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Betrayed by the fourth estate

fourth_estateTHE RECENT developments in Greece have created a sense of uncertainty as to what lays ahead. Uncertainty causes concern about how the status quo will change, but it also creates opportunities if one chooses to embrace this change.

Who is at fault for allowing things to reach the point they have? Everyone. No one. Me. You.

Everyone is at fault because half of us choose to spend time lounging around, rather than embracing our civic duties or going to vote for those who govern us. No one, because what is happening is not due to the actions or inaction of one person – it has taken years and required the input of multiple culprits to come to this. I am to blame because I should have shouted louder when I disagreed with certain actions, and been less dismissive of those who did. You are to blame because you sat in idle apathy, expecting everyone else to change around you whilst you continued doing what you always did.

Above all the Greek and the Cypriot people were let down by the Fourth Estate. In Medieval Europe, France had a three-estate system that was used until the French Revolution: the clergy (first estate), the nobility (second estate), and commoners (third estate). The Estates General was used as a means of providing all sections of society equal representation, although the first two estates were chosen by the King. More recently, the term Fourth Estate is used in reference to forces outside the established power structure, typically the independent press or media.

Can one really blame the press and the media for what is unfolding in Greece and Cyprus? Yes. The Fourth Estate dropped the ball long ago, focusing on entertaining and informing rather than providing insight and educating. This has left the first and the second estates, the elite, to run unchecked, as the third estate grew addicted to gadgets, engaged in voyeurism, and became increasingly self-centred. Now that push has come to shove, the Fourth Estate is trying to explain what is happening and offer some comfort to the third estate. However, asking the same person who writes the fashion, gossip and politics columns, to also provide valuable insight into the economy and banking, is equal to expecting that your tablet will also double-up as a babysitter when you are on vacation.

Where do we go from here? For the relationship between Greece and Europe, I offer a segment of “Free bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd – a fantastic rock ballad.

If I leave here tomorrow
Would you still remember me?
For I must be traveling on now
There’s too many places I’ve gotta see
If I stay here with you girl
Things just couldn’t be the same

As to how things will play out, take comfort in the inscription on the ring that humbled the Persian king – “This too shall pass”.

Pavlos Loizou
Partner Greece & Cyprus
Resolute Asset Management

5 COMMENTS

  1. The third estate is obsessed with trivia and issues that don’t matter. This was evidenced in the UK a few months ago by over 1m people ‘petitioning the BBC to save the job of Jeremy Clarkson’. Simultaneously – huge chunks of the NHS were being handed over to private contractors – some overseas and many costing the UK taxpayer MORE than the incumbent people being removed. I’d really have to say that preserving the nation’s health was rather more of an important issue than ‘saving’ the job of an alcoholic, egotist television presenter with over £50m stashed away in assets. Add in TTIP, fracking for shale gas et al – and all of a sudden – the size of Kim Kardashian’s bottom or who gets thrown out of the Big Brother household this week really isn’t anything to lose any sleep over – right?

    Except that it seems to be. I’ve been banging on about raising thinking for years. After devouring endless copies of the Economist – I had an epiphany moment in watching ‘Inside Job’ where (@Nigel) they started their journey in that film in Iceland after the 2008 crash. Iceland I admire hugely – their government & new thought leaders had practical common sense & balls. Unfortunately – we had Gordon Brown and then later William Hague. Cyprus had Christofias. Enough said really..

    So – we are where we are. We are all now at the helm of our 21st Century destinies. We have two choices. Steep ourselves in getting educated in what to do to replace the ageing, squeaking, creaking Rothschild fractional reserve banking nonsense or continue to obsess about trivia and be manipulated by the 1st and 2nd estates – operating their TTIP tyranny whilst we vote for who has the nicest shaped legs on Strictly Whatnot.

    The 21st Cen philosopher Alain deBoton called it correctly a few years ago when he said: “to many – the world’s affairs are now so complex – all quite a lot of folk feel qualified to argue around is a Miley Cyrus video”. Sad state of affairs – but true. The rot set in many decades ago. Esther Rantzen and her appalling trivialisation of often quite serious issues on ‘That’s Life’ in the 1970’s. The gradual dumbing down of TV and TV news (which I’ve refused to watch since the start of this century – and don’t miss at all). The rise of ego-journailsm – where projecting the personality of the interviewer seems to be far more important than the person being interviewed (no matter what their experience and gravitas dictate). Lastly – in journalism – you should Google Adam Curtis and his excellent short video on ‘vaudeville journalism’. V.J is about fragmenting imagery and pushing strap lines over properly researched articles. It was the invention of a Russian – and it works if you want to suppress any meaningful counter-narrative to the core messages you want people to respond to. It certainly worked for Mr Putin.

    We can have better journalists and journalism Mr Loizou. The problem is you cannot blame journalists, editors and publications and the wider media for providing what people want. It is US – the mass of ordinary people – switching off trivia in droves and demanding something better who hold the key. We always did – and we always will.

  2. So who in Cyprus is going to prosecute the corrupt bankers, corrupt lawyers, corrupt developers and corrupt government officials? There is even a suggestion that the prosecution service is equally corrupt from the Attorney General down.

    The tangled web of deception has been well woven in Cyprus!

  3. “The Fourth Estate dropped the ball long ago, focusing on entertaining and informing rather than providing insight and educating.”

    I agree.The fourth estate has become an extension of the Big Brother, or so called reality TV culture, which predominates.

    News 24 channels all show the same headlines in the same order and then repeat every 15 minutes. If people really cant quite grasp the repeat story on TV they are invited to view it again on their phones or tablets or laptops etc.

  4. It’s all the fault of corruption!! Corrupt banks, corrupt developers, corrupt lawyers and corrupt government officials!!! Yet you all still go on listening to them instead of jailing them like they did in Iceland. Iceland had a deeper and more devastating collapse. There they jailed the cause and rebuilt their economy back to a success!!

    • @Will U. Belistentoo on 2015/06/29 at 2:27 pm – I see the Icelandic courts threw more bankers in jail a few days ago. (I’m following the news in Iceland as I’ll be visiting in August.)

      Capital controls have been in place since 2008, but the government recently announced its intention to lift them. When they are lifted the govt. will impose a 39% tax on withdrawals to prevent prevent foreign investors rushing to withdraw their money.

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