OPINION

On elections, SMEs, investment, populism, reforms

As usual, Mr. Papachelas has given an accurate editorial opinion as to the state of Greece and the mentality of the people. Having lived in Greece for over 30 years, and seeing first hand the sense of entitlement of some of the civil servants (pensions at age 40 etc.), it is not surprising to see this outcome of a broke country. Since the Greek civil war, there has always been a left-right mentality and of course the usual «conspiracy theories» and blaming the west, the CIA and others for all that is wrong. The first step in moving forward, whether personally or as a nation, is admitting our errors and looking deep inside and seeing what we can do to bring change and not always looking for a a scapegoat to blame. I do believe the politicians of Greece need to do more to show solidarity with the Greek people who have been stretched to the limit. How about all MPs forfeiting their salaries for 12-18 months or taking a 50% reduction in their salaries to boost the Greek coffers?

How about some of the very wealthy Greek shipowners and industrialists, who pay little or minimum tax, create a fund to help some of the most vulnerable in society and create some assistance for those in need? Greece is a country with much natural beauty and needs to step up and fight through this challenge they are facing. Let’s hope this can be accomplished.

Karen Poulos

What reforms?

We’re told the Greek government «has burned its bridges with the troika by failing to adhere to reform pledges. Greece’s lenders are now focused simply on the numbers because they can be trusted.”

When factories are shuttering because of a death spiral recession, that will have 10x the impact on your economy than the liberalization of service sectors. Let’s face it, reforms = privatization of public assets. That’s what the creditors want to see. The idea that Greece’s economy would improve by loosening up sclerotic regulations while businesses are shuttering every 10 minutes is a fantasy.

Reforms is a euphemism for assets.

Dimitri Anastasopoulos

No wonder

And this, my Greek brothers and friends, is why you are in the mess you find yourselves in. You put up every possible obstacle to progress, innovation and forward-thinking change. Your need for every agency under the sun to «get its cut» is typical of the lazy socialist mentality that has unfortunately plagued Greek society’s thinking. Until you decide to flush out the «me too» attitude, you will continue to spiral out of control to nothing-ness. Greece has obvious natural resources and treasures that I am sure the Germans will be glad to cultivate and capitalize on once they move in.

It’s time to stop blaming everyone else for your problems. Nobody did this to you. They may have enabled you but the decision was yours to follow the path. It’s time to look in the mirror and realize the person looking back at you is 100% to blame.

Stelios Papanicolaou

Anti-logos

It is not populism to be angry about the 60% rate of unemployment in young Greek people aged between 17 and 24. It is not also racism or xenophobia to demand the basics in order to live and develop. I don’t really know about your personal experience, but during my life, the majority of Greeks I’ve met were hard-working and knew the word «filotimo», which means respect of dignity. I’m so disappointed when someone tends to reach conclusions easily, looking only where they want to look. Of course I agree that some measures were necessary for Greece’s development. However, many of the measures already taken are anti-constitutional. I am a Greek doctor, working in the UK, and I can assure you that here there are hard-working people as well as «lazy» ones, just like in Greece. People are people, we cannot blame the nationality.

Maria Kontou

Stimulus for private sector

I find it absolutely amazing that 2 years have gone by, many all-night sessions with top-level politicians have taken place, and not a single initiative to start some sort of private sector stimulus. I guess Keynes once gave the example that, as a stimulus, it would be a good idea to pay a man to dig a hole only to have him fill it again afterwards. True, with one important proviso in the case of Greece: not the government and/or public sector should do that. Instead, the private sector.

People are throwing around 3-digit billion euro figures. How about using just 1 billion euros to fund meaningful new investments in the Greek private sector? Investments which create jobs; jobs that pay income taxes; with companies paying corporate taxes; companies whose owners pay taxes on dividends.

Why not?

Klaus Kastner

Austria

Outstanding SME debt

I’m not sure, given the scale of the current financial issues, if anyone has been sufficiently interested to take the raw figures regarding SME debt and looked how much of it, at least that due to utility companies, relates to seasonal businesses whose cash flows are restricted in the winter. SMEs are the backbone of Greece and I believe offer a hope for the future in terms of growth and employment if they are supported in the right way. The prospect of SMEs having no access to credit to ease cash flow and business development would be one which would do further damage to growth and employment prospects, in my opinion.

Hugh O’Donnell

Kos

Through the eye of the needle

I am happy to see that your needle is as large as a mountain, and one man can fit through its eye with his arms stretched. That’s wider then some streets in Athens!

I doubt anyone could be elected for delivering pain. It should also be true that delivering pain through politics should hurt — it seems that even Greek elections acknowledge that every few years when one wrong got exchanged for another.

Electoral reform?

Ana Veler