A few days ago in an email conversation with my daughter I mentioned that the political and economic turmoil in Europe had intensified this past two weeks. Writing back, she asked me to send her a few links to news stories that could give her some insight into the situation.
Harrumph, I mumbled to myself, I wish I could ask the same of some wise news guru.
And I suspect I’m not the only one. It’s much more difficult than it should be to find news reports that aren’t simplistic re-cyclings of various prejudicial stereotypes or political ideologies posing as expertise.
As an example, just last week economist Bill Black strongly criticized the mighty New York Times‘s coverage of the European crisis as “overwhelmingly written from the German perspective.” You can read the post here on the Naked Capitalism website.
So when I found these two videos this morning featuring Harvard University economist Richard Parker talking about Greece, I decided to post them. Parker has a bit of an inside track on Greece especially. He served as an adviser to former Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou from 2009 to 2011 (see bio).
In the first video (click on screenshot above), Parker advises against falling for easy answers “about the character or moral values of other people to explain a crisis of the kind we’re seeing in Greece.” He then quickly refutes some of the worst stereotypes against the country that are found in daily news headlines.
I particularly liked Parker’s summing up comment because he calls for citizen activism as part of the resolution. Here it is:
Now in Europe as in the United States there have been attempts to rein in the power of an unregulated financial system. But it’s very difficult to do. So the way forward in the 21st century in the wake of this crisis that we’re still living through is going to require a kind of intelligence and vision that transcends national borders. And that will have to come in part from citizens demanding behavior of public leaders of all sorts that moves us to a new world.
This video is a concise three and a half minutes and was posted online earlier this week (May 14).
The second video I found, via Googling, is a six-minute excerpt of a lecture Parker gave last October to the World Affairs Council of Connecticut. In this video, the economist traces step by step how the Greek economic crisis began some years ago to its current deepening turmoil.