Outmoded attitudes are holding us back

The blame for the existence of widespread corruption in this country is collective – and does not belong only to the state but also to the citizen. And every day must be a bitter reminder to Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis that this is the case. It is no solution to simply resign ourselves to the situation, remarking, «Well, that’s Greece for you.» The point is to fix the problem, or at least to try. Karamanlis should try to stick to the course he has set himself – to continue with reforms that will buck the tendency of Greeks to serve their own interests and make a quick buck whenever possible. He should push forward with his government’s pledges to institutionalize measures and provisions that will help citizens to realize that «permanency» and «security» in the job sector are not the hallmarks of a society that wants to progress. We cannot have a society where every parent’s dream is for their child to become a civil servant or where workers assume their future is secure once they’ve obtained a post at a big company. Such attitudes cannot prevail in a country that hopes to join the ranks of the world’s most developed nations. We cannot have a situation where scientists are appointed to key positions and stay right there until the time comes to cash in their pensions. Imagine a surgeon being incapable of operating due to poor health but having the right to keep his position until he retires. If you dare to suggest to cadres of the labor union affiliated to the ruling New Democracy party that more efforts need to be made, they will scoff and say that they need a rest every now and then. Apparently the same is true of the cadres of PASOK’s labor union. Unfortunately, partisanship has surpassed all limits. Of course, party identity is nothing but a dam holding back all sorts of weaknesses and inadequacies. The basic maxim of modern management – «leading by example» – is not put into effect in the modern-day Greece of ND and PASOK. Employees no longer have obligations, only rights. The excessive influence of trade unions and cronyism has become a trademark of the Greek market. And as the world develops, we are missing out.