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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Humiliation of Greece?

This article shows part of the Greek problem: Greeks feel that others (mostly Germany) are out to humiliate Greece; some even use the expression "to kill Greece". And those who are a bit more skillful with manipulating techniques resort to the lost-lover sentiment of "Who cares for Greece?"

One knows such reactions from personal therapy: when in trouble, people put themselves in the victim's role and point the finger at others. After all, when you stretch out your hand, 4 fingers point at others. Why should one use the thumb which points at oneself?  

At the same time with this article, the German daily Handelsblatt published an article stating that about 530.000 Greeks work in about 600 jobs which, being considered “hardships” and “dangerous to health”, trigger special allowances and early retirement. Some of them may be qualified; most of them seem not to be. Unions object to eliminating these preferences for some over others. Greeks ask how they can take more care of themselves? Well, do away with this preferential treatment for some over other Greeks!

The tax-paying Greeks (salaried employees; pensioners) are being taken for a ride by “the others” and they now even have to carry much of the burden of austerity measures. Who should care for those Greeks who are being taken advantage of? Well, only the Greeks can!

The state of law seems to be collapsing. Assessed tax obligations of 60 billion EUR are unpaid. 165.000 court cases are pending. Who should care for a return to a state of law? Well, only the Greeks can!

One could go on and on with examples of how Greeks, and only Greeks, can (and should!) care better for their own country. One thing is certain: if Greeks cared more for Greece, the others would, too!


  1. Noone denies that there is widespread tax evasion. But you shouldn't get your numbers from the papers. The median retirement age in Greece is above the German one, 63 I think. See european labour observatory, although their last complete annual pdf report seems to date from 2008. Retirement age is not the problem, pension finances are the problem, mainly due to... again employer contribution-evasion, black labour and frauds.

    1. To be perfectly honest, I am not sure that I understand how your comment relates to my article. My point was/is very simple: there is no one out there to humiliate (or even "kill") Greece. Whoever suggests that is being irresponsible.

      My first visit to Greece was in 1977 (my wife is Greek) and since my retirement we spend about half the year here. Throughout this time, and particularly in the last 10 years, I have always had the impression as though there were at least 2 different kinds of Greece's and 2 different types of Greeks. One one hand, the decent, correct, hard-working, open-hearted, hospitable, extremely friendly, etc. etc. Greeks (my wife comes from a small village). On the other hand, the "clever ones". In my opinion, the latter have taken the former for an unbelievable ride, particularly since the Euro. When I read the below article by Petros Markaris, I thought that he expressed very well what I always intuitively thought.