Yes Greece, there is Santa Claus
Greece has been saved from itself
Greece is a beautiful country, inhabited by the nice people known as Greeks who are noted for their self centered individualism, with which they have survived foreign occupations, their imperviousness with which they have preserved their ethnic characteristics and their self adulation. They believe they are the unadulterated descendents of the Ancient Greeks, who gave the World so much, so now the World owes them a good living. They lived beyond their means for a long time and wander why they now have to adjust to reality.
Of course not all Greeks share this belief. Enterprising and industrious as they are they have managed to become the 25th richest country in the world, unofficially the 23d (huge part of the Greek economy is unrecorded and untaxed). Was it not for Greek Politics Greece could have climbed higher up the ladder of prosperity. Greek Politics have always given Greece Governance whose quality ranges from poor to very bad. Consequently the Greek soil is “infertile” and so its yields are poor.
The Greeks are good “seeds” so when planted in fertile grounds, like those of the USA, CANADA, AUSTRALIA, even GERMANY and elsewhere, they grow roots and provide rich yields for themselves and their adopted countries. Once they establish themselves in their new countries they tend to bring over their relatives, who in turn bring over other relatives and they all “blossom”, because they live in “climates” that are conducive to self development and that is how Greek communities of the Diaspora grew and prospered. No wonder that Chicago is the third largest “Greek” city after Athens and Thessaloniki, followed by Melbourne (! !) counting all those of Greek birth and of Greek descent. Enterprising and industrious that they are most rose to middle class status and some above that. A contributing factor to their success has been their self reliance.
Unlike their brethren of the Diaspora the indigenous Greeks have displayed their intrepidity by vying for the security and good pay that a job in the public sector provides, especially the public corporations. To achieve this they relied on the politicians. Few self respecting and capable people take up politics, in Greece. The great majority of politicians have no other profession. Their business is politics. Their income and social standing derive from politics. They help people in a number of ways and themselves in return. They make themselves popular in many ways and one basic way is to do favors to their voters.
The self centered individualism of the Greeks is seen in the conflict of interests that makes the Unions indifferent to anything but their own pursuits, even at the expense of others. The retail trade, badly hit by the recession brought about by the Austerity measures the Government has been obliged to take as part of the Herculean effort to restructure the Greek Economy as a whole, is hit again, now, in the Holliday season by the repetitive strikes of the Public Transport Unions. Who cares about the damage to the Economy … no sales - - no sales tax to the ailing treasury … hard pressed retailers letting people go … increased unemployment … more pain. Impervious to such notions the Transportation workers carry on. If there was a chance they could gain something their anti-social behavior could be at least understood, but there simply is no point. The Government has clearly shown its determination and Greece is with its back against the wall. If it is to continue receiving the installments of the bail out package it must bring down the cost of maintaining the costly public sector that has ballooned in size. This entails cuts in pay and a reduction in the numbers of public employees, especially of the debt ridden public corporations. Their strikes, therefore are futile, but they create a climate within the socialist Government and within the ranks of its MPs and that is the aim. If they bring down the Government the Unions believe they will preserve their privileges. They can not see that things will only get worse for them and for every body. This irresponsibly self centered attitude has been amply rewarded by self centered politicians who have always sided until now with the outrageous demands of Unions and of every kind of pressure group. Neither the Unions nor the politicians ever thought about the consequences of the excessive borrowing which financed the outrageous demands of the Unions. In a similarly myopic fashion the Unions and some politicians carry on today, but … surprise-surprise. God loves Greece !
According to the News, in the Eurozone meeting of this week, in Brussels, it was unanimously agreed that its members will coordinate their fiscal policies. The countries that fall out of line will suffer dire consequences.
The Eurozone politicians exhibit some common traits with their Greek counterparts. Their country-centered view and appetite for power determines their thinking. They can not understand that what is required, for Economic as well as Strategic considerations is a UNITED STATES of EUROZONE, a Federation of countries united in a common fiscal structure, common foreign policy, common defense. The coordination of their fiscal policies, may be a first step to an Economic Union, something the idea of a Euro-Bond will promote. The idea has been shoved aside but it is not dead. It will take a few jolts or a really strong jolt for the politicians of the Eurozone to come to grips with reality. Looking ahead, the possibility of a strong jolt can not be precluded.
Even with a mere coordination of fiscal policies and the severe consequences of undisciplined budgets Greece has its hands tied. This and the fact that the help it is now receiving is conditional upon reshaping the Economy and cutting out the nonsense, provide no alternatives. Greece will, even unwillingly, become like its Eurozone ilk. The Unions will come face to face with reality and the politicians will have no way of sacrificing National interest to serve their purposes. The gigantic National debt will become manageable, the country will become competitive and thus survive, pent up creativity will surge ahead and investments will further boost the Economy and put it on the track to prosperity, a well founded prosperity generated by the country’s wealth producing resources, something the Greeks will have no option but make come true. Greece has been saved from itself. What better gift could the country hope to get.
To paraphrase the famous line from the famous story: YES GREECE THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS. He will come to you in response to the many letters he received from desperate Greeks and will place a lot of goodies in your sock. Just make sure to do what every kid expecting Santa Claus does.