Ok ..I’m on a bit of a soapbox here, and I would like to be a hell of a lot more positive..
Not happy on reading about Europe’s crisis (and pretty damn well the whole world’s). Governments and councils are so desperate for cash, whatever they can sell it seems is up for grabs..
The problem is this deep ? – everything that has a price it seems, including public heritage buildings and sites are being sold off all over, if not sold, then kept in a state of moth-balled disrepair until they can. It isn’t just heritage and art, all public concerns have the potential to be – and are being sold, from parking meters to street lights – if it isn’t nailed down etc etc
But… Greece and Italy are extremely visual examples of this because of their massive cultural history, public buildings, and museums…
Rome’s ruins are crumbling (sited because of this disrepair rather than pure age). Pompei is another. Venice has for a while now been staving off massive billboard/advertisement projections onto its buildings as desperately needed public revenue for the city. Art has been burned (in protest). Art has been stolen for lack of protection.
Spain is careering along the same path and it is not just its Government and main banks in trouble but the local Cajas – the ones who borrowed heavily in the development *boom* years that ex-pats and Spaniards bought so heavily into. The local bank’s problems are set to topple the whole crisis in Spain.
There was a piece in The Observer this week about a private investment fund buying up Barceloneta port to render it exclusively for super yachts. Cutting off the locals from their bit of sea and port area, and most likely pricing them out. Law of the jungle, winner takes all.
Culture, and a whole lot more it seems, is being sold car-boot style to a few who obviously made enough out of the boom years to own even more.
Hundreds of years of culture and art are seen as assets and so valued purely in money terms.
It seems the world is no more than a playground for the very wealthy, and is being treated as such with naive? or just plain irresponsible bare faced arrogance.