COMMENT

Solving our own problems

A large number of Greeks feel disturbed and humiliated. They have every right to feel that way. It?s hard to believe that a developed country such as Greece is unable to come up with solutions to its structural shortcomings and instead seeks the advice of self-styled experts from foreign countries.

Responsibility for this humiliation lies with Greece?s politicians, unionists, and the vested interests that have hijacked the state apparatus over the past 30 years. All these joined forces to build a state that would serve their cronies while forcing the rest of us to pay ?fees? so they would perform their obligations.

A senior official working for an international organization told me the other day that ?Greece has carried out the world?s biggest privatization program.? What he meant was that no other country in Europe spends such a big percentage of its GDP on bribes, kickbacks and pointless bureaucratic procedures. Perhaps it would be worth estimating the amount of money that has over the past 30 years gone to private individuals instead of ending up in the state coffers in the form of taxes or fines.

Our politicians are aware of the problem, but they are unable to solve it. It?s beyond their powers to attempt something spectacular, like radically overhauling one of our state services or passing on their tasks to private companies. A basic problem is that their parties are littered with representatives of this deep state. The regime of illegality and red tape that is holding us all hostage was in fact built by their own boys. Now that they can no longer make lavish handouts or political appointments, politicians will go to great lengths to protect the absurd regulations that allow them to serve their clients.

The views of many of the indignant people out there are not very different from those of certain international officials who can now see through the Greek condition. They see Greece?s advantages in terms of labor force, natural beauty and strategic location. But all these assets are deeply buried under a thick layer of corruption and political incompetence.

But, at the end of the day, they say Greece will only come out of the crisis when it manages to solve its political problems. That is, when we finally take matters into our own hands, when we finally pick responsible and honest people for the crucial posts, and when our politicians finally convince us that they have a plan and vision instead of invoking the troika bogeyman.

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