Madoff and Greece – why there are no protests on Wall Street?

I’ve spent the last few days 16 hours on planes and airports and had quite some time to read. There have been many interesting issues – the outcome of the last (hopefully) European Council under Monsieur Sarkozy, the spill-over from the financial crisis to the real sector, the riots in Greece, the Slovenia-Croatia border dispute, the Obama administration getting shape, the Iraqi “shoe-thrower” and many more! It also made me a bit melancholic about holding newspapers – normally the LCD screen delivers the news.

Let us also be honest from the start. My heart does not fall apart when reading the news about the financial crisis. While feeling compassion for those hard-working people now losing their jobs, I think it can only do us good. We have seen such extremes in wealth distribution that the situation needed corrections. Plus, we have seen the financial sector being expanded progressively to rule above anything else. Which would have been OK, if people would not lose compass and understanding of what the financial sector was there to do: service the demand for money. It has long passed that function…the Madoff case in the US just proves how greedy and unscrupulous people have become. And how little the state did to protect the economy and the people from them.

Then I’ve seen the riots in Greece. I still fail to see the point of destroying private property like mad, but I guess some extremists see this as a method of settling the bill. However, pointless violence apart -I was really happy to see people on the streets peacefully protesting about dire life conditions. And Greece is an EU member state – with 20% unemployment, with 20% of people living below the poverty line, with a seriously deteriorated educational system and little optimism left. All this after the bling-bling of the Olympics in 2004. I’m actually surprised there are no more riots…

So, long live the Lisbon Strategy.

To put in perspective the Greek riots. Madoff rips off some 50 billion dollars, but no one goes to the streets. Have you also noted that no one was protesting on Wall Street when Lehman Brothers went bust and when investment banks massively laid off their workers…? Let’s see if there will be people on the streets once Ford, GM and Chrysler go bust.

I bet you they will show up in masses.

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