when we retreat to the comforts of ethnicity, localism, or even the indulgences of commodity capitalism, we engage in a private use of reason, constrained by contingent dogmatic presuppositions.
We behave, in other words, as “immature” individuals, not as free human beings who occupy the dimension of the universality of reason.”
For Zizek’s insight of economic crisis and critique of capitalism, please watch his interview with Riz Khan, “Are we living in the end times?”