A southern kind of shock

What is happening across the Eurozone has many names. 
Now that the summer's almost gone, and the winter's coming on, people are beginning to realize just how far this whole austerity thing has taken us. How deep it has cut. One of the names is shock. The other one is fear.

When you hear about southern Europe in the media these days, at least in some media, there are always a few key details missing. In itself that's not so bad, or unexpected, journalists have to write news, to come up with stories everyday, and the human interest angle is always a nice but ultimately unattractive side show - compared to the more explicit crisis, debt, and possible collapse angles. But on the whole, this lack of detail in the political analysis of the current European situation leads to a troubling myopia that is unable to discern all the nuances of the policies in place, and more to the point, that misses most of the scandals afflicting our societies.

So you heard it here first: the European Union is allowing its southern territories to be taken on a time travel journey back to feudalism. They're getting, as Mr. Wallace so poignantly put it, medieval on us all.

Take Lisbon, and Portugal, for example: massive cuts in the public transportation system  have reduced, dramatically, the number of passengers and of acceptable fees for the average citizen. The government sold the national water supplier - a profitable enterprise - to a private company. They now speak about shutting down half of the public television broadcaster and selling off the other half. A major concert venue - a hallmark of the city - was sold to the President's son-in-law. And the list, this list of almost unspeakable and unbelievable acts, goes on and on. It's a very long list.

What does this tell you? Probably that this is what happens when neo-liberal, Chicago-school Friedmanites get to govern an underdeveloped European country. And that's right. But look closer, and what you'll see is not just a misguided ideology being put into practice, again, but a calculated, methodical, and corrupt enrichment of a small fraction of the population, at the expense of everyone and everything else.

For a certain circle of the economy, for those closest to the State - and it almost pains me to have to use these words - things have never been this good.

When the limited few live off the fat of the land, and the impoverished many are reduced to a fearful, passive, and ignorant underclass, we can no longer speak of democracy. In its stead, emerges the very ancient political, social, and economic system of feudalism, or at least the 21st century version of it, which only adds to the novelty and surprise of those who witness it.

For the European Union, because of its political and social discourse and its vision for the future, this level of corruption and greed is simply not acceptable. Not only because it's morally wrong, but because even the worst manager, or ruler, should be aware that oppression can only be taken so far, before the mindless peasants start to realize that there is strength in numbers, connections in networks, and courage to be found in actions.