ECONOMY

A flawed view of priorities

The picture of entrepreneurship which the government is cultivating is utterly unrealistic; the entrepreneur is portrayed as a do-gooder who invests in order to experience the joy of hiring, someone who enthusiastically substitutes the inheritance tax he is liable to pay for new investment. In the 1980s, the dominant picture of the entrepreneur was that of a monster who sucked the people’s blood. But the view that has taken hold since is equally disastrous. Choosing the right goals is not enough. Success requires persistence and the avoidance of other expediencies which ultimately cancel the original goal. This is the big problem facing current planning in the economy. Economy and Finance Minister Nikos Christodoulakis can easily boost investment, but he also considers it his obligation to promote employment lest he should be accused of social insensitivity, thus, the original target is lost. Company tax cuts are an obvious requirement for making the Greek economy more competitive. The measure has again been announced, conditional on an increase in jobs. But as Adam Smith said in the 18th century, it is not the good nature of the butcher and the baker that is responsible for our dinner; it is the pursuit of their own interest. And so investment will not come because entrepreneurs wish to create more jobs. Many businesses will prefer to invest in countries where no terms of social sensitivity are imposed on investment decisions. The same argument goes for the recent ire against offshore companies. The Greek economy problems are not due to the tax evaders who buy real estate or shares through offshore companies so as to avoid high inheritance tax. The problem is how to attract investment. Improving education and health services are examples of areas with plenty of scope for showing social sensitivity. Among new services are the «Regus Golden Membership Card,» which enables individual employees of client firms to use the services of Regus-run offices around the world. Another service is Regus Touchdown, addressed to those who wish to use office space for any number of hours. Regus now controls 430 office buildings in 52 countries, without owning them, and employs 2,600 people.