Sartre and the Bailouts

I remember reading Sartre’s The Reprieve, greatly appreciating the ways the author described the imminence of the Second World War. At first, people in the west live on, seemingly unaffected by their fellow countrymen. Then a whirlwind – the imminence of war – takes over, influencing everyone throughout Europe. A random flower shop dealer suddenly goes out of business, because nobody buys roses anymore . People join the army and get transported to distant places. The looming war makes the people’s destinies converge. Not only the novel’s characters’ destinies, but also the destinies of everyone in Europe.

Similarly, I find it interesting to hear stories of the financial crisis. How it has affected people all over, binding the people together. It links Latvian teachers on the government payroll to the suddenly impoverished Icelandic middle class. A Spanish engineer decides to be a housewife, all the while the housing prices crumble in Detroit.

The word “to reprieve” means “to delay punishment” or “to relieve for a time”. In Sartre’s novel, the reprieve refers to the big European countries giving the Czech Sudetenland over to the Nazi regime, trying thus to avoid a war in Europe. Everyone knows how that venture ended.  It will be interesting to see how all the numerous bailouts will be viewed in the eyes of history. As a quick, swift ad hoc that saved the post-WW2 economical theories? Or as a pitiful attempt to stop a mighty paradigm-shifting whirlwind?

Either way, we are living in interesting times.


2 responses to “Sartre and the Bailouts

  1. Dear Hanba,

    I think you are thinking over two separate issues.

    The first is globalization, we may argue when it started (thousands of years, hundreds of years or tens of years ago). It is a fact that it has escalated during last years and made phenomenons – people in different parts of the world face similar experiences – you first described more and more common.

    The second one is a paradigm shift. What is it that is changing? I think that it is living conditions. The planet Earth is getting too small and we really should make a big paradigm shift in the way we live and see different values. I believe that we anyway must adapt to a big change. It would be best to do it fast, because the later we do it the bigger (and more difficult) it will be. So a pitiful attempt to stop a paradigm-shifting whirlwind will be even more pitiful if it succeeds this time.

    I agree with you that we live interesting times – as we have done already for some time.

  2. Dear Juba,

    Thanks for reading the post and commenting on it! I hadn’t thought about it this way, but I see how you mean. We’ll see how and when this “big change” will happen…. 🙂 Regards -hanba-

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