NEWS

‘The self-serving web of bureaucracy’

How much of a threat is unemployment? We have a 10 percent unemployment rate. We say that but we often don’t know what it means. To indicate the magnitude of the problem, I’ll say this: If unemployment was spread equally among us, we would all be out of work for 5.2 weeks a year. That’s a long time. And half of all those who are unemployed have been so for over a year. Personally I prefer to see the jobless not as a percentage but as numbers – 400,000 people call themselves unemployed. It is a problem that creates great inequalities and calls for very good management on the part of agencies whose job it is to fight it. Is there anything preventing that effort? Yes, bureaucracy. It is a faceless, relentless enemy that puts a spoke in the wheel of every attempt to fight it. It even fights the right to dream. Why can’t there be an agency for promoting employment policies? Why does every effort fall down on the self-serving, yes, absolutely self-serving web of bureaucracy? Why self-serving? This applies to every agency in the process of policymaking. I see nothing wrong with part-time work in the state sector. About 40,000 people would see their economic and social problems solved if they worked a four-hour day in departments where service is slow. Yet there are serious objections that take the form of implacable and energy-wasting bureaucracy. Greeks seem to be working all the time. Have we forgotten how to make proper use of our free time? Families need a second and a third wage in order to fulfill what we see as the demands of our times. However, it is the way we live that creates the asphyxiating circumstances in our daily lives, rather than the lack of free time. The pace of working life is very intense, there is anxiety about the future, and fear of visible and invisible dangers (often invented by the media to raise their ratings). Particularly among young people, the entire network of life in the fast lane, competition and inequalities, creates a tendency toward obsessions that can have serious consequences. So the amount of free time is not as important as the more or less serious state of anxiety in which we live. Someone who doesn’t work in the evenings might feel oppressed, yet someone else might see it as creative. Is there anything that we have turned a blind eye to? The serious consequences of our demographic problem, the many economic effects of the aging population on the social security system and the fact that resources have to be taken away from development to support this system. The aging of the population is taking Greece further away from the goal of prosperity.