OPINION

On the economy, politicians, Germany, working together

Frustrated masses look to the left

The masses go where ever there is money to be made. Now Greece has to contract because it went overboard. A cup of coffee costs more in Athens than in Paris. A taxi ride in Athens is more expensive than in Paris. In the US, Florida is a lot cheaper than New York and that is how it needs to be in Europe too. So Greece needs to contract by 50% and that is painful. So the population are not happy when they don?t get more money. That shows you that democracy is actually a failure.

Elroy Huckelberry

How can you not see it?

Germany is looking to control Europe and that is so simple to see. Now they will control the way each country in the EU taxes its people? All the bull said amounts to that; that Germany will control how the people of Greece and other EU countries get taxed and guess who will get the money? Wonder why the UK says ?I am out?? they see this, but the rest are so much under the sole of German shoes that they all have to sign. Remember, it is the poor who makes the rich wealthy, so I am not an anarchist. But I sure do not like the idea that my girl (Greek) will grow up working for some Germans for the rest of her life.

Koli Alba

Re: Alexis Papachelas

I agree with you completely; however, how do you educate Greeks to work together? Greeks are probably among the most fundamentally anarchical, chaotic, opportunistic, and conflicted individuals in Europe. They have been for at least 3,000 years. Even Homer in his Iliad described the Greeks as fighting among themselves, so that they could not overcome the smaller but better organized and disciplined armies of the Trojans.

Greeks can’t help their heritage. They have shown this throughout their history. It is why the other fundamental aspect of the Greek character, pathos, is so prevalent throughout Greek history and culture. Pathos is after all a Greek word, and is found in both ‘pathology’ and ‘pathetic’ and ‘pathaino.’ An old Greek friend of mine once described this as the Greek ‘daimonio.’ Between anarchy (another Greek word, the twin to chaos) and pathos, the Greek character is as far from being able to work together as it can be without falling off the edge of the planet, so to speak.

Even at the time of the greatest peril in 1940 and 1941, Greeks fought the external enemy bravely and heroically for eight months, first the Italians then the Germans, and came together wonderfully for that. However, once the external threat had prevailed, the Greeks then spent the next eight years fighting among themselves, far more than they fought the Germans or the Italians. This is a matter of historical record.

If the Greeks after 3,000 years from Homer to the Civil War didn?t manage to learn to suppress their anarchical and opportunist differences and work together even under threat of war and occupation, how could anyone expect them to be turned into team workers by a bunch of technocrats from Germany overnight? The crisis that needs this to happen is very real, the psychology and emotional state of the Greeks that prevents this from happening is equally real.

For Greeks it is not the question of can they work together? They obviously cannot. It is a question of Greeks finding the way to raise themselves up in an inward spiritual way and to recognize within themselves the light energy of a spiritual nature that will help them to overcome from within the demons of anarchy, opportunism, and pathos. Only Greeks can do this for themselves. No one from the outside, no government can help them with this. Individuals may come to Greece from the outside to help with the spiritual education, therapy for the Greek nation so to speak. But ultimately Greeks have to help themselves in this. Furthermore, and unfortunately I have to say this, the least helpful institution in Greece in this respect will be the Orthodox Church, which is far too backward-looking and male-orientated.

Greeks have to try to forget the conformity, passivity and corruption of the old Byzantine and Ottoman system and to try to find a new spiritual way that can work on a national level. If they can find this together they may be able to find a way to work together over many generations and create something new. This is not a given or guaranteed process but it is better than the present freefall into chaos, and it is definitely better than being dictated to from Berlin. Berlin will only dictate in Berlin’s own interests. However if the Greeks are ever going to begin to create something new for themselves, they’ll have to do it in the Greek spiritual way, not in the German technocratic way.

I hope for their sakes that they get on the path to a Greek enlightenment sooner rather than later.

Philip Andrews

Economy

Greece is now going to pay a high price for 40 years of corruption and laziness!

Greg Drisis

Re: Greece seeks to limit cost of protest violence

How ridiculous is the idea that the «hooded youth» and the police are one and the same? I used to think it was just naive thinking on the part of some individuals who are against the government. But having lived in Athens for more than three years and seeing firsthand the way strikes quickly turn violent, listening to my co-workers describe the police’s feeble attempt is to stop these «anarchists,» and after an acquaintance whose father works for the police said that they know who these individuals are and where to find them but don’t arrest them, the idea that they are basically one and the same doesn’t seem so ridiculous any more.

These are very strong allegations, and I’ve heard them from a variety of individuals from various social backgrounds and levels of education. I am left wondering, in a country with so many «dimosiografoi» (journalists), how it’s possible that none of them have the courage or means to conduct investigative journalism, given how strong and widely believed these allegations are. Perhaps I’m missing these investigative articles by not reading the Greek edition of newspapers; a link to such articles would be greatly appreciated, if they exist.

I believe that in the developed world, where so-called freedom of speech laws exist, journalists have a responsibility to keep citizens informed of current events, and to ask difficult questions when they need to be asked.

Please give me some glimmer of hope that censorship and corruption in this country aren’t that severe.

Eleni Philos

Re: Court to hear case of MPs for back pay

Is there a limit to their nerve or will the courts have to put an end to this shameless display of arrogance?

If most of these MPs were employed in the private sector they would have been sacked for incompetence. However, since they were civil servants who helped plunge the country into the abyss it finds itself in today, they are still collecting pensions and enjoy the fruits of their labor undisturbed.

Whatever happened to the investigations on how they amassed fortunes and obtained prime real estate on an MP?s salary? Will any of them be prosecuted and locked up?

Last time Mr Tsochatzopoulos was in front of the judge he requested that some of his colleagues also be called so each of them could explain how contracts were drawn and signed. Since then there has been nothing but a deafening silence about the case.

Now he and others are requesting millions of euros of back pay since they passed laws that allowed them to do so in spite of their dismal performance when in power.

It is one thing to be arrogant, another to be greedy, but if one is both and shameless at the same time it becomes an issue.

Monica Lane

Politicians are bungling fools

The mind-boggling stupidity and weakness of our politicians has no limits. How they let such an opportunity bypass Greece for so many years just to appease a bunch of greedy, corrupt unionists at the expense of the whole community, economy and country is just stupendous! This type of blatant criminal activity can only occur in a country without a balanced political system.

One can only pity the EU, now that it has had to take on Greece and it’s never-ending problems/corruption. Greek politicians must be removed form power, and some form of new management put in place to put this country back on its feet. This lot of bungling fools must be removed. The country cannot afford to keep them in power any longer. Forget elections, and all these little egos wanting power, we need real leaders.

Lionel Luthor

Time for straight talk

This very Sunday, UBS, the largest Swiss bank, published a small study on the price that would have to be paid — in terms of purchasing power for Greeks — if each country went back to its currency. Incidentally, the USA?s involvement in the eurozone is $3 trillion. The conclusion? In Greece — but who needs a economist to see this? — a return to the drachma would double the cost of living, while other countries, including Germany, would more or less suffer for reasons that are sometimes the opposite: a higher Deutsche Mark, a lower drachma. But even if that were to happen, it would create havoc comparable to hell over how to get a cent from anyone when you do not know what the exchange rate is for the new drachma versus the new French franc and the same against another new 12 currencies.

Commerce would have to come temporarily to a halt. Greece is particularly fragile and has always been in economic terms because of its reliance — essentially — on the tourism industry. In a Europe approaching recession fast, that is not much of an asset. All countries in the last 20 years have developed their own tourist offers, from Paris to London, to every rentable square meter of the planet.

So it seems that the best chance for Greece right now is to more actively back all the very few businesses that still exist against all odds. No effort should be spared to reward anyone who manages to export his goods in a terrifying environment; their efforts should be extended. Sometimes the small ideas of today become the great ones of tomorrow: This is infinitely more important than to elect a face, part of a past government that has never concentrated on selling anything for as much as a drachma! In fact, may I suggest that all politicians who have never earned a cent for their country leave their seat.

Marc Sursock

Geneva, Switzerland

Re: Foreign inspectors want lower labor costs

When Ford decided to pay his employees a higher than the average salary, he said he was doing it because he wanted them to be able to afford his cars.

This was true then as it is today. The article in today’s paper makes no sense.

If we are to pull through this mess, we need to increase productivity and allow workers to have enough buying power to buy goods and services. If the private sector employees are reduced to paupers, who will buy what the others sell? It is not as if the salaries of the private sector is what brought us to the brink. They are the ones who cannot cheat on their taxes and pay into the pension schemes before they get paid.

Perhaps what the troika can look into is the salaries, bonuses and perks the 300 MPs are collecting and cut some of the fat there.

We need to encourage investment and find ways to protect those who put their savings on the line to create wealth. We must save the middle class since it is the backbone of the economy.

The expense to keep this inflated workforce in the Parliament needs to be looked at and trimmed accordingly. The majority is dead wood anyway who have in the past as in the present accomplished nothing but drive us over the edge. At least 100 of them should go home and look for a real job, if they can find one, and the rest should look in the mirror before they pass any more laws that affect the average wage earner.

Monica Lane

Politicians

The less of all of these politicians we see/hear, the better. They’re incapable, corrupt, not patriots, and definitely only have one thing in mind: their seat. Nothing else. We need new politicians. Free from this hugely corrupt past/policy we’ve all suffered under for so many years, and continue to now.

Lionel Luthor