If you’re not Greek (and most people aren’t), the news that the Greeks are going to resolve the political unpopularity of the new austerity package being imposed by the European Union by forming a grand coalition immune to public opinion and political pressure is probably good news. It’s much less clear to me that this is good news for Greek people. At the end of the day, had Greece played chicken and insisted on a better deal, I think the Germans would ultimately have paid up. It’s cheaper to bail Greece out than to deal with the fallout. But for the non-Greeks of the world, this is definitely the best outcome.
That it’s playing out this way is, I think, an example of a benign consequence of the rise of the global ruling class. The leadership of a small upper-middle-income country is willing to do something unpopular and likely contrary to the interests of its population for the sake of the greater good. Still, as a structural matter I think it’s a fairly disturbing trend. The action is now moving on to Italy where “international community” is basically trying to stage a coup against Silvio Berlusconi. Here, too, that sounds like a good outcome for the world if it can be achieved but again constitutes a fairly disturbing trajectory.