Solar- Lunar- Reason Eclipse
The difference ?
Solar and Lunar Eclipses last a few hours. Reason eclipses can last from a few minutes, hours, days to months or even years. The Nazi eclipse of reason lasted about twelve years and left Germany in a state of devastation but Germany, like the mythical bird Phoenix, rose from its ashes to become a World class power, currently the leader of Europe. The Greek eclipse of reason has been going on for almost twenty-seven years, a record breaker for an eclipse of reason. Nothing seems capable of bringing it to an end.
An entire generation of Greeks was brought up believing that the state will take care of them, with a job (ideally sinecure) in the public sector, whose wages far exceed those of the private sector, or, if farming was their lot, guaranteed subsidies will secure them financially.
If they sought the benefits of a university degree, that was easy to have. Students determine who will teach them (the young know) how they progress (they can have as many years to earn a degree as they please) and of course collaboration with the private sector is out of the question. Naturally, Greek University degrees have little, if any, value. There are no Greek Universities in the World top 200 by contrast there are TWO Turkish Universities in that group and they both are Anglophone, so they educate students from everywhere, including Greece. Sadly the only Anglophone University of Greece, Deree, is not in that group.
Those who do earn degrees, habitually view themselves as “special” and it is below them to endeavor to create something. Instead they want a place under the sun of the public sector. The Political system in Greece is such that private enterprise is viewed as social demeanor of an un-deserving kind. No wander the Government takes pride in the fact that there have been very few job losses in the Public sector, the more than three hundred thousand job losses in the Private sector are not a mater of concern. It serves them right one could say. They should have sought the security and income superiority of the Public sector. All they had to do was seek the help of politicians. Granting such favors is what they are elected for. Governments could secure their superior -to the private sector- pay with the endless borrowing that came cheap, thanks to the Greek membership in the Eurozone. The present Government has established OPENGOV.GR to attract appropriately talented people which the Public sector needs (needs ?) to thus employ “its own” under the guise of openness to all.
The politicians are not people who have gained experience in a field of endeavor, in a profession, or in business. They are party “operatives” who have come up the party ladder, are far from the realities of life, view life from the party perspective and are, customarily, hostile to the private sector, but not to the gifts from it which they consider entitlements.
The politicians have nurtured Trade Unionism of a destructive nature. The Unions have blocked everything that lessens their powers and prerogatives. They are the reason why: Public corporations are kept in a state of financial handicap, most of them continuously bleeding red ink, co-managed by the Union leaders; professions kept tightly closed for the “outsiders”, their privileges secure (an asset that can be traded), to the detriment of the National Economy; the employees of the Hellenic Petroleum receive 17.8 monthly salaries a year and threaten to strike if their work rules change and they will have to work 40 hours a week (their work week is 37.5 hours); the railways employees cost the corporation 65000 Euros a year, each, their cost being more than two times the total revenues of the corporation; transport workers receive an allowance for washing their hands (seriously); others for engine warm up; and there are public employees who receive an allowance for timely arrival at work !. Union leaders are “operatives” of political parties whose chosen path to political ascension is Unionism. Some retire from Unionism and continue through regular political posts even at Cabinet level.
The Government needs money. Does it go after the perpetual tax evaders? No. It burdens with additional taxes those whose income is visible, to the detriment of the National Economy and Social justice. The Government wants (wants?) to sell Public Assets, like its stake in Public corporations, but who will buy them? With the Unions co-managing why buy them? The work rules must first be changed with the appropriate litigation, before they become attractive investments managed by experts without the interference of the Unions, who, in effect constitute the “poison pill” preventing privatizations, but the Government is in a world of its own imagination.
There are over one million US acres of arable land the Government could sell off quickly. They could fetch well over four BILLION Euros and the new owners would exploit their economic potential, adding to the Greek Economy, but the Government wins no kudos for reason.
There are dozens of “directories” and departments in Ministries that offer nothing. Even the heads of the Ministries do not know they exist. Why do they exist? The politicians know.
The Government spends to cater to essential social needs, but also to non essential needs, like a National Radio and Television Network which is funded by the citizens of Greece with a levy on their Electricity bill. Is it essential? The other six – privately owned – networks are not enough? Why not use that levy, which amounts to about 350 Million Euros a year, to pay down a little of the National debt? Almost every Municipal authority has its own Radio-TV station, usually bleeding red ink. The Government supports financially Municipal authorities and covers their losses from their overstaffed Radio-TV stations which offer what? There are dozens of privately owned Radio-TV stations all over Greece. Why is the burden of Municipal Radio-TV stations justifiable? (Greek reasoning).
To cut the deficits the Government is not reducing its own cost, instead it burdens the Wealth-creating Private sector with increasingly heavier taxation to the point of extinction, in a time of deep recession. It starves the cow that gives the milk. Greek reasoning.!
The Government signs a Memorandum of agreement with the saviors of Greece and accordingly it must resort to austerity measures and the restructuring of the Greek Economy. Does it go about it responsibly? NO. Hence the need for more austere measures.
The Government refrains from explaining to the people why the austerity and what the objectives are. People feel they are in a tunnel with no end. They are indignant and the Government with its absence allows the wrong understanding to take hold (witness the signs carried in the squares where the indignant gather). Recent polls show almost 90% of the people feel the Government is a dismal failure, the entire political system discredited, but the politicians carry on, “business as usual”.
The Prime minister first plays seesaw, offers to resign then changes mind, talks about a new cabinet with the inclusion of non parliamentary experts and then plays musical chairs, with the ministers of the present Government simply switching places (presumably every self respecting person of distinction had turned down the invitation). Meantime Greece’s Euro partners are trying to save Greece, which seems determined to commit financial suicide.
The INDIGNANTS? What will they decide to do? Will reason prevail? What kind of reason? Championed by who? What if their indignation turns to wrath? There is a Greek adage that says: Rage of the people-voice of God.: May God show mercy and bring to an end the eclipse of reason over Greece.