Some facts – from
Alexander Kentikelenis, Marina Karanikolos, Aaron Reeves, Martin McKee, David Stuckler:
Lancet 2014; 383: 748–53
drastic reductions to municipality budgets have led to a scaling back of several activities (eg, mosquito- spraying programmes20), which, in combination with other factors, has allowed the re-emergence of locally transmitted malaria for the first time in 40 years. (748)
Researchers from the Greek National School of Public Health reported a 21% rise in stillbirths between 2008 and 2011, which they attributed to reduced access to prenatal health services for pregnant women. (751)
It is about
The cost of adjustment is being borne mainly by ordinary Greek citizens. They are subject to one of the most radical programmes of welfare-state retrenchment in recent times, which in turn affects population health. Yet despite this clear evidence, there has been little agreement about the causal role of austerity. There is a broad consensus that the social sector in Greece was in grave need of reform, with widespread corruption, misuse of patronage, and inefficiencies, and many commentators have noted that the crisis presented an opportunity to introduce long-overdue changes. Greek Government officials, and several sympathetic comm- entators, have argued that the introduction of the wide- ranging changes and deep public-spending cuts have not damaged health59,60 and, indeed, might lead to long-term improvements. Officials have denied that vulnerable groups (eg, homeless or uninsured people) have been denied access to health care, and claim that those who are unable to afford public insurance contributions still receive free care.However, the scientific literature presents a different picture. In view of this detailed body of evidence for the harmful effects of austerity on health, the failure of public recognition of the issue by successive Greek Governments and international agencies is remarkable. Indeed, the predominant response has been denial that any serious difficulties exist, although this response is not unique to Greece; the Spanish Government has been equally reluctant to concede the harm caused by its policies. This dismissal meets the criteria for denialism, which refuses to acknowledge, and indeed attempts to discredit, scientific research. (751)
Further references are omitted and can be found in the original; and it has to be emphasised that similar denialism can be found not only also in Spain but in Italy and …. – and in some way also in the so-called rich countries, thigh the situation is by no means as bad as in Greece.
Frightening as it is, the situation is made much less bearable if we look at the various denunciations and rebukes of Greek claims to return to control of the countries situation and to reject the external control under the heading of Washington consensus and Troika.
It may be somewhat naive that I still expected the German Green Joschka Fischer not to support openly this reactionary policy and to show more responsibility and circumspection when it comes to looking for solutions. But …
He has nothing better to do to suggest an end of the crisis, saying
Die Euro-Krise scheint vorbei zu sein. Zumindest haben sich die Finanzmärkte beruhigt, auch wenn der Wechselkurs gesunken ist und die Wirtschaft in den südlichen Krisenländern der Europäischen Union nach wie vor darniederliegt.
And he speaks of political risks, due to the lack of a sound stability after the crisis and the fact that austerity policies did not end in the promised results:
Aus dem politischen Raum droht daher großes Unheil für das europäische Projekt.
He rightly sees the problems in Italy too, but then dares to state comment on the result of the Greek elections on the 25th of January with the words that there is
… the high risk that the left socialists of the party SYRIZA will be elected.
… mit dem hohen Risiko, dass die Linkssozialisten von der Partei Syriza gewählt werden.
The rest of Fischer’s comments show that he lost his sense for assessing what is important and real (well, perhaps her never had it).
Important is to accept the right of the people to elect THEIR government – there is some “risk of democracy” that the governing forces do to like it
Important is to fundamentally work towards a solution of the crisis, which means to move to an economy that does not need austerity but on the contrary is there to enhance social quality, well-being and welfare for all
Important is to recognise that the solution is not about
real european solutions in the direction of increased economic growth
echter europäischer Lösungen in Richtung auf mehr Wirtschaftswachstum
To be fair, Fischer highlights the serious problem of the emergence of nationalism, the staple food of the extrem right. Going beyond Greece he states
that the resentment of the Italians is increasingly not solely directed against austerity policies, but also against the Euro itself. And if the Italians are captured (by Anti-EU/nationalist sentiments, P.H.) we likely will also face a crisis in France.
der Unmut der Italiener richtet sich zunehmend nicht mehr nur gegen die Austeritätspolitik, sondern auch gegen den Euro als solchen. Und wenn Italien erst einmal erfasst wurde, dann droht eine französische Krise.
As said, democracy is dangerous. But a factor of utmost importance is that there had not been any democracy yet when it comes to the EU and Euro-policies – taking a metaphor: It had been a one-sided European strategy, geared towards the establishment of a fortress of which the walls had been standing firm against those who wanted to enter, but also standing firm against the Landsknecht, sacrificed on the altar of competitiveness. Then, if the colorful uniforms of the European army fall and are burning in the ablaze of the failed strategy of enhancing competitiveness, we should not be surprised by nationalism and fascism.
As we know from Brecht’s “Der aufhaltsame Aufstieg des Arturo Ui [The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui]”
Der Schoss ist fruchtbar noch,
aus dem das kroch
Although the world stood up and stopped the bastard,
The bitch that bore him is in heat again.
See in this context also (In German only)