While panting during a game of soccer (football), I felt I covered a lot of distance and then I somehow pitied the ball. I felt it was covering more distance than anybody else on the field in addition to getting kicked around very often. I was pondering about the feelings of the ball if it were to be a living creature. It dawned on me that I was the football in every government office that I ever had to venture into. I reckon the glee (of Schadenfreude) on the faces of bureaucrats as I rolled from one table to another.
The tables seem to have turned at least in some countries. The ‘kids in front of computers across the world’ (as bond vigilantes are called by the Greek prime minister, George Papandreou) are playing hard for the Schadenfreude cup and the ball this time is called Mr. Papandreou who also happens to be the prime minister of the country that coincidentally invented the greatest sporting even in human history, the Olympics. The kids that the Greek PM is referring to are people like you and me (kids at heart at least) who sit in front of computers and somehow do not feel like lending to the Greek government to let Greeks retire early with full pension benefits. The ball (Greek PM) is making rounds to Brussels and Washington propelled by some superb kicks by those kids (in front of computers). Strangely people like (US president) Obama and (French president) Sarkozy are in the same boat (or ship) that Papandreou calls the Titanic for reasons best known to him and well everyone.
Did you know that hairdressing is a hazardous occupation that needs a person to retire by age 50 and recoup under the aegis of their benevolent government? Newsreaders, musicians and many others also deserve similar treatment as they are in very hazardous professions as per the laws in Greece. By that measure, lending to the Greeks would be most hazardous act in one’s life and those who are refusing to do so would be called unscrupulous speculators who take pleasure at the suffering (also called Schadenfreude) of poor hairdressers who might have to work a few more years away from vacation spots on the beaches in Cyprus. The Turks might have a few words to say about Cyprus but that is for another day.
The kids are playing against some formidable opponents like governments in EU and USA. However history shows that in all sports from slingshot shooting to tennis, unseeded kids like David have always won on Goliaths.
Once Greece is bailed out (for the moment), the football will be passed on to the UK. Gordon Brown or whoever succeeds him sometime this year would be the next football for the ‘kids (in front of computers).’ Germany is not backing UK and so they might have to look west for the quarterbacks from USA to back them. Unfortunately those brawny Yankee quarterbacks (of American football) have their backs against the wall with sharp spikes called wars (in Iraq and South Asia), healthcare, unemployment and bankrupt entities (from individuals to entire states including the largest one of them all, California).
India is also trying to send its team for the inauguration parade of the Schadenfreude cup. Along with some impressive numbers about economic growth has come the bill that needs to be paid to continue it. As of now the bill is 100 billion dollars or five lakh crores of Indian rupees in the financial year that is about to commence in April 2010. The kids (in front of computers) are playing hardball with the Indian prime minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, as they demand interest rate of more than 8% to lend money while even now Greece is able to get money at an interest rate of 6%. Tax reforms could not be introduced in India for decades and the delay just got extended by one more year. Income tax is the most difficult thing to collect in India. More often the collection is a loss making exercise and so the government rightly decided to tax consumption instead. Corruption and inflation make the ball even more attractive and ready for a hard kick.
Arthayantra and Dinakarananda wish you a very Happy Lunar New Year (Ugadi) and all the best for the Schadenfreude cup. Happy kicking.