OPINION

‘Correct and just’

When rumors were rampant about the commissions for the new arms procurements a few days ago, a senior government official was asked about the role of middlemen. All he replied was the following joke: «A minister of an African country asked his aides to search for talented, well-educated economists so that he could pick the best man as the country’s development minister. He made clear, however, that he would make the final decision after talking to the candidates. After a lengthy search, the officials nominated three candidates with the requisite credentials, studies and rich experience. The next day, their records, degrees and work experience references in hand, the candidates visited the minister’s office for the final assessment. The secretary invited the first one in. The man introduced himself and started describing his qualities. The minister, however, interrupted him, saying that he was not interested in these; he only wanted an answer to one simple question: ‘How much is three and three?’ Bewildered, the candidate thought that the right answer was ‘six’ but hesitated, fearing a catch. Reluctantly, he finally replied that three and three makes six. The minister thanked him and noted that the candidate was ‘correct but slow.’ Immediately afterward, he called in the second candidate, posing the same question. Without hesitation, the man responded that three and three makes six. The minister thanked him, and noted that the candidate was ‘correct but frivolous.’ The final candidate was then asked the same question. ‘Let me explain,’ the man said. ‘It makes three for you and three for me. As for the rest, three and three makes six.’ Unshaken, the minister noted ‘correct and just.’» The anecdote has nothing to do with Greek reality. It’s about an underdeveloped and corrupt state, miles away from Greece, the eurozone member, the cradle of democracy and transparency.