The Way the Greeks Die Now

Reading an article in the new New Yorker, I came across this doozy of a sentence (bold-faced) in a doozy of a paragraph:

By many indicators, Greece is devolving into something unprecedented in modern Western experience. A quarter of all Greek companies have gone out of business since 2009, and half of all small businesses in the country say they are unable to meet payroll. The suicide rate increased by 40 percent in the first half of 2011. A barter economy has sprung up, as people try to work around a broken financial system. Nearly half the population under 25 is unemployed. Last September, organizers of a government-sponsored seminar on emigrating to Australia, an event that drew 42 people a year earlier, were overwhelmed when 12,000 people signed up. Greek bankers told me that people had taken about one-third of their money out of their accounts; many, it seems, were keeping what savings they had under their beds or buried in their backyards. One banker, part of whose job these days is persuading people to keep their money in the bank, said to me, “Who would trust a Greek bank?”

Taking a cue from Percy’s philosophizing at the beginning of The Second Coming, at what point do these statistics on depression and suicide become a concern? Obviously they’re way past that point in Greece, but we shouldn’t be surprised to see those numbers tick steadily upwards in the years ahead—if, as they say, we really are going the way of Greece. The existential crises faced by nations do not happen apart from the existential crises faced by citizens of those nations. Suicide isn’t just an indicator of a crisis; however poor, it’s a solution.

I’d also like to take credit for predicting, in a typically drunken ramble, the devolution to a barter economy at one of the summits a few years ago. Here’s another prediction: in five to ten years, after Washington state and California has crumbled into the sea, survivors will begin migrating to places like Wisconsin and Texas to take part in secession movements and constitutional conventions.

Comments

  1. Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

    I’d also like to take credit for predicting, in a typically drunken ramble, the devolution to a barter economy at one of the summits a few years ago.

    Start stockpiling copies of House of Words and Alphonse. People will recognize their value — for either the library or the latrine.

  2. Jonathan Webb says

    Hoard words, folks. And liquor. Hoard words and liquor. And spam. Go ahead and hoard words, liquor and spam.

    I guess ideas matter after all. A realization arrived at a little late, maybe, to do our kids any good.

  3. Jonathan Webb says

    You’re just the man for that job, Nguyen.

  4. Don’t forget about Montana Quin, a hot incubator for secession movements and constitutional conventions.

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