hamburg

View of “Nina Beier,” 2015. Foreground: Plunge (detail), 2014–15. Background: Liquid Assets, 2013. Photo: Fred Dott.

Nina Beier

Kunstverein in Hamburg

View of “Nina Beier,” 2015. Foreground: Plunge (detail), 2014–15. Background: Liquid Assets, 2013. Photo: Fred Dott.

I am writing this on Monday, July 14, the day the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, announced that Greece’s withdrawal from the EU—the dreaded “Grexit”—had been averted. The euro zone’s heads of state have agreed on a comprehensive package of spending cuts and reforms that lays down humiliating conditions that Greece must comply with in order to get new money going forward. The writers Maurizio Lazzarato and David Graeber have analyzed the moral and political dimensions of debt and demonstrated that people tend to respond coolly to the suffering of others who are in debt. This implicit moral code now serves to justify policies that perpetuate and even actively promote the subjugation of the entire citizenry of a debtor nation.

In the early stages of the crisis, many Greeks put their money in gold—widely regarded as a safe investment, especially in times

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