Tuesday June 30, 2015 Search
Weather | Athens
14o C
09o 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 society’s 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 society’s 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)  
Switching the rules for the referendum
Playing the last chips
The new national division is not ideological
People need answers
Juncker makes last-minute offer to Greece but Tsipras unmoved
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker made a last-minute offer to Athens in a bid to reach a bailout agreement before the deadline expires on Tuesday, European Union and Greek go...
Tsipras says ´no´ vote will help talks but ´yes´ will prompt political developments
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras indicated on Monday that Greece was still open to an agreement with creditors, “even at the 11th hour,” made it all but clear that a payment due on Tuesday to t...
Inside News
Greece may find it is easier to close banks than re-open them
Capital controls imposed in Greece are likely to stay in place for months and its banks may need billions of euros of new capital or even face nationalisation under a lengthy financial rebui...
Greeks check goods online, buy at stores
Greek consumers search for shopping purchases online but prefer to buy items at stores, according to Google’s Consumer Barometer. The 2014/15 edition of the survey showed that 60 percent of ...
Inside Business
SOCCER
English keeper Steele stays with Panathinaikos
English goalkeeper Luke Steele has extended his contract with Panathinaikos until the summer of 2018, the Greek Super League club announced on Monday. Former England youth international Stee...
VOLLEYBALL
Great wall of China insurmountable for Greece
The Greek men’s national volleyball came mighty close to snatching a spot in the Final-Four of the World League’s third division, but eventually succumbed to China in front of some 4,000 fan...
Inside Sports
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Greece may find it is easier to close banks than re-open them
2. Juncker makes last-minute offer to Greece but Tsipras unmoved
3. Tsipras says ´no´ vote will help talks but ´yes´ will prompt political developments
4. Greeks check goods online, buy at stores
5. Closure of country’s banks leads commerce to grind to a halt
6. Public coffers run dry as taxes go unpaid
more news
Today
This Week
1. Juncker makes last-minute offer to Greece but Tsipras unmoved
2. Greece may find it is easier to close banks than re-open them
3. Greek government says no limit on bank withdrawals for foreign tourists
4. Playing the last chips
5. Poll shows chances of Greece euro exit balancing on knife's edge
6. Referendum asks Greeks simply to accept or reject creditors' plan
Today
This Week
1. Greek government says no limit on bank withdrawals for foreign tourists
2. Greek referendum offer is more con than democracy
3. Greek negotiators learned of referendum proposal from Twitter
4. Greeks want to stay in eurozone, two polls show
5. A decision with no preparation
6. Europe, a big phony
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2015, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.