Saturday, August 4, 2012

A few more slaps in the face...

Below are four examples (three of which coming from Greek sources) which are exactly the type of things which drive foreigners into emotions about Greeks. Justifiably so.

What baffles me is that they do not seem to drive the Greek leadership into emotions. The Greeks whom I meet in day-to-day life mention things like the ones below all the time as examples of what's wrong with Greece. My impression is that they would embrace a leadership which gets similarly angry about such practices with great enthusiasm.

Why doesn't Greek leadership respond to these needs of the Greek people?

Illegal privatizations

Swimming pools for jails

Greek madhouse

Reuters on triangle deals among bankers


  1. Perhaps because this corrupt mess has become the norm in Greece; its people are immune to it. Logically the question therefore is, why is this the case?

    One view is that collectively Greeks have shared in this corrupt state of affairs, either with full complicity or just turning a blind eye. (I am not blaming here - if you live in a corrupt ecosystem then illegal shortcuts are often necessary just to have a normal life. It really is a chicken-and-egg situation... but that's another story.)

    So, when these affairs are spotlighted, a little 'pang of guilt' stops Greek people from going all the way and being outraged. A groan is often the only reaction, which often means "Oh, what a mess. Now what time does that Turkish soap opera start tonight on MEGA again?"

    1. This is the Pangalos logic "because I did not do my job which I was PAID handsomely and swore to do , i.e. a) voted for deficit upon deficit for 35 years before discovering that debt is a bad thing, b) appointed incompetent friends and party members c) threw and keep throwing money out the window and d) did nothing about public administration and tax evasion, it's EVERYBODY's fault and YOU(the rest) should pay". Great logic, any civil engineer could use it when a building he built collapses. Of course this is not a german fault, but the reason these people were voted was a battle of the very closely matched disastrous and incompetent campainging on the motto "vote for me , the other is worse"

  2. If the Greeks don't clean up this mess, who should do it? People in other European countries cannot do it for them. Even if other countries tried, there is evidence that Greeks would not let them and would also feel offended (or pretend they feel offended). I am curious to see how long European politicians will manage to get more money out of European taxpayers for so-called "solidarity" with this corrupt country. I also feel pity with the many honest people in Greece (I am sure that they do exist). What can you do but leave the country?

  3. Klaus,
    Christian Rainer wrote in a nice (or should i say not so nice) commentary about Carinthia in Austria

    I see similarities to Greece. Are greece politicians responsible for this mess? Yes, but only because the majority of voters accepted it for decades.

    1. There are indeed a lot of similarities between Austria and Greece; far too many! Austria, like Greece, has essentially been ruled by two camps since WWII (the Blacks and the Reds). They quickly learned that it was a lot more fun to form a coalition with more than 2/3 majority and to divide the country up between them, instead of competing with one another. I could go on and on with examples.

      The difference today is that Austria still has very successful private sector, so successful that it seemingly can forever generate all revenues which the state needs to kepp going on with all its follies. Some time ago, I wrote this piece about that.

    2. Not only Reds and Blacks did many things wrong (but also a few things right!) the last decades in Austria.

      Province Carinthia is special. Without bailout from state Austria carinthia would be bankrupt. (you know the mess with hypo alpe adria etc.)

    3. The unbelievable mess in tiny Carinthia has one big down-side: it makes it look like the rest of the country is clean. Far from it. Worst of all in the capital of Vienna. The scandal around Hypo Alpe Adria is presented like it were the only bank scandal in Austria involving politicians. Well, let me add the following of the last couple of years: BAWAG, Kommunalkredit, Volksbanken, Constantia, and the first two of those clearly involved politics. Not to mention all the other cases of blatant corruption which are now coming to the surface in Vienna.

      So, as I said, Austria and Greece have a lot in common. The difference is a matter of degree. However, public corruption is public corruption, regardless whether it is big or small.