Archive for the 'Greece' Category

18
Jul
13

I Hate to Say “I Told You So”

New elections are now scheduled in June, by which time the Greek, having realized that their opinion doesn’t really matter, will desert the ballots, and accept whatever fate German bankers have decided for them.

(The Communist Scientist, May 21, 2012)

Yes, the Greek non-popularly elected government had to wait a year to save face, plus a few months to have the heat and holiday season snuff out the people’s will to demonstrate but, of course, did exactly what I said, and exactly what it had promised not to do.

And just to show you that I haven’t lost my knack for prophecy, let me say this: Italy, with a government formed under very similar circumstances, is going to do exactly the same.

 

21
May
12

Greece and the Illusion of Democracy

2519 years have passed since the Greek first invented democracy; this might be the year in which they prove that it doesn’t work. Well, at least that representative democracy doesn’t: one’s elected “representatives” should carry the will of the electorate and translate it into law, right? Right: faced with the prospect of  draconian austerity measure which are as inhuman as they are ineffective, the will of the Greek electorate is rather clear:  forget ’em. How much of the Greek population supports this rather reasonable point of view is debatable. The digit 66% circulates a lot, but this is only the percentage of people who voted parties opposing the austerity package. If people were asked to directly decide on the issue, they would probably react like Icelanders did in 2010, when a similar proposal was rejected by 93% of voters. I shall not, however, argue this particular point: underestimated as it may be, let’s, for argument’s sake, accept the 66% estimate as true; there is no doubt, in any case, that 66% voted for parties that rejected the measures.

The result? Parties supporting the measures won 49.7% of the seats in the parliament, being therefore only two seats short of having their way. A few quirks of the electoral laws made this a breeze: the warmest supporters of this piece of social slaughter, New Democracy, having lost almost half of its support, was awarded 17 seats more, based on a rule that gives 50 seats, or 20% of the total, to the party that comes out with a majority, no matter how thin or relative this may be. Another law states that albeit, by mathematics, a seat corresponds to only 0.4% of votes, parties getting less than 3% do not get any. By grace of this, 13 parties, the vast majority of which are against the measures, were arbitrarily denied the representation they deserved.

New elections are now scheduled in June, by which time the Greek, having realized that their opinion doesn’t really matter, will desert the ballots, and accept whatever fate German bankers have decided for them.

The Greek example is a very clear one, but similar laws (extra seats awarded to majorities and arbitrary entry barriers) exist in virtually every parliamentary democracy. The idea is that they make it easier to form a majority: I shall only point out that having a single party, as the Soviet bloc did for 40 years makes it even easier to form a majority, saves a lot of paper in the process and, in the case of the Soviet bloc, did actually reduce unemployment, exploitation and social disparity, which is pretty much the opposite of what the austerity package does. But more about this later.