Hubris means extreme haughtiness, pride or arrogance. Hubris often indicates a loss of contact with reality and an overestimation of one’s own competence or capabilities, especially when the person exhibiting it is in a position of power.
The adjective form of hubris is “hubristic”
Hubris, though not specifically defined, was a legal term and was considered a crime in classical Athens. It was also considered the greatest crime of ancient Greek society.
Keep that definition in your mind and think what is happening in Greece. The IMF, The European Commission and the European Central Bank would now seem to run the country. Last night’s agreement by their parliament to yet more austerity measures so that Greece can borrow more money to pay off an instalment of the loans they already have would seem to stave off the evil hour for another wee while.
But will it?
As the decision was taken, there were full scale riots taking place on the streets of Athens.
Unemployment is now over 20% with youth unemployment at 48%. Over 25% of Greeks are already adjudged to be living in poverty.
Is there anyone left on this earth who thinks that the Greeks will not default? Does Angela Merkel really think that this latest vote will mean that the curtain is set to fall on the Greek tragedy?
Of course she doesn’t. In fact she some time ago resigned herself to a Greek default and them leaving the Eurozone. She believes that Germany can take the hit and that, despite all the public statements to the contrary, is all that matters to her. It looks from a distance that she is now trying to engineer that very outcome by placing unsustainable pressure on the Greek government.
The latest flurry of activity centres on austerity measures of £320 million. In the scheme of the eurozone crisis that is a very small sum indeed to be staking a country’s future on.
It actually seems a bit unfair for Cameron to be tarred with the narrow self interest brush. He at least was honest that all the bail outs and agreements are an unworkable pile of shit.
The rest seem to be going along with an elaborate window dressing arrangement so that when, not if, Greece defaults they can say “Ah well we did all we could”.
If, by some unforeseen miracle, Greece doesn’t default and manages to actually implement the latest austerity measures (Recent history is not on the side of this scenario), they will have accepted into Greek law, measures which cannot change for a generation.
The category of acts constituting hubris for the ancient Greeks apparently broadened from the original specific reference to mutilation of a corpse, or a humiliation of a defeated foe, or irreverent “outrageous treatment” in general. It often resulted in fatal retribution or Nemesis. Atë, ancient Greek for “ruin, folly, delusion,” is the action performed by the hero or heroine, usually because of his or her hubris, or great pride, that leads to his or her death or downfall.
Ireland will be watching.
Filed under: european union, word of the day | Tagged: angela merkel, greece, hubris, ireland, sovereign debt crisis | 1 Comment »