The country of Greece has been more or less shut down by a general strike as the country's economy teeters on a precipice that could plunge the Eurozone, and potentially the whole world, into a major economic depression. But you'd never know if from reading American news sources. The NYT front page, which includes a story about how Mitt Romney cared for his lawn (and no, I'm not kidding), makes no mention of it. I can find no mention of it on any other American news outlet. (CNN doesn't even mention it under World News!) The only coverage I can find at all is on Reuters and Al Jazeera. Reuters reports that there are 400 dock workers demonstrating outside the port, but I can neither see nor hear any sign of them. In fact, here in Piraeus everything is remarkably quiet. No ships are coming or going. (We had to leave our previous port two hours early so that we would make it in at 3AM before the strike began. It's unclear if we're going to be able to get out again.) There are no airplanes in the sky. There are a few cars on the road, but traffic is light. It is eerily reminiscent of the days following 9/11.
[UPDATE:] The story finally made the front page of the NYT.
In case you're wondering, we saw no hint of any violence. We did go into Athens on one of the hop-on-hop-off tour busses (which are apparently staffed by non-union workers). There we were able to visit a refreshingly crowd-free Acropolis, though we had to admire it from a distance because the site itself was closed. But the Acropolis is surrounded by a lovely park, which we had pretty much to ourselves.
Also in a better world the Libertarians, especially those who want to do away with the Fed and go to a gold standard or whatever, would have learned from the Euro experiment that monetary intervention is essential. None of the EU members is getting what it needs now in terms of fiscal policy. Spain, Ireland and Greece should be devaluing their currencies now in order to work off their debt (ideally their debts would be in their local currency) and to become competitive.
In a better world the elite who foisted the Euro onto the Europeans should stand up and say, yes, we are incompetent, bad idea, sorry.
Something ugly of truly historic proportion seems inevitable, and all on account of a lack of character in a handful of people. It's difficult not to be melodramatic when forecasting what might transpire.
miss you bro! love your pics and info on your adventures!
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