Allegory of the Caving

A New Deal for Greece?

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras attends a debate on Greece at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, July 8, 2015.  Vincent Kessler / Reuters

What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? In ancient Greek mythology, when Zeus was confronted with this paradox in the form of an unstoppable hunting dog, Laelaps, and an uncatchable fox, the Teumessian fox, he resolved it by turning both animals to stone. In contemporary Greece, when the seemingly unstoppable Syriza government rammed into Greece’s immovable creditors, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras simply sacked his Marxist finance minister Yanis Varoufakis and caved into his creditors’ demands. 

Late in the evening of Thursday July 9, just four days after 61 percent of Greeks voted no to the terms of a bailout package that had been offered by its creditors, the Tsipras government submitted a package of economic reform proposals to its eurozone creditors that, initial accounts suggest, will impose more austerity than the terms of the package that voters so recently rejected. It turns out that when the banks are closed and the economy faces a cataclysm, voting no means voting yes.

Marcos Borga / Reuters People holds caricatures of Portugal's Prime Minister Jose Socrates (left) and Portugal's Oppsition Social Democrats leader Pedro Passos Coelho during the May day demonstration in Lisbon to protest the EU/IMF bailout, May 1, 2011. Finbarr O'Reilly / Reuters A new work by British artist Banksy adorns a wall near the Canary Wharf financial district in London, December 22, 2011. Cathal McNaughton / Reuters Graffiti is seen on the wall of a derelict building in the Plaka area of Athens, March 13, 2012. Yorgos Karahalis / Reuters The graffiti depicts a man on crutches holding a sign which reads "Health Kaput" in Athens, June 7, 2012. Greece's rundown state hospitals are cutting off vital drugs, limiting non-urgent operations and rationing even basic medical materials for exhausted doctors as a combination of economic crisis and political stalemate strangle health funding. With Greece now in its fifth year of deep recession, trapped under Europe's biggest public debt burden and dependent on international help to keep paying its bills, the effects are starting to bite deeply into vital services. Yannis

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