OPINION

Missing: The voice of business

Have you noticed who has been completely absent from the country’s current public dialogue? While absolutely everyone ranging from politicians, actors and unionists to constitutional law specialists, tax experts, aspiring Nobel Prize laureates in economics and priests have become a fixture in local media throughout the day, every day, the country’s real businessmen have been entirely missing from the dialogue.

You get a variety of union representatives from various fields, but their comments, with only a few notable exceptions, are filled with double-talk, differing little, if at all, from traditional political rhetoric.

Meanwhile, medium- and large-scale businessmen who could take the public debate beyond the gloom and doom with regard to the number of businesses which have already shut down are nowhere to be seen.

Why is this? First and foremost, I suspect it is due to the demonization, by populists on both the right and left, as well as the media, of the concepts of profit and doing business.

Two generations of Greeks were brought up to believe that businessmen were an unscrupulous breed interested solely in turning a profit.

We made yet another mistake, nevertheless. We lumped the country’s business class together with the infamous vested interests. Yet not all entrepreneurs falls into the same category.

No doubt there is a class of nouveau riche businessmen who lived off the state, who pillaged the country and if left to their own devices would continue to do so. Serious companies which create wealth and jobs do exist, but that’s where we came up with yet another cliche: It’s the big boys who steal. If anything, it is precisely these large-scale, serious companies that do not steal or engage in tricks.

Right now the healthy, dynamic business class is nowhere to be seen, even though we need it more than ever. It’s time our children recognized a new role model, as opposed to Che Guevara or some idiotic celebrity, in the face of a successful, self-made businessman.

I am fully aware of the fact that this is no easy task. People are afraid to talk when the arena is thirsty for blood and eager to show its hatred toward anyone with money, considering to be a priori crooked.

Those who don’t set any kind of positive example are in danger of being accused of corruption. This is how societies collapse, however, when their healthy parts resign out of fear and allow extremists and all sorts of cynical dealers to monopolize the public dialogue, at the most crucial moment for the country.