OPINION

Survey reveals Greeks’ values

The University of the Aegean recently published the findings of a survey on the views and attitudes of young Greeks on a number of social issues. The survey was conducted between September 2006 and December 2007 among a nationwide sample of 1,550 people aged between 17 and 28 and was based on a World Values Survey model that was adapted to local conditions. The opinion poll confirmed some widespread cliches but, at the same time, also debunked a number of very popular myths. A strong majority of the respondents, to use one example, said they back the official recognition of private universities (62.1 percent) in the country, even though the survey was carried out during the peak of last year’s student demonstrations when it seemed that virtually everyone held the opposite view. Moreover, 91.2 percent said that university education must be more closely tied to the labor market. That overwhelming percentage notwithstanding, the more radical students, as it were, have in the past responded to such free market overtures by walling off their professors’ office doors. Want more bizarre findings? Well over half (59.3 percent) said they accept flexible work arrangements: e-work, flexible working hours, and geographic and professional mobility. Perhaps it’s the threat of unemployment that is pushing the 700-euro-a-month generation to embrace alternative work styles. But what if it is not just fear? What if in this new world that we live in, the world of the Internet and the telecommunications revolution, of the eight-hour-in-the-office workday – the reality that we have for years been at pains to protect – what if this is something that is destined to fade out much sooner than we thought? Young people appear to be equally passive over security issues. What is it with them? Don’t they watch the evening news bulletins? Half of those surveyed (49.8 percent) said that crime rates have been steady over the past five years, compared to the 38.7 percent that said that violence has gone up. A small 11.3 percent said that crime has dropped. Around two in five (18.2 percent) claimed that they do not feel safe even when they are inside their homes, while 20.9 percent said they feel fairly safe. Most (61.2 percent) said they feel perfectly safe at home. The findings also show Greeks are less addicted to television: An overwhelming 89.9 percent said they go out to bars or clubs at least three times a week. They probably get their beer from the local kiosk.