International community should be responsible


Dear Editor:

Would someone please explain the Greek financial crisis to me and how this is affecting the European union’s financial stability. Maybe back up even further. How about explaining the recession in the United States to me, the one that started about two and a half years ago?

Several big banks, investment companies and corporations, defaulted on commitments or did not have the financial resources to continue, right? Some of these institutions dissolved into bankruptcy, others required bailouts involving large sums of money. Then a cycle or several cycles of job losses occurred.

Still with me? That led to a crisis for many Americans, especially people who depended on a regular income to pay mortgages or rent on their homes, keep their families clothed and fed, right? I won’t quote the unemployment numbers because percentages in one direction or another are pure abstractions. It’s one way of calculating the cost of a recession but it in no way can impart the personal cost to disrupted lives, relocations and individual and family turmoil.

When I see the pictures of demonstrations in Greece, I assume a frustration with the austerity plans of the Greek government to pay off its national debt. Are the Greek demonstrators anticipating, if not a significant decrease in their monthly income, then one or more cycles of job losses resulting in increased individual or family turmoil?

I am not an economist and clearly have no idea what astronomical sums of money exist in individual or corporate pockets, but I’m thinking there’s got to be enough to go round — like those gallons of milk in the Fifties or Sixties, we poured down the sewers because we did not want to give them away for nothing, or the grain that rotted in bins in some foreign port, hamstrung by dysfunctional distribution networks. If the problem is not supply, is it a problem of distribution or the redistribution of income?

This is an oversimplification no doubt and some will think me presumptuous to consider their personal wealth as a public asset, but was that not the thinking of the corporate giants and financial wizards of Wall Street? They assumed the personal wealth of their customers was a collective assets they used for their collective benefit.

The international network of banks and financial institutions seems sometimes like an interconnected house of cards, distant and obscure, like a secret cabal of high-flying poker players. There are financial and technical experts, I’m sure, that can put this all together to make sense, but from this distance it seems like voodoo or some high level physics equation. Like all our leaders we have to trust them up to a point. But how far should we go?

George Jason