OPINION

Lost generations and obsessions

lost-generations-and-obsessions

From 2008 onward, the international system has seen a number of crises blow up: credit, financial and fiscal crises that were followed by the migration crisis and the exacerbation of several geopolitical crises.

Geography, combined with Greece’s failure to adapt to changing economic conditions and certain mistakes made by the European Union, resulted in the country finding itself at the center of the mess.

Greece has already gone through 12 years of hardship that mostly hit its younger generation. The debt crisis saw thousands flee, and the brain drain seems unlikely to be reversed any time soon. This column raised the issue of Greece’s intergenerational gap about a decade ago, but little has improved since then.

The decline of the Education Ministry’s influence over the past few years is a powerful sign of how much real attention is being paid to the next generations. The coronavirus crisis and the ensuing lockdowns then made the situation worse by closing the door on many a youth looking for employment in other EU countries.

The latest crisis has essentially suspended the ability of younger workers to escape a country that has become a relic of a bygone era. Greece amazingly survives despite the fact that it operates with the obsessions and understanding of “normality” of people of a certain class, aged between 60 and 70.

Age is not the real issue, of course. The problem is, rather, connected to the mentality nurtured by that particular generation, and especially those who continue to control the country through enduring networks.

It is likely that the exit from the health crisis, money from the EU and a good plan will lead to a recovery of sorts. But there can be no real recovery in a country whose younger generation has no real prospects and whose only career options come with salaries of 400 to 500 euros.