A view of Greece from the Outside - Commentaries and Opinions
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Greece - Still a Failed Nation?
In this recent article, Prof. Yanis Varoufakis says that "Europeans must grasp a simple fact - that Greece has been, and remains, a failed nation-state". He concludes with the following facts:
* There are 10 million Greeks living in Greece (and
falling fast due to migration), ‘organised’ in around 2,8 million households
that have a ‘relationship’ with the Tax Office. * Of those 2,8 million households, 2,3 million have a
debt to the Tax Office that they cannot service.
* 1 million households cannot pay their electricity
bill in full, forcing the electricity company to ‘extend and pretend’, thus
ensuring that 1 million homes live in fear of darkness at night while the electricity
company is insolvent.
* Of the 3 million people constituting Greece’s labour
force, 1,3 million are jobless.
* Of the 1,3 million jobless only 10% receive
unemployment benefits. The rest must fend for themselves.
* Of those who work in the private sector 500 thousand
have not been paid for more than three months.
* Contractors who work for the public sector are paid
up to 24 months after they provided the service and pre-paid sales tax to the
* Half of the businesses still in operation throughout
the country are seriously in arrears vis-à-vis their (compulsory) contributions
to their employees’ pension and social security fund.
These clearly are facts of a failed nation. Regrettably, it is not possible to segment these facts into the failed part of the nation and that part which has not failed at all.
Suppose, in theory, there were a list of all 11 million Greeks, ranking them by personal net worth (including foreign assets). My sense is that the upper 10-20% would certainly reflect a very successful nation. Regrettably, such information cannot ever be put together.
My sense of Greek society is that, since Independence, the few have always benefited at the expense of the many. The Euro acted as a turbo in this development. A failed society more than a failed nation-state.