Here is a story I recently read in the Chronique de Troyes, by the 13th century Cistercian monk
A man in Orleans fell ill and called a
doctor. The doctor examined him and concluded the patient was gravely ill. For
a cure he decided to bleed him, with leeches.
The following day the doctor returned. The
patient was clearly worse. So he bled him some more and gave him a mixture of laurel
leaves and mare’s urine to drink.
On the third day, the patient could not
even talk anymore and looked paler than the sheets he was wrapped in. So the
doctor administered an extra heavy bleeding, by opening up the veins.
Next day the patient was dead. ‘Doctor,
what happened?’ wailed the grief-struck widow. ‘How come my husband was not
‘It was my fault,’ the doctor answered. ‘I
did not bleed him enough.’
Do you buy this, reader?
What? You don’t? How weird!
Now, you are of course perfectly right to shake your head at this line
of reasoning. But if the fallacy of it is so very clear, then answer me this: why
is it that so many people all over Europe do accept the equally idiotic cure
that the Abominable Troika of the European Commission, the European Central
Bank and the International Monetary Fund is applying to Spain and other
countries in trouble?
Draconian budget cuts are demanded from national governments in
exchange for a potion of laurel leaves and horse piss. This makes the illness
worse, by gutting the economy. Therefore more
draconian budget cuts are demanded, with the doctor’s guarantee that this time
it WILL work. And again. And again. Ad
Last week the Spanish government announced a stunning 65 billion
budget cut on the poor and the middle classes. Yesterday the go-ahead was given
for a first tranche of 30 billlion €uros bail-out money for the Spanish banks
from the European partners. Therefore Spain and the €uro ought to have been saved,
because this line of action promised to restore the Confidence Of The Financial
Markets. Instead, the country’s stock market dropped 5 %, the interest rate on
Spanish bonds rose to 7.25 % and the differential with German interest to 625,
both the highest level ever, while the
Divine €uro dropped against the dollar to the lowest value in its history: 1.21
Why is this? Why are the Financial Markets not more confident? Might
it be, perhaps, that they do
understand that bleeding a patient again and again is not the recipe to cure
him, but to kill him? And that they do not wish to lend money to a moribund man
in the hands of deluded doctors?
Meanwhile, we can wait for the miracle cure which the Abominable
Troika will prescribe for Spain next week: more austerity in exchange for a
broader bail-out. This time, they
will assure us, it WILL WORK! Guaranteed!
There have been major riots all over Spain the last few days. In
some of them, policemen, while still doing their duty, expressed their sympathy
for the demonstrators. We are living in interesting times. Unfortunately…