EUROZONE HUBRIS BLUES APPROXIMATELY*
When one sad day and desperate not long from now
A tidy Teutonic bureaucrat presents his furrowed brow
In the halls of Athens, Madrid, Lisbon, Dublin or Warsaw;
When such as these must at last endure that tidy visage raw:
Entrusted with a duty most stern, hardly undertaken pleasurably,
To deliver to some city of the Eurozone periphery
Word of submitting finally to Franco-German yoke:
Real austerity for a hundred thousand folk
From public payrolls and security cut off;
A million more their pensions made measurably more soft.
When one forlorn and dismal day from Brussels does depart
A delegation whose message, couched in technical terms of art,
At base bespeaks of taking not the scalpel but the axe
To venerable welfare budgets until little is left intact:
When this dreary spectacle so long feared is observed,
And talk of Germanic conquest no longer sounds absurd;
Then ‘round the world shall ring
That Common Currency is no longer king
But Teutonic sovereignty imposed,
And any retreat from imperial Europe foreclosed.
When on that drab day Frankfurt central bankers consummate
This decisive blow for their mantra “We will not inflate!”
Will integration and finance capitalism, bereft now of disguise,
Be free to strut about at length and discard emollient lies
And dare for once declare its true principle:
“Private creditors must always be made whole”?
Or will a reckoning break in upon the public mind
Which issues in a realization, long tenaciously denied:
“We can have a generous dole funded by steady economic growth
Or we can indulge our envy — we cannot have both”?
When one dim and darkening day, as whispers have long foretold,
No German balance sheet, no synthetic neo-deutschmark sold
By even the cleverest rocket science modeling risk probabilities
Can avert the crack of doom, can calm the quaking knees
Of financiers and securitizers stalking every trading floor
In Paris and in London, faraway Dubai and Singapore
Nor sparing Basel, Frankfurt, New York or Reykjavik,
Every last bank integrating capital, the globalization trick;
Liquidity and margin calls, swap spread, three-party repo:
Mystique of technicality like any human hubris is laid low.
When some distant gloomy day a streak of light obtrudes,
When delusion and entitlement give way to a saner mood:
The predicament will be found at bottom not fiscal or monetary at all,
But rather a crisis of spirit, a loss of faith and enterprise withal.
For at back of any promise out of public treasury to provide
Security from want and comfort in retirement besides
Is the assumption of procreation of the productive class of men
Whose industry and ingenuity rewards not only them;
No less than the assumption of procreation of the laboring type
Whose hard work by small increments stores up the nation’s wealth and might.
When one far off happy day restoration of health draws near
When society is again a partnership beyond the now and here
A partnership across the generations, from long dead to unborn
From the toughest capitalist to the humblest family’s lowest born
Democracy of the dead, alive and well
Its truest form, noblesse oblige, upon our progeny fell
Nobility obliges. Above all to the least of these
The Creed of the Cross, the yoke that frees
And then at last our society’s contract will find it will not fail:
The one institution against which hell’s gates shall not prevail.
* Apologies to Bob Dylan