Monday, June 25, 2012

How Soccer Explains the World

How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization

A few year ago, I read a book titled How Soccer Explains the World:  An Unlikely Theory of Globalization.

Written by Franklin Foer, the book described the importance of soccer to most of the world, and how integral the sport has become with global economic activity.

 Here's how the thesis of the book was described on the website:

Soccer is much more than a game, or even a way of life. It's a perfect window into the crosscurrents of today's world, with all its joys and sorrows...Franklin Foer takes us on a surprising tour through the world of soccer, shining a spotlight on the clash of civilizations, the international economy, and just about everything in between... 

I was reminded of the book over the weekend, when I read about the match between Germany and Greece in the European soccer championships going on in Poland.

Although the focus of most of the crowd was on the pitch (Germany won 4-2, by the way, and is favored to win the Cup), the chants coming from some of the spectators was partly focused on economic events.

Here's how the New York Times reported it on Saturday:

GDANSK, Poland — The giant blue-and-white flag blotted out the overcast Baltic sky on Friday as the Greek fans pounded their drums and cheered at the foot of the centuries-old City Hall here. The Germans took up a chant in honor of their chancellor, Angela Merkel.

“Without Angie, you wouldn’t be here,” bellowed the German fans, referring to the multibillion-dollar bailouts Greece has received from European partners, first and foremost Germany

“We’ll never pay you back,” countered the Greeks. “We’ll never pay you back.” 

One can only imagine what Chancellor Merkel was thinking, who was in attendance at the game.