Saturday August 30, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
31o C
24o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
The absence of a genuine middle class

By Alexis Papachelas

We often wonder what went wrong, look for the reasons behind the countrys decline. Again and again we have analyzed the phenomenon of populism, the poverty of Greeces political personnel and the erosion of its institutions. However, behind many of the countrys modern shortcomings lies a very fundamental problem: the absence of a solid middle class, driven by firm principles and self-confidence.

Some might counter-argue that Greece never really had a bourgeoisie. This is not quite true. It was an enlightened bourgeoisie that modernized the country and doubled its territory under Eleftherios Venizelos. It was a responsible class that made all the right choices about the countrys direction, putting its immediate interests aside.

In the years that followed the end of the military dictatorship, the Greek middle class was forced into an unruly retreat before it was replaced by an army of nouveau riche, state-dependent free-loaders. Instead of insisting on equality before the law, this class sought to impose tailor-made rules or violate existing rules with impunity. The ideal of entrepreneurship with risk and an open mind was replaced by the deification of convenience, easy profit and subsidies. Its behavior legitimized the spread of corruption on the basis of everybody does it, why cant we?

The Greek education system was neglected because those who were affluent enough sent their children to private schools and then abroad to study. So, who cared about state schools and universities? Meanwhile, the mass media potentially a great civilizing and educational tool resembled a stage show fueled by nouveau riche-ness and populism. Their only interests were to have high ratings and to promote their friends.

In other words, for years Greece was not being governed by what you would call the middle class.

Of course, there were exceptions. Some people and organizations had a vision and drive. They warned that the undermining of values would eventually carry a big price. Now that we have been through this crisis, can we see anywhere on the horizon a more enlightened and dynamic group of people that can help the country? Yes and no.

Yes, because there are a lot of people in a lot of fields that work hard and are not involved the kind of jaded practices of the past. They are not few in number and society depends on them.

No, because a new class of rich people is emerging who are a little worse than the ones we became familiar with in previous years and who have a hegemonic role in the public domain. If the first group does not rise up from the comfort of their sofas to play the role of a genuine middle class we will not get out of the mire easily and we will probably go bankrupt again in a few years.

ekathimerini.com , Tuesday April 29, 2014 (20:47)  
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. Push made for cuts in education as merger scheme fails
6. Tensions mar regional authority swearing-in ceremony
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. Athens finalizes Paris talks goals
6. Strong undersea quake occurs off island of Milos, felt in Athens
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.