Socialism International meets again in Greece, hosted, again, by its Chairman the Greek Prime Minister Mr. G. Papandreou.
Socialism International stands for progressive policies for a fairer world. Its basic principle is Freedom, Justice and Solidarity.
Its annual gatherings purport, presumably, to exchange views and ideas about how socialism can improve life on this planet. On the topic of Social Justice Mr. Papandreou has a lot to say.
-Relationship of voters to the Socialist party. The party is there to do whatever it can for its voters, usually to accommodate them, or their kin, in the fold of the Public sector, the Public payroll, which by extension means that all the Greeks contribute directly or indirectly to the financial security of the party’s voters. Social Justice, Greek version
-Trade unions of the Public sector confront the people and antagonize society with their aggressive tactics and outrageous privileges. They often disrupt economic activity and cause financial damage to businesses. By contrast the Unions of the Private sector have no ways to “press” for their demands and the Private sector is, therefore, generally under-paid and under-privileged compared to the Public sector. All the Greeks contribute directly or indirectly to the superior pay and outrageous privileges of the Public sector, to maintain the double standard established by the Greek Socialist party … the privileged minority of the Public sector and the under-privileged majority of the Private sector. Social Justice, Greek version.
-When Private sector employees go on strike, not very common, they loose their pay for the time they are on strike, not so with the privileged Public sector, most of the time. Furthermore, courts often determine a strike from Public sector Unions to be illegal, but the Unions often ignore the court decisions with total impunity. Double standards in favor of the Public sector unions. Social Justice, Greek version.
-The severe austerity the Greek Government imposes affects the under-privileged small pensioners, the unemployed, the salaried personnel of the Private sector who work longer and harder than their counterparts in the privileged Public sector, all those who have no ways to “press” for a fair distribution of the adjustment burden. This, according to the IMF, is a matter of paramount importance and the IMF expresses its concern, but the Government thinks otherwise. The Public sector remains privileged. Social justice, Greek version.
- The gigantic size of the Public sector breeds corruption. Thousands, yes thousands, of “signatures” are required to build, organize and start operating a Luxury Resort which attracts the opulent tourists, significantly contributing to the local economy. If the company refuses to succumb to the expected or demanded “incentives” to secure the multitude approvals of every conceivable kind the project takes many years to get started and many more to complete and this is but one example of the bureaucratic nature of the outsize Public sector, which to justify its existence invents ways that also benefit pockets. Social Justice, Greek version.
-The unwieldy State mechanism, distinguished for its inefficiency, is a burden on the economy and indeed the Public Purse, so an effort to reduce its size and cost got underway, last year. Seventy-seven Public organizations were abolished and another sixteen were merged to six. The Savings? a mere ten million Euros. The Wealth creating Private sector and every Greek citizen must subsidize the wasteful Public sector. The vast majority of Greeks and especially the financially weak must suffer “austerity” so that the Public sector does not suffer any. Social Justice, Greek version.
-The Greek Railways Organization has projected losses amounting to eight hundred and fifty million Euros for the year 2011 alone. In the first quarter of 2011 its revenue was sixty million Euros, its payroll cost fifty five million, about 91% of the total revenue and its entire operational cost was two hundred and seventy five million Euros ! about four and a half times its revenue. The small revenue shows that the country can very well do without it. It is cheaper to keep the payroll as is and the employees on holiday, at a cost of two hundred and twenty million, than to pay an extra six hundred and thirty million to simply give an excuse for the employees to get paid. Where will this eight hundred and fifty million come from? Additional taxes.
Social Justice, Greek version.
Mr. Papandreou can enlighten his cohorts with useful suggestions too.
-To offer the blessings of Socialism to their countries Socialists must Govern. To gain the popularity which brings the votes Socialists, when still in opposition, must side with every demand from any Group and indeed Trade Unions, Students, Port workers et al, no mater the sanity of the demands.
-They must see to it that Public sector office workers, in addition to their salaries, receive an allowance for carrying files, others for using Fax machines, others for timely arrival at work, that in the Railways they receive an allowance for washing their hands, in another organization for car engine warm up, Coast guard crews for propeller start up, Buss drivers for taking over the driving and for passing the driving to their relief and on and on.
Socialists should always keep party, not patriotic considerations, “umber ales”. The aim is to Govern so that their countries enjoy the blessings of Socialism. When in Government they can spend freely and material “incentives” provide motivation to spend “wisely” and secure a very comfortable retirement.
Members of Socialism International can learn from its Chairman and Host all about Socialism, Greek version and return home wiser.