Ancient Greece was not only the birthplace of democracy, but also a deathbed of reason when a jury of 500 citizens condemned Socrates to die by hemlock poisoning for his impious attitude toward the order of the day. Defiant to the end, the philosopher voluntarily drank the poison himself in a suicidal display of dignity.
This weekend, Greek voters will decide in a referendum whether they will be force-fed more painful austerity, imposed by the jury of other European democracies, or, like Socrates, administer their own poison in a "no" vote that will likely push Greece out of the eurozone. Tragedy, too, such as we are witnessing today, had its origins in early Greek drama.
Nobel Laureate Joe Stiglitz and Martin Guzman argue that Greece will be better off administering the poison by its own hand. As they point out by examining the Argentine default in 2001, there is "life after debt and default." Manolis Glezos, the elderly firebrand of Syriza, writes from Athens that, in a democracy, "the people are the measure" of their fate. (continued)
Unlike many letters from Congress that are ignored by the executive branch, this one might be taken more seriously by the IMF and the U.S. Treasury department -- which is the IMF's most powerful overseer. One reason is that the IMF has been trying for five years to enact reforms in its governance structure that are very important to the Fund and Treasury -- reforms that can't be enacted unless they are approved by Congress.
MAPUTO -- It is estimated that some countries lose more than $1 billion a year by failing to educate girls to the same level as boys. So we must act decisively.
TEL AVIV -- As we reach the one-year anniversary since the announcement of ISIS, much of the commentary has been far too ephemeral, taking whatever comes out immediately in the news as indicative of long-term trends. ISIS is neither winning nor losing: rather, like any long war, there is much ebb and flow.
Defaults are difficult. But even more so is austerity. The good news for Greece is that, as Argentina showed, there may be life after debt and default.
BRUSSELS -- The feeling of belonging to Europe might make the difference. It might lead a majority of Greeks to accept another austerity program, and prevent Greece from repeating Argentina's tragedy.
It may not be a breakdown, but it is undoubtedly an unveiling: Europe is abandoning its State of Grace, its Olympus of Rules, and doing something that in the language of international politics is brutally labeled "meddling."
The supporters of Troika have revealed themselves. They are not interested in the Greek people; they are interested in the banking system. We hear views like, "Banks are the backbone of the national economy." But we don't hear anything concerning the Greek people who suffer.
Given the EU's fundamental interconnectedness -- in economic, financial, geopolitical and social terms -- the disruptive impact of each shock would amplify the others, overwhelming the region's circuit breakers, leading to recession, reviving financial instability and creating pockets of social tension. This would increase already high unemployment, expose excessive financial risk-taking, embolden Russia and strengthen populist movements further, thereby impeding comprehensive policy responses.
BUENOS AIRES -- Athens in 2015 will become like Buenos Aires in 2001. Greeks now face the prospect of prolonged capital controls, severe political unrest and eventually a confiscation of ordinary citizens' savings to finance a government's withdrawal from the world.
The June 30 deadline for the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5 1 group -- the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany -- to reach a comprehensive agreement has once again been extended. Both the supporters and opponents of the agreement in Iran and the United States have intensified their efforts. But a speech on June 23 by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has attracted wide international attention.
In America, brittle smiles mask the silent scream of the new parent.
It is true that in a referendum, the people speak. But they don't say much. Just a "yes" or a "no." That's why the important part of a referendum isn't the answer. It's the question.
ATHENS -- It seems extraordinary how averse we have become to democracy. How alien an honest leader, who is unwilling to sell the country out in exchange for continuing power, appears. Tsipras is what all leaders should actually be like. We have simply become so accustomed to seeing things through the warped prism of political expedience, that democracy as it should be appears twisted.
It's clear that we should not base our hopes on futile and dangerous solutions, such as returning to the drachma. Let us draw up a long-term plan for the next day, that will turn Greece into a modern, well-governed European country with a strong economy and liberated from the chronic pathologies that pester it.
What will happen next? The unemployed face years of suffering. There will be more European summits, and more commitments that nobody will fulfill. The Greek problem may be fixed in the short run, but at the expense of a long-term solution.
Over the next few days, leaders from cities, local governments and other organizations around the world will gather in Lyon, France. It is an important step toward COP21, the UN conference on climate change that will happen in Paris in December. The bold actions taken not only by local leaders but also by all the range of non-state actors to reduce greenhouse gases place them at the forefront of the fight against climate change.
Many Muslims have taken to social media to express their horror that ISIS is trying to portray Ramadan as a month for jihadist attacks, when it is traditionally a month of celebrating peace.
Right now, too many Americans are working long days for less pay than they deserve. That's partly because we've failed to update overtime regulations for years -- and an exemption meant for highly paid, white collar employees now leaves out workers making as little as $23,660 a year -- no matter how many hours they work.