The Tragedy of the Greek Debt Crisis: To Be Done With Judgment
Since the first memorandum “agreement” between Greece and its international creditors in 2010, the “tragedy of the Greek debt crisis” has become one of the most popular narratives that frame Greece’s condition of indebtedness. Highlighting the interplay between appearances of “debt crisis” and notions of tragedy as its point of departure, this essay builds on Nietzsche’s thought and introduces a philosophy of tragedy that understands what appears to be a “debt crisis” as, in fact, a crisis of the creditor’s capacity to reproduce the non-resolvable power relations between them and their debtor. For Nietzsche, in order for the creditor to experiment with their debtor’s appropriation, the creditor stages a series of acts of judgment (??????) that introduce masks and appearances of their debtor’s redemption. In the comments that follow I make the case that Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari draw upon Nietzsche’s philosophy of tragedy in order to grasp the interdependencies between performances of evaluation, capitalistic modes of production and the production of infinite debt. Drawing upon Deleuze and Guattari’s readings of Nietzsche’s philosophy of tragedy and Maurizio Lazzarato’s works on Nietzsche and Deleuze and Guattari, I argue that what appears to be a “Greek debt crisis” is a crisis of credit’s capacity to extract profit from infinite debt. Connecting this theorization to the Greek situation, I look at the “YES” and “NO” demonstrations that occurred two days before the Greek bailout referendum of 2015. I contend that while the “YES” demonstration reenacted the infinitization of Greece’s indebtedness to its creditors the “NO” demonstration performed politics that exceed notions of judgment and debt.
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