OPINION

People want jobs, not ideology

people-want-jobs-not-ideology

Realizing that your job, and whether you get to keep it, depends on people who have never worked is infuriating. I used to listen to older people saying that it was important for those appointed to responsible positions in the public sector to have paid their social security contributions. They were right.

Today we are to a large extent governed by people with no notion of the market. Their work was never evaluated and they never knew the fear of being laid off. For them, school and university were places for political activity. Political movements turned into a profession and the people they interact with enjoy the privilege of safe positions in public sector departments or universities. Ideological obsessions come first for them, and they are always concerned with what their people will say. They care very little if a decision they take leads to 10 or 100 people losing their jobs.

Personally, I came to realize the magnitude of their ignorance with the introduction of the capital controls. While experts explained in detail the effects of such a measure to all those involved, they faced denial and an inability to fully comprehend. Those in power believed no one would be affected based on the following argument: “Who has the ability to withdraw so much cash every month? Certainly none of our voters.” Everything goes through the prism of politics, while there is a sense of aversion toward figures and technocratic analyses. Most worrisome is the fact that they could not imagine the destruction capital controls would bring to small and medium sizes business, exporters, banks and everywhere else.

But let me be fair. What I’m describing here is not taking place for the first time. Previous governments also included ministers and state officials whose careers were built on a process of leaving the lecture theaters for party offices, without ever entering the market. The difference now is the ideological obsession, the near hatred for entrepreneurship and private initiative. What we see now are politicians and party officials in key positions who believe we should all be employed in the public sector, while the rest should be taxed endlessly so that the system can stand on its feet.

Out of despair, society put its trust in these people. At the end of the day, however, people want jobs. And as they start realizing that their children will never be appointed to the public sector, they will come to see that the country will never return to growth given the kind of politicians running the country today.

At this point, the only convincing story would be that of a self-made, uncorrupted businessman with no state contracts, who could explain to them how he started from scratch and persuade them that the country could do the same. Greeks couldn’t care less about parties and ideologies. They want jobs, for themselves and their children.