In her Letter from Athens, Ms. Donadio writes:
The feeling that the country is about to undergo an even greater economic upheaval is inescapable. Highly educated young people are desperate to emigrate. Families are putting their property up for sale to pay debts. Banks long ago stopped lending. Casual conversations between friends end in tears.
The world has had economic downturns before, but what makes this one different goes beyond mere numbers on a balance sheet. Its roots are found in the growing doubts that people are having about our increasingly globalized world. Remember the hope people felt when the cold war ended, and the Berlin Wall fell? Remember when once-hostile African and Eastern European countries opened themselves up to foreign investment, and US and European stock markets soared? Remember when email became commonplace, when it became possible to send photos or documents or songs or videos as attachments with a simple mouse-click?
Social scientists created a word for that phenomenon: globalization. Hillary Clinton quoted an African proverb that it took a village to raise a child. And for a moment, we all felt like members of one big village.
Now, in the 2010s, we’re seeing the downside of that globalization. It’s not pretty.