Sunday August 31, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
31o C
24o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
A society built on injustice

By Nikos Konstandaras

Greece was not ready to deal with the crisis when it came and the situation has worsened dramatically over the five years of economic decline, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development noted in a recent report, stressing the need for reforms that will protect societys weakest. We were aware of this. But the observation that before the crisis large amounts of money went to wealthier citizens, at the expense of those who needed it most, raises serious questions as to the injustice at the heart of our society.

The social protection system in Greece was ill-prepared for the economic and social crisis, noted the report which was made public on Tuesday. Before the crisis, Greece devoted nearly 30 percent of government outlays to social transfers, but much of this spending went to relatively well-off households. Since 2007/8, total spending on social protection and health fell by some 18 percent in real terms, compared to a 14 percent real-term increase in the average OECD country, it added.

The report showed that in 2010, families in the 30 percent bracket of Greeks on the lowest incomes received 34 percent less than what the average family got, while those in the 30 percent bracket of the wealthiest households received 32 percent more. Only Italy, Mexico and Turkey among OECD members showed greater inequality. It is clear that our society was shaped by powerful interest groups which affected policies to their own benefit and at the expense of others. If we add the factor of tax evasion where those who could get away with it did while wage-earners and pensioners bore the brunt the picture of injustice is completed.

During the crisis, the reduction in funds spent on social needs and health has affected the poor more than others. Yet, as the report notes, Greece and Italy are the only European Union members that do not have a nationwide minimum-income benefit. This is why austerity and reforms frighten citizens so much they have no sense of security. Frightened citizens cannot embrace change.

The OECD notes that in Greece, and despite the enormous increase in the need for public assistance, spending on people who are seeking work and low-income working families is a fraction of that in a typical OECD country. It stresses the need for targeted support for poorer households across the country, and suggests measures such as a safety net for the long-term unemployed, subsidized school meals, access to healthcare, opportunities for work and retraining.

In 2014 we expect programs that will support societys weaker groups. As we move on, however, we must not forget the many years during which we tolerated a society that was founded on injustice. We did so without guilt, without a thought for the consequences.

ekathimerini.com , Thursday March 20, 2014 (19:12)  
Keeping an eye on international developments
A few good men
Greek quest for debt relief faces hurdles in Paris
Stifled dreams
Traveling on public transport in Athens gets cheaper
Commuters will pay 20 cents less for tickets allowing them to use all modes of public transportation in Athens as of Monday, though they will be valid for 70 minutes rather than 90 as was th...
Push made for cuts in education as merger scheme fails
Finance Ministry officials are pressing the Education Ministry to cut costs after it emerged that a program for merging university and technical college departments failed to save 68 million...
Inside News
Disappearing inflation heightens Draghi concerns
Eurozone inflation dropped to a fresh five-year low in August, data showed on Friday, something likely to concern the European Central Bank but not force it into immediate policy action. Con...
Ministry launches work experience program for unemployed graduates
The Labor, Social Security and Welfare Ministry is preparing to launch a work experience program for unemployed youths aged between 18 and 24, through private sector jobs, as part of a new a...
Inside Business
SOCCER
Tough draw for Greek sides in Europe League Greek stage
Following Thursday nights high, when all three Greek teams competing in the Europa League made it into the group stage of the competition, a harsh reality struck Friday as they found out wh...
JUDO
Greek judoka Iliadis triples up as Aguiar stuns Tcheumeo
Greek star Ilias Iliadis claimed his third world title in the under-90kg category in Chelyabinsk on Friday as Brazilian Mayra Aguiar and Colombian Yuri Alvear won gold in the womens under-7...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. Traveling on public transport in Athens gets cheaper
2. Push made for cuts in education as merger scheme fails
3. Govt aims to curb measures, secure loans, allow tax relief
4. DIMAR chief Kouvelis hints about presidency
5. French expert says Crete crocodile in good health, aged 4-7
6. Tensions mar regional ity swearing-in ceremony
more news
Today
This Week
1. Keeping an eye on international developments
2. A few good men
3. Disappearing inflation heightens Draghi concerns
4. Two men drown off Crete coast in strong tides
5. Traveling on public transport in Athens gets cheaper
6. Push made for cuts in education as merger scheme fails
Today
This Week
1. Attack on gay couple in Athens leaves one man needing surgery
2. Purification rituals
3. The battle against progress
4. Thessaloniki mayor Boutaris sworn in wearing yellow star amid Golden Dawn protests
5. Strong undersea quake occurs off island of Milos, felt in Athens
6. Athens finalizes Paris talks goals
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.