Saturday, May 19, 2012
"Just look at him! there he stands,
With his nasty hair and hands.
See! his nails are never cut;
they are are grim'd as black as soot;
And the sloven , I declare,
Never once comb'd his hair
Any thing to me is sweeter
Than to see Shock-headed Peter "
Team Macro Man, when they were little macro children, were given a book called "Struwwelpeter" which was written in the late 1800s by the German Psychiatrist Heinrich Hoffmann as a set of short stories for children showing the shockingly disastrous consequences of misbehaviour. To some, the book is an anachronistic psychological nightmare to be confined to the Politically Correct incinerator but TMM have always delighted in it, leaving them rounded with fond memories of moral tales with endings that didn't pussy foot around.
This morning found us once again reading the book to the squeamish delight (note not horror) of our own offspring and as we did so it became abundantly clear that the book should have been made essential reading for all Eurocrats and Greek politicians. The stark Germanic cultural attitude towards transgression from the rules shines through and is as valid today as it was when the book was written.
Rather than us rewriting each story in its modern context we would suggest you fire up THIS copy in another window and read along as you consider the following -
Harriet and the Matches - Obviously the Greeks playing with borrowing and spending, as they have seen their elders and betters do, but ending with Greece as a pile of ashes.
Augustus who wouldn't have any soup - Greece turning down the bailouts handed to them by Europe and they end up slowly starving to death.
Fidgety Philip - Phillip is so obviously Greek Politics pulling down the dining table of Europe as the Core tell him to behave.
Robert - Investors buying periphery sovereign debt thinking they are protected by CDS and getting carried away never to be seen again?
Johnny Head in the Air - The Eurostriches of European policy reaction with 2011 being the first fall and 2012 the big fall into the canal (hopefully to be fished out by the IMF) all because they couldn't see and react to what was obviously in front of them.
Cruel Fredrick - Frederick is Germany, forcing austerity on periphery countries only to be bitten by them and confined to bed as the periphery then eat his dinner.
The Man that went out Shooting . - This story involves a hunter who, whilst dozing, finds the hare he was after has stolen his gun and his spectacles. The hare then wrecks havoc upon the Hunter and his home, eventually killing him. Hunter - Germany, hare - periphery, specs and gun - policy?
Finally "Struwwelpeter" himself - Europe.
There are other stories in his book that we will leave you to interpret yourself (the comments column is open for alternatives) but, Heinrich Hoffmann, we thank you. You were either the Nostradamus of European politics or have beautifully illustrated how the current European turmoil boils down to basic childish behaviours that the rest of us that were taught from a very early age are just plain wrong.