Living the tragedy: May 28- June 03 on openDemocracy

Chekhov said that “any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.” Àngel Ferrero, watching a desperately uninteresting boxing match in Berlin, reflects on immigrant life in Germany, which is tolerant but not open - unlike his native Spain which is open but intolerant. Who, he wonders, as he puts on his jacket, would publish such melancholia?

11 June 2012

You’ve guessed the answer, the website that Chekhov himself would check out! And what a crisis the idiots have made – argues Ann Pettifor, who has every right to do so. She foresaw the coming financial tragedy in 2003, when we published her The Coming First World Debt Crisis. On 22 September 2008, the week that “changed everything” in her words at the time, she demanded a different economics or a tragedy would unfold. Now, as a scandalous deal means the European “bail out” of Greece in fact benefits vulture funds based in the Cayman Islands, she calls on Europe to abandon the fetters of the Euro. Has the tragic dénouement arrived?

But life refuses to lie down. In Italy, Beppe Grillo’s popular call on his country’s politicians to “Go f*ck yourselves” has, Giovanni Navarria reports, turned into a vote winning internet movement “Move aside, now it's up to us”. In Egypt's post-revolution entrepreneurs are taking over the middle class streets in Cairo, we learn from the wonderful photo-account by an apartment owner. It is much grimmer in Mexico. Ivan Briscoe, whose regular, magnificent essays on living through crisis have lifted the quality of openDemocracy, starts a regular slot in openSecurity; can the Mexicans manage crime by learning from El Salvador he asks, in Deals with the Devil

And the ideas are out there, argues Chris Hewett, who has helped map them - if only the world of finance will listen to him, as they didn’t to Ann Pettifor. There is a strong call for a basic income from Spain, along with worry that the innovative political impact of its indignados has died. Jennifer Weiss and Leonard Benardo try irony: maybe the ubiquitous frisking and body searches in the US can provide universal medical diagnoses, if the US Supreme Court strikes down Obama’s healthcare.

But the spectacle continues, especially in the UK where a new debate page A Great British Summer? probes the Queen’s Jubilee and Olympic Games.

While back in the land of Chekov oDRussia investigates the future of protest, of Putin on Syria and vodka.


Essential readings from elsewhere on the web:

The New York Times looks closely at Obama's record on counter-terrorism, and find it far more hawkish than anyone would have guessed four years ago

Stephen Walt details how scholars can contribute to a diverse intellectual ecosystem

If you’re up for a long read, David Rennie looks at the awkward Britain-EU relationship


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