Saturday, March 03, 2012


More on Greece. One long-running scandal is coming to an end. A settlement is in sight after the exposure of bribery to gain contracts by a company based in a nation whose head of state has just been forced to resign due to corruption. Yes, we are talking about Germany.

The company is Siemens and its actions in Greece are said the have cost the country some €2 billion. For a brief summary see here and here. A proposed settlement has been reported though not finalised.
Kathimerini daily said the accord would include cash, a pledge to invest in crisis-hit Greece, a settlement of unpaid Greek bills worth 80 million euros and the provision of technology know-how.
As the current Greek crisis unfolds, there is a dominant narrative that is based on a morality play of sin and virtue. The Greeks play the role of the profligate Mediterranean sinners whilst the Germans are thrifty, industrious models of virtue. Human relations are not like this, neither are economic systems. Moralistic, and frankly racist, discourses do nothing to help the people of any beleaguered nation. The Siemens crisis opens a small crack in the edifice and gives us a glimpse of a less simplistic world. It may not be that significant in the context of the crisis, but, after the battering the reputation of Greece has taken, Greeks can be forgiven for wallowing in a sentiment with a fine German name - schadenfreude.

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