Monday, 19 October 2009

A modern allegory

A little extra post this week

There was an old woman who lived in a village with her son that was ruled by a demanding old man. Although he took care of the villagers basic needs they had to work hard and be careful not to anger the old man, as he could be cruel and merciless. Suddenly one day the old man left. Times were even harder then for the old woman and her son as there was now no one to take care of the basic needs of the villagers.

Eventually some energetic young men came to the village and befriended the young man. They gave him lots of advice and lent him money. The young man built himself a beautiful home and the young man was happy and his mother was pleased to see him prosper. But suddenly times changed and things got hard and the young man's new friends wanted their money back but because times were hard he could not repay. What could he do? Where could he turn? Another old man came to the village and offered to pay back the loans of the young man but he insisted that the old woman and the rest of the villagers now also pay him back for helping the young man out. The old man took the money from what little money the old woman and the other villagers had coming into the homes in order to make sure he was paid back.

That's not fair you may say and indeed it is not. The energetic young men will probably get their money back and more and the old man too but the villagers will be paying for the reckless loans taken by the young man for a long time to come. Who is to blame you may ask? The young man? Or his reckless advisors? Who should pay? What do you think?

The characters in this tale are:-
The demanding old man: The Soviet system
The Old Woman and her son: The Latvian people
The energetic young men: The EU, Swedish banks and the advisors from the World bank/IMF
The second old man: The IMF

The Old Woman and her son could actually be many different countries and the advisors from many different organisations but the scenario has happened and may indeed happen again unless the system changes and people are held accountable for their reckless loans and advice. Maybe you don't see it that way, maybe you have a different story or a different way of telling the story, feel free to write your own and post it here.


  1. I don't have much to add to your insightful description, but if you haven't already read it, you might be interested in Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism".

    It's been awhile since I read it, but I think it speaks very much to your theory.

  2. I shall have to look that one up, thank you!


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