Monday December 22, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
13o C
8o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
The real devaluation

By Nikos Konstandaras

For some time now, the high cost of the internal devaluation which the Greek economy is undergoing has been evident. Since 2010, gross domestic product has shrunk by 23 percent and employment has dropped by 20 percent, with the jobless rate hitting 27.3 percent in 2013. The General Confederation of Greek Labors (GSEE) annual report on the economy and employment, which was made public yesterday, is full of statistics but it cannot trace the real cost of devaluation that which relates to people and their professional value.

We cannot measure in numbers the shock of an employee who suddenly finds himself outside the framework of his job, nor a young persons fear that he or she cannot hope for a steady job. Whether it affects us or someone close to us, we all know what it means to have to redefine our identity because we have lost our job, or because the sector in which we are employed is sinking. A worker is part of a hierarchy, with clear boundaries, responsibilities and rewards. Jobless, we are adrift in society, our identity shaken.

While the recession lasts, people who are suddenly unemployed face the added woe of not knowing when they will find a job nor in which sector. Countless companies across the economy will not recover and their workers will have to acquire new skills and find new jobs when jobs are created. From 2010 to 2013, the number of unemployed grew by 930,000 people, touching almost every family.

The crisis and long recession have resulted not only in high unemployment but also in the equally dangerous devaluation of professional values. According to the report by GSEEs Labor Institute, from 2010-13, in current prices, incomes of salaried individuals and self-employed professionals were reduced by 41 billion euros. Those who still have jobs are paid less for what is often more work, because colleagues have been fired. Others are forced to take jobs below their skill level, or to emigrate. The investment in studies and work experience is thus lost to the Greek economy.

On the other hand, many employers do whatever they can to save their companies, reducing costs but also quality. By devaluing their products, they open the way for companies which exploit workers need for jobs, paying the lowest possible wages (often without social security) and producing low-quality goods. In the end, the pirate companies will wipe out the serious ones another devaluation that society must face.

There are no easy solutions. The GSEE report says that growth and employment will be boosted if the prices of domestic goods are reduced, if wages are raised and if there is a long-term improvement in structural competitiveness through investment in technology and restructuring of production modes. No one disagrees with this but it is not easy to achieve. Until national and EU programs start making a difference, it is up to each of us to keep our sense of worth from dying.

ekathimerini.com , Friday September 5, 2014 (09:39)  
Klaus Regling stresses debt sustainability through commitment to reforms
Crisis of confidence will come back again and again, says Thomas Piketty
Who lost Greece
Snubbing the moderates
DIMAR not poised to break apart, insists spokesman
Democratic Lefts parliamentary spokesman Nikos Tsoukalis has rejected a report claiming that his party may be on the point of breaking apart. This report is so far from the truth that I do...
SYRIZA offices in Athens evacuated after bomb threat
SYRIZAs headquarters in central Athens have been evacuated after someone called to warn that a bomb had been planted there. Police are searching the building on Koumoundourou Square. On Fri...
Inside News
Spanish bond gains push yield to record low as Greek debt rises
Spanish 10-year government bonds rose, pushing yields to a record low, helped by greater investor appetite for risk that drove stocks higher amid the prospect of European Central Bank purcha...
ANALYSIS
Low costs, yield hunt to propel long-term euro zone bond sales in 2015
Euro zone governments are preparing to sell a record amount of bonds next year, tilting towards more long-term debt as they try to lock in historically low borrowing costs. Analysts estimate...
Inside Business
SOCCER
Special day for Abidal, lucky one for PAOK
PAOK scraped through its Livadia challenge beating Levadiakos to remain on top of the Super League for Christmas, one point ahead of Olympiakos that enjoyed a great game at Kalloni and offer...
BASKETBALL
Explosive Barca unfazed by Panathinaikos, bomb scare
Panathinaikos lost 80-67 at home to Barcelona on Friday in a rather meaningless game at the end of the first group stage of the Euroleague, but the encounter will be remembered for the bomb ...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. DIMAR not poised to break apart, insists spokesman
2. SYRIZA offices in Athens evacuated after bomb threat
3. Spanish bond gains push yield to record low as Greek debt rises
4. Low costs, yield hunt to propel long-term euro zone bond sales in 2015
5. Greek parliament vote in balance after Samaras election offer
6. Parliament to investigate Haikalis claim he invested in stock market
more news
Today
This Week
1. Euro shaky on ECB and Greece, dollar keeps edge
2. Government accuses SYRIZA and Independent Greeks of 'clear alliance'
3. Prosecutor gathers depositions in Independent Greeks 'bribe' probe
4. Draghi starts squaring QE circle in month of persuasion for ECB
5. Parliament's ethics committee to look into independent MPs' comments
6. Energy shares and Greek rebound lift European equities
Today
This Week
1. Samaras summons bond vigilantes with euro exit talk
2. High stakes
3. Europe's drama in Greece needs final act to avoid tragedy
4. A friendly yet firm message from Pierre Moscovici
5. On the edge but not gutless
6. Ship with 200 migrants off Pylos towed to Italy after passengers refuse to stop in Greece
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.