OPINION

Delayed explosion

The study published in yesterday’s Kathimerini regarding the distribution of professions across the productive population of our country is revealing in many ways: It reveals a major restructuring of the labor market, profound changes in the societal structure, and a fundamental deficit in the educational system. Primarily, it reveals that the planned response to the challenges of our times is at best poor, and at worst non-existent. Misled by the bogus picture given by the mass media, we create a false perception of social reality and so are surprised when we notice large social groups protesting because they are being forced out of the labor market, suffering a loss of income or are being obliged to abandon their place of living or way of life. We saw this again recently when cotton producers demanded subsidies for a devalued product. We see this every day in the decline of the countryside, in declining productivity, in non-existent competitiveness. However, the apparent deadlock is actually the product of a pack of untruths, inactivity, voluntary blindness, and petty politics. Greece is a country with open borders and an open economy forming part of a supranational whole that determines how each member state should allocate its manpower and its natural resources. The fact that our agricultural population is set to be reduced by a third every year until it reaches 3 percent is something that successive Greek governments have known about since we first joined the European Union. There is also an awareness of the need for radical changes in crop cultivation and for the reorientation of remaining farmers; and there is awareness, too, of the extreme pressure grinding our textiles industry into the ground. There is also awareness of the need for a reform of our education sector that takes into account the international division of labor. But what have the governments of the past 20 years done to tackle these problems? Very little. There has been hardly any long-term planning to facilitate the reorientation of the productive population into new sectors. Citizens have been lulled into a false sense of security. This is why we have a great mass of non-specialized employees and civil servants. Farmers without crops under cultivation do not have anywhere to turn; the overpopulated urban centers cannot absorb yet another wave of migrants. Even graduates with computer skills remain unemployed as the modernization of the state and businesses is hopelessly behind schedule. It is evident that all these factors have conspired to create a delayed-action time bomb which is going to explode in the government’s hands and above the heads of its citizens…