Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Now Argentina. Greece When?

Anyone who has spent any length of time in Argentina will attest to some of the similarities between Argentina and Greece. Both countries have a long tradition of terrible political leadership. As a result, both have oversized and corrupt public sectors characterized by cronyism. In both countries, the strength of institutions was sacrificed in favor of party politics. Both countries have very wealthy elites who contribute litte to their own society and who hold their financial wealth outside the country. On and off again, both have been characterized as failed states or even failed nations.

Prof. Andrés Velasco, a former Finance Minister of Chile, argues in this article that Argentina may now indeed have the chance for a fresh start. A really fresh start. Like in Argentina, I have always wondered about Greece why a society which has so many highly competent people through all walks of life, why such a society would not be able to bring some of that competency to the political top. Or to put it the other way around: why the many highly competent Greeks from all walks of life would not step forward to change the country.

When one looks at today's mess in Argentina, it is hard to remember that, 100 years ago, Argentina was among the world largest economies and the peso was a reserve currency. Something clearly went wrong along the way. In Argentina, it was 99 years of Peronist populism interrupted only temporarily by reactionary generals and short periods of governance by centrists.

Prof. Velasco argues that the newly elected President, Mauricio Macri, has a good chance of breaking with the above pattern and truly achieving a fresh start for the entire country.

That offers hope for Greece. After all, Greece did not have as many as 99 years of crazy politics but only about 30+ years: my understanding is that Greece was more or less an ok-country until Andreas Papandreou got on the scene with his newly formed PASOK and until ND, during intermittent periods of governance, only tried to be a copy of PASOK.

When will the Mauricio Macri's of Greece come to the conclusion that it's high time to stand up and be counted for their country? There are plenty of Mauricio Macri's in Greece. They just have to make an effort to come on stage. Before anything else, they must understand that they owe it to their country.


  1. Mr. Mauricio Macri's need to prove if indeed change will be made.

    As for greece i am not sure who you have in mind. I have very few in mind. Still unsure if it is possible. Although Alexis is serving a purpose. If samaras were to impliment the new changes requested we would have a cival war because he is from the right. As Alexis is left it is fine. What a hypocracy.

    As for your questions on Greece in paragraph two, i will give you an answer.

    With such a bloated governement, you have a great deal of people working for or living off the tit of the bloated government. I know many. If you dare make a statement, that the public is inefficient, you are scorned at to say the least. They are quite powerful indeed and as citizen of the private sector, the government workers have you by the balls. In local government it is even worse because you are on a "i know you basis." Hence people of non-government personel are scared that if they are black listed they will be blocked by much needed government services. Certificates paper work etc. even the bad services. Imagine if you are someone's bad side.

    Ofcourse there are two sides of the coin. My father had to make an adjustmnt on the property registry that the old house he lives in, has a larger basement than originally stated. As a good citizen he proceeded and provided the documentation and also took a small extra hit in ENFIA property taxes, but he prefers to be law abiding. As do I to the best of my knowledge because at the rate of law changes in this country it is hard to keep up. The local registry who knows my father and the house said that you have wrongly stated that the basement is without electricity (this would increase the property tax charge). (The house basement does, have one 3 lights pulled from the main house.) My father was furious. The governement worker threatened my father that they would send an inspector (which is unheard of in greece) to come inspect the footaged, and the electricity and would be penalized if out of code.

    He called down and told nice and clearly.

    He told her, "Before you come to my house, tell the inspector to start at your house, your fatherin laws and your sisters, who have double basements undeclared, and are actually not basements but furnished homes with electricity. Then check the other 2,000 homes on the island and then come to me.

    The worker shut up and certified whatever my dad wanted.

    The above is why it is so important for privitzations to be made. the more government employees released whether directly or indirectly, the less pwoerful they become. the better the remaining governement employees can be managed and organized. Then the real economy will grow.

    BTW, if every house and property registry was made, the 2,6 billion euro from enfia property taxes would be 10 billion euro in income. I am sure you know how many undeclared footages homes are in your summer home area. In my village alone there are about 70 livable homes. I doubt they declare half of the square meters on their enfia.


    He told the government worker

  2. Idiot is a word derived from the Greek ἰδιώτης, idiōtēs ("person lacking professional skill", "a private citizen", "individual"), from ἴδιος, idios ("private", "one's own")

  3. Also...

    ἰδιῶται, οἱ, one's own countrymen, opp. ξένοι, Ar.Ra.459.

  4. Also...

    common man, plebeian, “οἱ ἰ. καὶ πένητες” Plu.Thes.24; ἰ. καὶ εὐτελής, opp. βασιλεύς, Hdn.4.10.2.

  5. Greece isn't in a rush to change.

    As of now the Tsipras government wants to raise employer contributions rather than cut pensions. Pensions are paid by two sources: employer contributions and government subsidies to the pension funds (i.e. the taxpayer). So in effect the government is sabotaging the future for a dubious and minor benefit today (and avoiding the political cost of cutting pensions along the way).

    Alas, by increasing employer contributions the Greek government is paving the way for more unemployment, further loss of competitiveness (since they increase labor costs), further decrease of tax receipts, and of course further pension cuts.

    Greece just doesn't get it. It has to increase employment and production, and to do so it must compete against other countries. But it just doesn't get it.

    Like I said, Greece isn't in a rush to change.

  6. ... hence there will be undeclared employment, at low salaries, no taxes, no employer contributions

  7. Greece when?
    When a personality comes around who can convince the majority of Greek voters that they have been doing things wrong the last 35 years, and still do.
    When that person also cherish the welfare of his fellow Greeks more than his personal gains.