A year ago, news about a cashier who may have stolen $1.66 would have elicited a yawn at best, and most probably would have never appeared anywhere in print. But, we are now in a recession and for the first time in decades, the “little woman” has become the hero and the businessman has become the villain. Barbara E has become a folk hero and members of parliament have denounced the firing of the 51 year old woman who apparently took about $1.66 worth of bottle deposit slips. The vice president of Germany’s parliament, Wolfgang Thierse, said the firing was “barbaric” and he, in turn, was attacked by the legal profession for insulting the judiciary system. Barabara, who goes by the name of Emmely has been seized upon by the media who are writing countless stories as to why a woman who took $1.66 is in the news while men and women who stole millions go unpunished. The woman was turned in by a fellow worker and so far there is no concrete evidence she ever took anything.
The fact anyone is interested simply reflects the standing of members of the financial world in the eyes of their fellow countrymen. People rush to shake her hand because they see in this woman their own anger at losing thousands in their savings or being fired when their employer gives up. We need the “common woman” at this point in time because we are both in pain and in anger at the unseen forces who have ruined our lives.