Ο Μάικλ Λιούις είναι αυτός ο δαιμόνιος Αμερικανός δημοσιογράφος που έχει πάρει σβάρνα όλες τις Ευρωπαϊκές χώρες που βρίσκονται ύπο πτώχευση και γράφει την πονεμένη τους ιστορία στο περιοδικό Vanity Fair. Έχει γράψει για την Ισλανδία, την Ιρλανδία και, βεβαίως, σε ένα θαυμάσιο άρθρο με κεντρικό άξονα το σκάνδαλο του Βατοπεδίου και το τελικό συμπέρασμα ότι είμαστε ένας λαός υπό “πλήρη ηθική κατάρρευση”, την Ελλάδα. Για το προηγούμενο τεύχος ο Λιούις είπε να πάει στην άλλη πλευρά της ιστορίας, και ταξίδεψε στη Γερμανία, που με τα λεφτά της συντηρεί κατά μία έννοια όλες τις προηγούμενες χώρες. Είναι άρθρο πολύ μεγάλο και ωραίο, και σου συστήνω να το διαβάσεις όλο. Αποκάτω σου έχω έξι χαρακτηριστικά αποσπάσματα, τα πιο ζουμερά, ξεκινώντας από αυτό που περιγράφει την εμμονή των Γερμανών με τον κώλο, τα σκατά, και οτιδήποτε γίνεται κοντά στην απόληξη του παχέος εντέρου, η οποία ο συγγραφέας πιστεύει ότι εξηγεί τα πάντα για τη μενταλιτέ τους ως λαού.
Published in 1984 by a distinguished anthropologist named Alan Dundes, Life Is Like a Chicken Coop Ladder set out to describe the German character through the stories that ordinary Germans liked to tell one another. Dundes specialized in folklore, and in German folklore, as he put it, “one finds an inordinate number of texts concerned with anality. Scheisse (shit), Dreck (dirt), Mist (manure), Arsch (ass).… Folksongs, folktales, proverbs, riddles, folk speech—all attest to the Germans’ longstanding special interest in this area of human activity.”
Παρακάτω, ο αναπληρωτής Υπουργός Οικονομικών μιλάει στον Λιούις για την Ελλάδα:
The deputy finance minister further disturbs my wild assumptions about him by speaking clearly, even recklessly, about subjects most finance ministers believe it is their job to obscure. He offers up, without much prompting, that he has just finished reading the latest unpublished report by I.M.F. investigators on the progress made by the Greek government in reforming itself.
“They have not sufficiently implemented the measures they have promised to implement,” he says simply. “And they have a massive problem still with revenue collection. Not with the tax law itself. It’s the collection which needs to be overhauled.”
Greeks are still refusing to pay their taxes, in other words. But it is only one of many Greek sins. “They are also having a problem with the structural reform. Their labor market is changing—but not as fast as it needs to,” he continues. “Due to the developments in the last 10 years, a similar job in Germany pays 55,000 euros. In Greece it is 70,000.” To get around pay restraints in the calendar year the Greek government simply paid employees a 13th and even 14th monthly salary—months that didn’t exist. “There needs to be a change of the relationship between people and the government,” he continues. “It is not a task that can be done in three months. You need time.” He couldn’t put it more bluntly: if the Greeks and the Germans are to coexist in a currency union, the Greeks need to change who they are.
Παρακάτω, ρίχνουμε μια ματιά στη μενταλιτέ του όντος που λέγεται “Γερμανός δημόσιος υπάλληλος”. Παρατήρα:
Jörg Asmussen offers the first hint of an answer—in his personal behavior. He is a type familiar in Germany but absolutely freakish in Greece—or for that matter the United States: a keenly intelligent, highly ambitious civil servant who has no other desire but to serve his country. His sparkling curriculum vitae is missing a line that would be found on the résumés of men in his position most anywhere else in the world—the line where he leaves government service for Goldman Sachs to cash out. When I asked another prominent German civil servant why he hadn’t taken time out of public service to make his fortune working for some bank, the way every American civil servant who is anywhere near finance seems to want to do, his expression changed to alarm. “But I could never do this,” he said. “It would be illoyal!”
Παρακάτω, οι επιδράσεις του “φτηνού χρήματος” που εμφανίστηκε στα ’90s. Οι Έλληνες το χρησιμοποίησαν για να πάρουνε Γερμανικές Cayenne, οι Γερμανοί δεν το χρησιμοποίησαν καθόλου.
The curious thing about the eruption of cheap and indiscriminate lending of money during the past decade was the different effects it had from country to country. Every developed country was subjected to more or less the same temptation, but no two countries responded in precisely the same way. The rest of Europe, in effect, used Germany’s credit rating to indulge its material desires. They borrowed as cheaply as Germans could to buy stuff they couldn’t afford. Given the chance to take something for nothing, the German people alone simply ignored the offer. “There was no credit boom in Germany,” says Asmussen. “Real-estate prices were completely flat. There was no borrowing for consumption. Because this behavior is rather alien to Germans. Germans save whenever possible. This is deeply in German genes. Perhaps a leftover of the collective memory of the Great Depression and the hyperinflation of the 1920s.” The German government was equally prudent because, he went on, “there is a consensus among the different parties about this: if you’re not adhering to fiscal responsibility, you have no chance in elections, because the people are that way.”
Επίσης, οι Γερμανοί τραπεζίτες αμείβονται με ψίχουλα και, όταν φταίνε, ξεφτιλίζονται. Οι Αμερικάνοι;
The American bond traders may have sunk their firms by turning a blind eye to the risks in the subprime-bond market, but they made a fortune for themselves in the bargain and have for the most part never been called to account. They were paid to put their firms in jeopardy, and so it is hard to know whether they did it intentionally or not. The German bond traders, on the other hand, had been paid roughly $100,000 a year, with, at most, another $50,000 bonus. In general, German bankers were paid peanuts to run the risk that sank their banks—which suggests they really didn’t know what they were doing. But—and here is the strange thing—unlike their American counterparts, they are being treated by the German public as crooks. The former C.E.O. of IKB, Stefan Ortseifen, received a 10-month suspended sentence and has been asked by the bank to return his salary: eight hundred and five thousand euros.
Κι όταν οι Γερμανοί τραπεζίτες κάνουν πάρτι με πόρνες, το κάνουν πολιτισμένα:
This preternatural love of rules, almost for their own sake, punctuates German finance as it does German life. As it happens, a story had just broken that a division of a German insurance company called Munich Re, back in June 2007, or just before the crash, had sponsored a party for its best producers that offered not just chicken dinners and nearest-to-the-pin golf competitions but a blowout with prostitutes in a public bath. In finance, high or low, this sort of thing is of course not unusual. What was striking was how organized the German event was. The company tied white and yellow and red armbands to the prostitutes to indicate which ones were available to which men. After each sexual encounter the prostitute received a stamp on her arm, to indicate how often she had been used. The Germans didn’t want just hookers: they wanted hookers with rules.
Διάβασε ολόκληρο το πολύ ενδιαφέρον κείμενο, με όλες τις λεπτομέρειες περί κοπράνων και πρωκτικού σεξ, εδώ.