Dream to escape.
Unbearable Reality. How do people face it? Different people. Different ways.
Some take what they think is a dynamic stance; they gather and protest in defiance of reason. Others assume a contemplative posture and try to digest the facts. Some dream to escape the emotional subjugation to reality. Why is reality unbearable?
Because it is G R E E K.
The country is in a terrible bind. If it exits the Eurozone it will sink financially. Public revenues are inadequate to cover all the necessary public expenditures and so the country will sink in a few short weeks to a dramatically low level of existence, prey to the rapacious foreign capital which will exploit its resources and the desperate need for jobs, however lowly paid. Yet there are people who claim the country will be the better for it, dirt poor but proud. They do not constitute the majority but they “scream the loudest”.
To stay in the Eurozone the country must suffer the pain of austerity and adjustment, both a painful process. The Greeks have not, so far, exhibited the necessary willingness to go through the exercise. They hope that somehow they will skirt around reality. They are wrong. The Greek “ways” will not help, on the contrary they will accelerate the speed of the kick to the Greek butt and make it painful.
The problem of Greece is not one of debt alone. It is a problem of perception. The Greeks have been fed an inordinate amount of hooey in the last thirty-seven years, making it hard for them to discern and easy to manipulate. What is worse is that they tend to think with their emotions, because their minds are clouded from the hooey they’ve been fed. It therefore follows that Greece is a country made up of different people with different ideas about how to escape what seems to be inevitable.
Consensus is the only way to get Greece out of the rut, because the only way out and forward is a re-foundation of the country, something this light weight politico with the heavy weight name had promised, but, true to form, did not deliver. Dreaming is therefore an escape from the pain of reality.
Dream about a new Greece and start with the foundation of a country which is its constitution. Dream that the new Greece has a new “charter” according to which, unlike the present, accountability is paramount, so that individuals and Governments are held responsible for their management of the country’s fortunes. A new constitution could be made responsive to the rapidly changing conditions of present times by bringing it closer to the electorate’s prevalent views and feelings, involving it to some extent with the legislative function, as is the Swiss constitution. (Babe George had muttered something about participative-direct democracy when he came to power). Such a constitution could, conform to the doctrine of the separation of powers and still provide good Governance, with the executive branch being non-parliamentarian, which can eliminate cronyism and a “client-customer” relationship with the electorate.
A sound constitution should deprive the executive branch the power to appoint the upper echelon of the judiciary, thus giving the judiciary the independence it currently lacks and conform to the tried and true doctrine of the separation of powers.
One of the problems of the Greek “dysfunction”, according to the EU technocrats that have looked over the Greek economy is its judicial system, so dream about a country with a responsive to current needs judiciary, independent from the executive, which can be one of the pillars of a new “country” where laws are respected and vigorously applied at all levels. This in conjunction with a well trained, well organized and motivated police, which can restore order and security. Dream of a country whose citizens are safe and trust the authorities.
A country’s future rests on its youth. Greek youth is composed, to a great extent, of spoiled brats. Greek youth has been injected with all the wrong ideas. Taking over schools is a favorite way to loaf and damage school equipment and premises, all in the name of … most kids don’t know for certain, with parents abetting, in the name of politics and looters carrying away school equipment, often in trucks. Confusion at work and drainage of public funds, so dream of a school system which employees dedicated teachers of confirmed quality who do not encourage misbehavior (be that of their peers too) and prevent politics from poisoning the school system and from it Greek youth. Dream of a school system which does not reward memorization but discrimination … one that teaches Greek youth how to think, to distinguish facts and reason from platitudes and claims. Well schooled youth is a prerequisite to a country’s economic and social development and Greek society is fractured. Dream of Greek Universities where meritocracy is the norm, where a coterie of students does not rule, where politics are out of the radar screen and diligent work is supreme. Dream of Greek Universities where Research can be planned, executed and financed in collaboration with private companies, so that Universities can, also, conduct research with a business/economic potential which can benefit the economy; research not for its own sake, or the private interests of professors, but for an economic objective. Dream of Greek Universities which provide the knowledge and skills needed in the market, the economy, so that graduates are useful and in demand and not in educated unemployment because they have gained knowledge for which there is no longer demand. Dream of a Greek University in the world’s top one hundred and (why not) of multilingual tuition available, to attract foreign students and create a multicultural environment, beneficial to all, Greek students in particular.
Dream of a Public sector which is much smaller than the existing one and vastly superior in quality and output. One that is well trained and equipped, motivated and supportive. A public sector supported by a reasonable number of laws, unlike the present which obliges functionaries to navigate through thousands of laws before deciding. A public sector with clearly defined functions and departments, with no overlapping authorities, one that promotes economic activity. Bureaucracy costs Greece 6.8% of GDP. A 33% reduction of bureaucracy can yield savings of 5 Billion for the Greek economy.
Dream of a Public sector composed of people selected for their merits, not planted by politicians. Dream of a Public sector that operates like the private sector, with people well versed in their field of activity, motivated to perform with moral and financial rewards structured accordingly. Dream of a Public sector operating with performance objectives and, indeed, a c c o u n t a b l e for its actions and performance.
Dream of a Public sector with a special department devoted to the study of events and developments and the study of the strengths and weaknesses of the Greek Economy to thus plan, propose to and collaborate with Private enterprise on specific projects by doing what the Public sector should do to promote the endeavors of the Private sector. What a dream … a public sector that is pro and not anti-business, a help and not an impediment to private enterprise. A Public sector of this kind can be the engine of the economic growth of the country. What a dream!
Dream of an Economy where citizens gladly pay their taxes because the tax burden is justly spread and taxes are not overwhelming. A permanent/stable tax system that encourages investment and business growth and tax authorities that work conscientiously and efficiently because they are so trained and are rewarded to perform. Dream that Greece is, at worse, second to New Zealand, which tops the list of the least corrupted countries. Dream of an Economy which collaborates with Greek Universities, so that they produce the kind of graduates needed in the Economy, which will render unnecessary the expatriation of young Greeks to countries whose Universities provide curricula that are in line with market needs. Dream that Greece has a rational Social insurance system which provides comfort after retirement at age sixty five, not before. Dream that the Labor Syndicates are there to look after the interest of their members and that alone, in collaboration with their employers (state or private) with no connection whatsoever to political parties. This means that the syndicates purport to safeguard employment and remuneration of their members taking in to consideration the prevailing conditions in the country and the Economy in general, as well as the conditions of their members’ employers. Labor, thus, becomes a motivational influence on the Tourism sector of the Economy, helping it to redefine and pursue its objective to reshape the sector to an Internationally competitive business, by attracting high end tourism and, from it higher revenues year round. Similarly it helps Shipping regain its Grecian nature, by making the Greek flag attractive and the Greek ship-owners again a contributory factor to the Greek Economy. The present confrontational attitude of the Unions gives way to a conciliatory attitude which can yield results beneficial to both sides. The Government can also work out agreements of mutual benefit with the ship-owners so that they begin to invest in Greece again. Dream about it.
Dream that everything is possible, even a NEW bunch of politicians, knowledgeable, capable, dedicated to the service of the country, people who enter politics to distinguish themselves with their effective contribution to the country’s fortunes and for no other reason. Such people can bring foreign technocrats to administer the implementation of the agreements with the country’s partners and help with the restructure of the Greek Economy, training at the same time their Greek opposite numbers with their example. The majority of the people understand the need and support this, knowing full well that, if left to the Greeks , there will be a repetition of the play people are fed up with. Dream of a “catharsis” of the Greek morals. Dream of a stunning surprise in the next elections … a new political formation/party springing out of the ballot box and forming a self sustained Government, with the present political parties, especially PASOK and N.D. relegated to insignificance. What a dream!
Dream because reality is harsh and painful. The present political system is in a position to ensure its longevity. There is simply no hope for Greece, unless something happens to shake the system off the back of the country and what this could be is unpredictable. So dream. Some times dreams come true.