In the not-so-tectonic shift towards world corporatism, fault lineXs seem to arise at an increasing pace. When they do, the usual polarized advocates rear up. A relatively new breed of economists and observers – from Canada’s Naomi Klein to France’s Thomas Piketty – paint a bleak picture of the future under unreined money interests, a world of stark economic inequality and weakened state sovereignty.
Apologists in the other camp rage against that vision, attributing it to left-wing, socialist-communist propaganda.
No one seems to notice that the goalposts have moved. That the failed experiments of 20th-century communism have long since withered away.
Few of the people who oppose the current world economic order would endorse in its place archaic Marxist-Leninist policies. Klein herself insists she believes in a mixed economy, capitalism combined with government controls and social services. And in fact, every so-called capitalist regime in the world falls somewhere within this spectrum.
Strictly socialist countries stand little chance against the steady march of regime change demanded by organizations such as the International Monetary Fund.
Right now, Greece is in the spotlight for its refusal to implement austere economic policies. On Sunday, citizens will vote on a bailout package that comes with what most see as a final chance to stay within the European fold.
If it refuses, the country will inevitably go bankrupt and be thrown to the wolves.
Naomi Klein has held Greece up as a prime example of The Shock Doctrine in action. Her 2008 book of the same name argues that moments of catastrophic upheaval, from natural disaster to economic collapse, are exploited by far-right forces to impose radical free market policies in the regions affected. In an April 2013 interview with the Greek online news agency EnetEnglish, Klein noted how the current crisis reflects realities she’s seen before.
“What I’ve been following recently is the sell-off of natural resources for mining and drilling,” she said. “That’s the next frontier of how this is going to play out. … This is a whole other level of using austerity and debt to force countries to sell off their mining and drilling rights for fire sale prices.”
The country’s national psyche also comes into play.
“Greeks have this particular fear that’s being exploited … the fear of becoming a developing country, becoming a Third World country,” she said. “And I think in Greece there’s always been this sense of hanging on to Europe by a thread. And the threat is having that thread cut.”
As of Friday, polls in Greece indicated a virtual tie on the referendum question. It is a country on the verge of a major turning point – one that could turn ugly if the rift precipitates the rise of increasingly radicalized factions.