Yesterday, the rest of Europe bailed out Greece. While this will keep Greece going for a while, it can’t keep going forever. At some point it will have to default, bringing down the rest of Europe with it. Thanks to the Greeks having a lazy workforce, lying bureaucrats, and tax evading entrepreneurs; the German economy – based on a foundation of hard-working Prussians, brutally efficient Teutons, and stupendously badass engineering from the Rhine valley – will collapse.
This is unfair. It hurts the Germans. It also hurts me. Our company makes a lot of money by exporting to the Germans, and hoped to make even more. If the Eurozone keeps Greece on the Euro – and it seems determined to do so – then the only way it can manage is to devalue the Euro. So much for making money by exporting to Europe. Rascals.
Fortunately, I have a solution – which would not have occurred to me had I not recently read Adrian Tinniswood’s Pirates of Barbary and Sean McMeekin’s The Berlin Baghdad Express. (Psst. Those are affiliate links. If you click through and buy, I get a commission. And those are very good books, well worth buying.) And it is a delightful and elegant solution. Here it is: bring back white slavery.
There isn’t really anything the Greeks can do to pay back their debt. Their economy is unproductive. Their geography isn’t suited to either industry or intensive agriculture. The last time they came close to being part of the knowledge economy was twenty three centuries ago, and frankly, it’s not like they have the work ethic for even low-intellect services.
Under normal circumstances, that is. But if they were made to work to the drum and under the lash, things would be different. The Greek who responds today to talk of austerity by vandalising banks and setting fire to policemen would be a model worker if the austerity was enforced by an overseer with a whip and a pugio.
I think this can be made to work like this: first, we bring back the Ottoman empire, the institution which was historically competent at white slavery. Fortunately, with the AKP coming to power, there is a neo-Ottomanism revival, so this is not going to be too difficult.
Next, the new Ottoman Empire takes over Greece – also something it has done in the past – and agrees to pay its debts. It repays with the proceeds from selling the Greeks as slaves to whoever will buy them. China and India are both buying massive agricultural tracts of land in Africa, and will need somebody to do the sowing and reaping. Heck, thanks to the NREGA, agricultural and construction labour in India itself is so scarce that we might as well get the Greeks over to Punjab and Bangalore without having to transship them to Africa. There’s definitely going to be a market for able-bodied Greeks, so we don’t have to worry about this not being a sustainable source of income for debt repayment. Eventually the Greeks get sold off, the debt gets repaid, and Turkey returns to world power status. It’s brilliant.
The Greeks hate the Turks and it would be massively humiliating to be under the Ottoman empire again – but as far as I’m concerned, that’s a feature, not a bug. Thanks to their shenanigans, our export margins were annihilated last year. They deserve a little humiliation.
As Supriya pointed out on Twitter, there are other beneficial side effects to this scheme. An Ottoman state restored to its full extent would encompass Tripoli, thus ending Libyan conflict. Heck, it would encompass Israel/ Palestine, and so that problem would be solved. Well, it would replace an Israeli occupation with a Turkish occupation, but that would possibly be more acceptable to all concerned.
You might argue that uptil now the people most affected by the Greeks are the Germans, and they might not want to get involved with the Turks. But thanks to The Berlin Baghdad Express, I now know that there used to be significant German-Ottoman co-operation back in the day of Kaiser Wilhelm. He spent many, many years trying to ally with the Ottomans to weaken the British empire, feeling that if the Caliph were to whip up Muslim sentiments against the British, it could lead to insurrection in their colonies. If you remember your Class 8 history, you know that this strategy came close to working.
So if the Germans and the Turks co-operated in the past, they can do it again today. True, Ms Merkel does not have as intimidating a moustache as Kaiser Wilhelm, but I’m sure she is still badass enough to come to an agreement with Erdoğan. This can happen.
And what can happen for Greece can happen for the other European basket cases. Portugal, Italy and Spain are across the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa – which was also under the Ottomans and can be again. In fact, what with all the turmoil after the recent revolutions, why shouldn’t it? The Turks would do a better job than all the dictators so far.
That leaves Ireland, which isn’t quite as close to the Turkish sphere of influence. But we needn’t despair. Back in the good old days, the Vikings used to raid Ireland and capture the Irish for use as slaves. If this started again, it could mean that Iceland and Ireland could simultaneously repair their economies – Iceland could get rich selling the Irish, and Ireland would get rid of a lot of its population, most of whom serve no useful purpose otherwise. Dolores O’ Riordan is of course a notable exception. Now that global warming is making Greenland green again, there would be ready buyers as well. A longship would leave Iceland, raid the Irish coast, and carry a cargo of whining Irishmen off to Greenland, where they could be put to work growing soya, which would then be carried back to Iceland. And we would get some brilliant sagas out of this.
The more I think about this, the more I feel that white slavery is an idea whose time has come (again). It just goes to show how ancient and venerable traditions can take us out of the morass which modern times have dragged us into. We must bring this about as soon as possible.