Daily Archives: May 19, 2012
The people who pioneered democracy in Europe and the United States had a low but pretty accurate view of human nature. They knew that if we get the chance, most of us will try to get something for nothing. They knew that people generally prize short-term goodies over long-term prosperity. So, in centuries past, the democratic pioneers built a series of checks to make sure their nations wouldn’t be ruined by their own frailties….
Western democratic systems were based on a balance between self-doubt and self-confidence. They worked because there were structures that protected the voters from themselves and the rulers from themselves. Once people lost a sense of their own weakness, the self-doubt went away and the chastening structures were overwhelmed. It became madness to restrain your own desires because surely your rivals over yonder would not be restraining theirs.
This is one of the reasons why Europe and the United States are facing debt crises and political dysfunction at the same time. People used to believe that human depravity was self-evident and democratic self-government was fragile. Now they think depravity is nonexistent and they take self-government for granted.
Read it all (my emphasis).
The summit of the G8 group of major world economies is under way at Camp David, near Washington, with Europe’s debt crisis expected to dominate.
US President Barack Obama said all the G8 nations were “absolutely committed” to the goals of growth, stability and fiscal consolidation.
Germany, which backs austerity, is under pressure from the US and France for stimulus measures, analysts say.
Greece’s possible exit from the eurozone is high on the agenda.
Like the single market before, …[the Euro] was conceived primarily as glue to bind Europe more closely together, tie Germany’s prosperity to that of its neighbors and prevent a third world war from the Continent, which had brought us two. A few engineering flaws wouldn’t be allowed to get in the way of such an important project.
A little over a decade since the first euro bills hit the shops in Madrid and Berlin, the euro’s design flaws have pushed much of the European Union into a deep economic pit. And political imperative is again being deployed as a major reason to stick to the common currency. “This enormously important motivation is often underestimated by outsiders,” argued the Financial Times columnist Martin Wolf, the most sober analyst of Europe’s economic maelstrom….
The main problem is that while leaders eagerly embraced the monetary bond, they rejected its necessary complement: a central budget that would transfer money from successful regions to underperforming ones, as the United States government sends tax dollars collected in Massachusetts to pay for unemployment benefits in Nevada.
The euro fed the illusion that Greece, Spain and Italy were as creditworthy as Germany or the Netherlands, propelling a decade-long credit boom in Europe’s less-developed periphery. And it was spectacularly ill-designed to deal with the shock when capital flows to those nations suddenly stopped. Weak countries not only had to rely on their own devices; they had to do so without a currency or a monetary policy of their own to absorb the blow….
Homeward bound after the Trojan War, Odysseus of Greek myth had to pick a path through seas harboring a monster with six heads and a whirlpool that digested ships whole. Now, whether modern Greece exits the euro ”” potentially triggering global economic turmoil in the process ”” depends on the tough choices of Ivi Moreti and her 11 million countrymen.
Should the 60-year-old widow leave her nest egg of euros in a wobbly Greek bank and risk it being seized and converted into a devalued national currency? Or should she withdraw it all, joining what could become a panic forcing Greece out of the euro anyway by bringing down the financial system?
Who should she vote for June 17, when this nation mired in political chaos holds its second election in two months? A party willing to largely accept the crippling bailout conditions that have taken a bite out of her pension and run the economy into the ground? Or the rising rebels promising to buck the austerity imposed on Greece by its bigger neighbors, , a course that might cause total economic collapse?
O God of truth and beauty, who didst richly endow thy Bishop Dunstan with skill in music and the working of metals, and with gifts of administration and reforming zeal: Teach us, we beseech thee, to see in thee the source of all our talents, and move us to offer them for the adornment of worship and the advancement of true religion; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Grant, O Lord Christ, that as we rejoice in thy finished work on earth, in virtue of which thou hast ascended victoriously to the throne of heaven, so we may dedicate ourselves anew to the unfinished task of preaching the gospel to every creature, that all may learn of thy redeeming grace and power, and acknowledge thee to be the Lord; who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.
O Blessed Lord, who didst promise thy disciples that through thy Easter victory their sorrow should be turned to joy, and their joy no man should take from them: Grant us, we pray thee, so to know thee in the power of thy resurrection, that we may be partakers of that joy which is unspeakable and full of glory; for thy holy name’s sake.
–Frank Colquhoun (1909-1997)
On the holy mount stands the city he founded; the LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God.
Brussels is preparing plans for Greece to quit the euro, a senior official has revealed, as analysts warned that the country’s exit would cost European taxpayers at least â‚¬225bn (Â£180bn).
European Union trade commissioner Karel De Gucht said that both the European Commission and the European Central Bank (ECB) were working behind the scenes on contingency plans for a break-up.
“Today there are in the European Central Bank, as well as in the Commission, services working on emergency scenarios if Greece shouldn’t make it. A Greek exit does not mean the end of the euro, as some claim,” he said.
If the Ascension means the departure of the Lord Jesus, why celebrate it? Who rejoices over the loss of a loved one? Clearly this is not a day to remember what was lost. We celebrate what was gained.
For the first time, our humanity, the nature assumed by Christ, has been taken into the Godhead. This is a coming of age for the human race, something akin to the removal of training wheels.
Here, the sainted scholars of the Church diverge a bit. It’s not clear whether we were created to enjoy the very life of God, or if this is the gladsome result of the Incarnation. Put another way, we don’t know whether the Incarnation, and the resultant glorification of our humanity, happened because of sin, or despite it. Either way, as it did happen, Christ took on our humanity so that we might share his divinity. Today, in him, our humanity is first raised to that height.