Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Greek economy - WTF - Its not my fault

Wow. i haven't written in over a year and i still got over 200 hits a month.
How bizzare. I guess its because the Greek economy is making global headlines at the moment.

Economics aside, this crisis is really taking its toll on Greek nationals abroad. The crisis has given rise - once again - to racial stereotypes. Unfortunately not the good ones. The Greeks in Germany have responded to this by writing a letter to the German press.

To be a Greek abroad it seems as though we always have to apologise for the behaviour of Greeks in Greece. Be it the state of the Parthenon, how we burn down our remaining forests to build illegal villas, to the corruption that seeps out of every pore of this country.

Its not our fault!

And as i have written previously - nor is it the average citizens fault.

But it doesn't make it hurt less.

For more on the crisis, and the schizoid economy, click here.


Rositta said...

Let me make a comment here. I'm German, married to a Greek living in Canada and we have a lot of fun discussions about Greece over the dinner table. If it's not the average citizens fault (you know the ones who don't like to pay taxes), the whose is it? I know, I know...it's the German's fault. I stay in Greece two months every year and I see how things are.

Vassili - Mike said...

The average citizen is one who is working on minimum wage and who does pay taxes. These are people who have no connections - political or otherwise and get the short end of the stick. And because of the political system they have been effectively neutered and cannot change things through political means.

Rositta said...

Vassili, I do know some of the average citizens that you speak of like my taxi driving nephew for example, who is now pretty pissed that he might have to pay some taxes. Or the fisherman who sells his fish for cash to local restaurants and again doesn't pay tax, or even my niece who yes, works legitimately for a few hundred euros a month teaching English but then goes off on private jobs that she doesn't declare. Explain to me how people can dress the way they do and drive the cars that they do on only $600 euros a month? What has Germans upset is that the retirement age is 67 and in Greece it's 61. Greece receives most money from the EU equalization and Germany pays in the most. Greece needs to change fundamentally from the ground up for it to get out of this mess and my husband actually agrees with me...ciao

Vassili - Mike said...

Taxi driving nephew is not 'average'. He is part of an elite. I have consistently said so re: taxi drivers. The licenses are awarded to a chosen few - and frequently - according to political voting preference. Unless the nephew has to rent the taxi, then he is a bit better off than average. The system allows him to have a high tax free threshold and the taxi drivers political clout allow them to flaunt receipt laws.
He may also be engaged in the human cargo trade (transporting prostitutes/strippers or illegal immigrants across Greece) an act which only recently became illegal in Greece and if so - profits have been great.

But that is besides the point.
The system is corrupt and problematic to the core and people turn to the black economy to survive or because they are the only jobs available. If you need a job and the only one offered to you is cash under the table of course you would take it.

Elites - such as Doctors, lawyers, taxi drivers, Civil servants, soccer and basketball players and other closed professions have a death grip on Greek politics and the economy that any efforts to change it in the past have been halted. Mitsotakis tried in his last year as did Simitis.

This wasn't helped by the previously government which either actively or inadvertently through their own incompetence encouraged corruption.

The above professions have tax free professions and some civil servants are eligible to retire at age 45.

The trouble is that Greece has a number of different economies, which are strangling the real economy. Those professions mentioned above are not part of the real economy but are the result of political patronage and crony capitalism.

My average citizen is a privately employed salary worker who works the mandatory 9 hours a day, 5 and now 6 days a week. Has no political patronage and benefits from no loopholes - these people do exist. And as for the pension, they realised long ago that they would never receive one from the state.

As to those who have already retired under the age of 65 - They are part of the problem, for them i have two words - Logans Run.

Yes Greece has to fundamentally change, It has to get worse before it can get better. Of that there is no doubt.

Rositta said...

No, my nephew doesn't partake in human trafficking or anything illegal. I read an article in Spiegel today about how much money the average Greek family pays out in bribes every year. The figure is staggering. I recall last year when my mother-in-law was in hospital dying of inoperable cancer, a doctor wanted to operate for a "little extra". All of us knew that this operation was useless so turned him down. I have been to doctors and dentists and when I asked for a receipt (for insurance) was refused. If people, all Greek people just simply stopped paying bribes that would be amazing. Of course the chances of that happening are about the same as flying pigs, he he...nice conversation, by the way...ciao