The time of gold-plated domes, of Aston Martin or Lamborghini collections, the construction of pharaonic stadiums and highways or towers of Babel, belong to the past, to the extent that producers had to pull from their reserves, if only to cover an abysmal deficit generated in the light of the huge inflows of the past.
A producer has yet escaped the slump: Norway. True to an austere or even frugal Lutheran tradition, the country did not succumb to the spendthrift irrational, when its huge energy reserves were discovered. This was demonstrated during the Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer characterized by an efficient sobriety.
Successive governments have instead focused on the development of infrastructures for the benefit of the population in the form of schools, universities or hospitals, to the extent that any Norwegian can find effective treatments less than one hour from his home away and get there by helicopter in case of emergency. New universities saw their reputation growing rapidly and, in the framework of Erasmus, are often frequented by foreign students who become attached to the country and consider staying. Life is serene, reassuring (sometimes too much) and the inhabitants have middle-class needs; a small apartment, a shack in the countryside, an old Saab to get there, and a boat for fishing. Concerned about the welfare of its youth and aware of the oppressive melancholy which might emerge from the long polar night, the government has been organizing since a few years, from October to April, internships in Italy for middle school students.
This relative frugality enabled the Norwegians to create a sovereign fund, the assets of which are currently reaching more than Euros 900 billions ; they will increase over the coming decades and thus allow the country to consider the distant post-oil period without painful sacrifices, whereas many other producers will have rediscovered their original dunes or jungles.
The only real danger threatening Norway is to lend a sometimes too complacent ear to extremism be it from the right-wing or of Salafi nature and thus deal a fatal blow to an ancestral ethnic diversity which has greatly contributed to its success but now plans to emigrate.
Holidays in Greece always leave a mixed feeling. The seashores, the beauty of the sea are unique, not to mention the stunning ancient ruins, while other possibilities to stay around the Mediterranean have gradually faded, mainly for political and religious reasons. Life is pleasant and enchanting nights are only occasionally troubled by the howls of some drunken Brexiters.
As soon as you leave the shores or places of interest, you cannot help remembering the sad story of the preamble.
Around still busy cities, are indeed only lugubrious cohorts of empty shops, abandoned factories, vacant commercial buildings or deserted parking lots except for a few rusty cars. The food industry still resists, especially cafeterias where unemployed young people end up spending the last savings of their grandparents.
And during that time, the candid experts of the Troika, in their dark grey Wall Street style suits, continue their Kriegspiel and provide advice of senseless savings to ecstatic and inexperienced politicians. This is reminiscent of the former Yugoslavia, where Western participants in the conflict could not care less of civilians and were delighted to experiment their new war technologies.
When will there be someone with the lucidity to remind that the famous Greek debt is not a black hole emerged from nowhere, that French, German, British, American companies, to name only a few, have massively contributed to it by selling their goods to the country, that international banks took great advantage of these operations or that Mrs. Merkel, whom everyone worships, sacrificed the poor Greece on the American altar, fiercely opposing eurobonds that would have supplanted the Treasury-bonds and Bills and solved all European problems ? Finally, there are about 100 countries, and not the least important ones, that defaulted and have recovered, sometimes at the expense of greedy banks. Therefore, instead of dragging the metastatic millstone many institutions are still benefiting from, it would be better, either to simply cancel the debt or to substitute for it a kind of perpetual War-loan at a symbolic rate.
Without such radical measures, Greece, as the donkey, will die bloodless and will in the meantime have lost its leaders, its strength and desire to work, its capacity for innovation and the little capital that remains.
The experts in dark grey suits could then return home, avoiding tomato or even stone throwings which threaten them when they burst out of taxis to step into their hotels!