German export chauvinism believes itself to be on the island of the blessed, where no crisis exists anymore. It is true that mass poverty and slum conditions have continued to rise in this country as well. But that is not an issue when the economy is booming all the same. China and the USA are not the only ones buying big in Germany thanks to government aid. Together with cars and machine tools, the crisis was mainly exported to the less blessed parts of the EU for the time being. The euro makes it possible because it favors the high-tech export roller. And that’s why it has to be saved. The regulars get artificially excited about alleged gifts of billions for the “lazy Greeks.” But the gifts are not gifts at all, but additional loans that are to be serviced by hook or by crook. This is only possible if Greece saves itself to death and literally cuts the costs of the euro bailout out of its citizens, including the middle class. It is no longer just militant young people who are taking to the streets against this, but also conservative housewives, doctors and teachers, grandpas and grannies.
As is well known, the social pain threshold is not only being exceeded in Greece. For similar reasons, the austerity terror is also raging in Spain, Portugal, Ireland and elsewhere; even in Great Britain, which, although not part of the euro zone, had to save its own banks and is now making its own population pay for it. Everywhere, a revolt is brewing against the selling off of the last public resources, which, although so far aimless in sociopolitical terms, will soon be containable only by force. Suddenly, “Arab conditions” are looming in the middle of the EU. Whereas the uprisings there have so far been perceived by the media as crucifixive “democratization movements,” the social misery is now emerging as the true motivation on the ground of the European democracies themselves. At the center, here as well as there, is the dramatic mass unemployment of the academic youth, which, by the way, has long been noticeable in China and the other Asian boom countries.
It was the central banks’ flood of money and the global government bailout programs that led to new financial bubbles, rampant inflation or, as in the euro zone, to the brink of currency collapse. The extremist austerity policy is the about-face to escape these consequences. However, this is the only way to manifest the crisis in its full extent. Greece, currently the weakest link in the chain, shows after Arabia the future of the capitalist economy and its world of states. If, after the young, the older generation also suffers the consequences of the crisis as a result of state intervention, the legitimacy of the political system will collapse. This is not only a social and political problem, but also affects capital itself. After all, the mania for austerity against the consequences of the bailout mania is also stifling the global economy again in the end. It is absurd to imagine that the FRG can bask in the glow of its successful crisis exports while the world around it is on fire. It will be interesting to see how the supposed winners of the crisis react socially and politically when the misery finally reaches them.
Originally published in Freitag on 07/07/2011