Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Numbers Are Angry With Greece

By now, you have probably heard about the financial turmoil in Greece, and the violent protests prompted by the Grecian Parliament's austerity vote today. Many explanations are being offered for the source of Greece's financial difficulties, ranging from poor policy decisions by the Greco-socialist government to interference by the IMF and multinational banks.

And, of course, these explanations are all completely and utterly wrong.

The true explanation is also the most obvious. Greece has simply fallen out of favor with the numbers.

It was bound to happen sometime. Theirs is a relationship that goes back more than 2,500 years. During their golden age, the numbers were kind to the Greeks, giving them gifts like the Pythagorean theorem and Euclidean geometry. Over time, however, relationships can sour.

What caused the Greeks to fall into disfavor with the numbers? Only the gods and/or numbers can say for sure. I'd guess that it was one of the usual culprits that lead to the downfall of tragic heroes - hubris, defying oracles, structural adjustment, and general disobedience.

Unfortunately, there is no redemption once you have angered the numbers. In time, Greece - I'm sorry to say - will be brutally killed and wheeled onto the world stage on an ekkyklêma.

May they rest in peace, while teaching the rest of us a valuable, if ironic, life lesson.

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