Lucas Papademos, the anti-Solon
Sitting here in Colorado, I obviously have no great insight into what’s happening in Greece. But it’s truly sickening to see this cradle of democracy being crushed by our modern day tyrants. In the 6th century BC, well prior to the blossoming of democracy, Athens was ruled by a small oligarchic class that held the people in terrible debt peonage. The great Solon emerged on the scene and forgave most debts and instituted many popular reforms. No such luck for the Greek people today, they’re under the harsh thumb of the recently installed Lucas Papademos, the anti-Solon, the enforcer of debts. So little has really changed from the ancient days of oligarchy, not just in Greece of course but throughout the world. The people rule nowhere and the oligarchy, often referred to as “the markets”, everywhere.
Papademos, an MIT and Harvard economist and also a central banker at not only the ECB but also the Fed, has the perfect credentials for instituting the policies demanded of him. The media would have us believe he’s a “technocrat” and “above politics” but of course nothing is further from the truth. Austerity isn’t technocratic, it’s pure power and therefore pure politics. It’s the beauty of capitalism that self interest, power, and greed – tyranny in other words – can be portrayed as somehow non-political and technical. The oligarchs of Solon’s time just weren’t smart enough to have economists and central bankers at their beck and call.