Friday, March 2, 2012

Where is the Greek elite???

The German Economy Minister Roesler is quoted in the Ekathimerini as follows:

"I sometimes get the impression that the Greek people are fully aware of the sacrifices being asked of them, but that the elite in Greece don't want to forego their privileges”.

A very bold statement, indeed! From my personal experiences, it is an accurate statement, too. I would only add the following sentence to it:

"The elite in Greece - be it political, academic, journalistic, artistic, or whatever - does not want to focus on solutions which Greece could bring about on her own (that is without the EU). Instead, they love to involve themselves in other people's problems such as the PSI, the CDSs, Eurobonds, etc. etc. They love to belabor the past. They love to explain why Greece got into trouble. They love to lament. But they do not come up with specific proposals as to how to get the Greek economy going!"

Greeks in the diaspora have generally been very successful. I got to know a lot of Greeks in Chicago, the world's third-largest Greek city, when I lived there. Those Greeks in the diaspora would be non-existent today if they had acted like the Greek elite is acting in Greece.

To my surprise, I recently came across a website "Greece is changing". Definitely a laudable initiative. But when I looked for first and last names of people who are behind that initiative to establish contact with them, it turned out that they are all anonymous.

Isn't any member of the Greek elite prepared to "stand up and be counted"? Are all of them so intertwingled with the existing cronyism that none of them wants to take chances for Greece's future at the risk of losing perks of the present?

My memory is vague but when I try to remember what we learned about ancient Greeks at school, I often wonder whether today's Greek elite are really descendants from those ancient Greeks.


  1. good afternoon, Mr. Kastner.

    I like your sentence and this is what we will soon also be hearing from Spain's, Italy's, Portugal's, Belgium's and then France's elite and so on ...

  2. "Elite" is in fact a group of people who are squeezing and sucking out those people who are really making money. And if that is not enough, they are issuing government bonds. This is the true reason for Greek's problems (not only in Greece, as Martin mentioned). By doing so, the elites are also chasing out the money makers, even to weird and cold place such as Chicago.

    Would one now blame the elites? Rather not, because they are just acting as all human beings.

    The problem is the system behind it which allows people to collect other peoples money for fairly distributing it among the poor - after deducting a small administrative fee of only 60%, of course. And which allows to produce money without a proper basis, so that issuing government bonds takes place in a fair competition on the market, inclusive the immediate risk of going bust.

  3. Hi Klaus,

    I enjoy reading your periodic articles in the Athens News and Kathimerini newspaper. But, one thing that always makes me feel that when we write to the editor at Kathimerini, the real Greeks that need to see common sense articles like yours, are the non-English speaking common man Greek.

    I get so disgusted by hearing from Regular Greeks that they have no fault in this problem and it's only the fault of the politicians.

    Have you given any thought to writing your articles to Greek language periodicals because the more educated English speaking Greeks and Diaspora hyphenated-Greeks you are targeting with your articles is akin to preaching to the choir.

    The Yorgo on the street needs to know that smart foreigners like you believe the REFORM must be done, not only grousing about austerity.

    Am I wrong?

    1. Hi Sue,

      thanks for your compliments. I guess if my Greek were as good as my German or English, I might turn into a revolutionary on the streets of Greece in my „mature“ days. Not a revolutionary in the sense of tearing down a system but, instead, a revolutionary in the sense of projecting new perspectives for the future. One doesn’t need to tear down a system; one simply needs to come up with alternatives which make the present system look old.

      My best experience was when I gave a talk to a group of young Greeks last year. There was no “victim’s reaction”; no lamenting; no blaming others. There was full recognition that the country was in trouble and that something had to be done about it by Greeks themselves. Well, there was one lament: they said they would like to contribute something to the future of Greece but they had no one telling them how they could contribute.

      Yes, the “man on the street” undoubtedly understands what needs to be done. Unfortunately, I don’t see anyone mobilizing the silent majority of the men and women on the streets.

  4. Ok, that is a good start! But, maybe it's just me, but it seems when talking with my Greek friends they are more focused on pointing the blame 100% on the politicians in Greece instead of taking some of the blame themselves. I am a firm believer in the wisdom of Pangalos when he said "We at it together" because all the little guys who avoid getting receipts, cheating Greece etc will add up just like the big rich Greeks fleecing Greece. Am I wrong?