By doing both good or evil they have influence human history, while the rest of us just followed or were used. We were the workers, the fighters, the soldiers, the consumers. Most people need to be guided, they want a leader. To be told what to do and how to live their lives.
Our values, culture and ideology as a nation or a group of nations are the result of centuries of wars and struggle between our nation's elites with those of the rest of Europe. Currently all western media and elites have an agenda. They promote the policies or agenda they see best, but it is not necessarily the ideal one for all states.
Our western elites are dominated by USA and the North-Western rich powerful European countries. After WW2 our hemisphere is dominated by their values and cultural heritage which is predominantly Anglo-Saxon and protestant. That is why they always promote the American or British agendas, and now the Scandinavian one since the other two failed (in the Economist, the Scandinavian model was found to be the new role model for the rest of the world). But this crisis started in America for example by their irresponsible and incompetent economic policies, yest no one underlines this fact strongly enough.
Somehow the world focused on Greece as if it was their fault for the crisis; talking about propaganda! What they are not saying is that all western economies are in deep trouble. France is broke according to its Finance Minister, Britain is just about hanging, Japan is dubbed the Greece or Asia and the American economy is in tatters. If it wasn't for the wars they keep creating to feed their arms industries thus helping their economy their economy would be long collapsed.
The protestant ethos that many are so proud of is actually what feeds this type of capitalism that we are experiencing that always wants more profits and more wealth no matter what. It is not in everybody's heritage to act like that. If you go to Nepal you will see some of the happiest people alive and they do not accept the western capitalist system.
They big powers of the West instead of paying up, they force the smaller "peripheral" economies to clean up the mess and force their people to suffer. No you do not pay for other countries' mistakes by bailing them out, you invest in them. The loans you give them are not tax free, they will have to be repaid with high interest. In other words you will make a profit out of the PIGS mistakes and misery.
Europe was rebuilt after WW2 by America. The Marshall plan, created the Europe that we know today, either you like it or not. In exchange for a country to become part of it, it had to follow certain rules and reform its economy according to what the lenders, in this case the Americans, saw as more suitable and profitable according to their agenda.
In other words, Europe as it is today was designed by the Protestant Anglo-Saxon ethos and way of thinking or the Soviet for the other half. That is why some countries feel more comfortable following some policies that are being promoted by the "West" and some others can not.
And there is of course the issue of propaganda and scapegoating some countries to make sure the current capitalist system always prevails and the protestant ethos remains dominant in the western hemisphere.
With all goods that it came out of the Marshall Plan, it certainly had some certain side effects that Europe is left to deal on its own. While it had to open its economy, follow the American model of society, become multicultural, capitalist, market based economy, European countries had also to end colonization and in general totally transform their economic model.
But the agenda of the USA is based on their culture and way of seeing things, that is Anglo-Saxon and protestant. So countries with the same heritage are finding more easy to adapt and adopt, whilst others just follow. And all criteria for a "competitive" economy are according that ethos. In other words it is unequal.
Agencies judge a society according the ability to create growth and money for their investors, not according their values or cultural heritage. Tough one might say, but the agenda of the USA and in extension Europe and the rest of the "Western World," is one sided and does not fit all countries.
When we criticize Capitalism, it does not necessarily mean that we support communism or we ignore the horrendous damages that it brought upon Europe. Rather we are trying to reform and reconstruct the capitalist system to be more fair and suit all.
I am sure that you will agree that as it is right now, it is not working, not for everybody at least. Capitalism is in crisis, and how best to reform it, than stripping it down to the basics and cut lose anything that does not work?
What I would love to see, is a shake up of European politics. Europe should form its own policies that will apply but also be influenced by all nations and their heritage. We should start doing business differently and if we want to change things, we change them by working together. Not by forcing the poorer southern or eastern states comply with what is the dominant ideology in doing business.