27/2/10

A 1000 capitalists

Mr. Papandreou represents the best chance for Greece to manage the return of the country to a rational financial management, based on principles applicable everywhere in the world, with few exceptions (North Korea, etc.) . Mr Papandreou, when abroad, sends out an image of a charismatic, a confident and prudent person. This has several decades to be the case. Pleasant and unexpected surprise.

May not be enough however. In Greece key people in his government are sending out a different image; an image painted with the notorious colors of irony, audacity and mythology. Mr. Pagalos, a top ranking political figure reminded Germany about the Nazi crimes (!) as if the current situation has anything to do with the Nazis. Mr Papoutsis, typical populist figure, vented his anger against the EC institutions, holding them responsible (!!) in case the IMF turns out to be the only solution for Greece. This irrational behavior, where the cause – effect relationship is completely disregarded and a number of absurd and irrelevant facts are called upon, is the typical behavior of small and spoiled children.

The reason we have reached this point has of course nothing to do with Nazis, Turks, Roman legions or any other devastation the country experienced in its long history. It is much more simple than this: irresponsible and selfish management of the state, by all governments, with insignificant exceptions, all along the period 1981- 2009. Something from which large segments of the society benefited, (and not just a few rich as the mythology of the Left claims) for no obvious reason and to the expense of the future generations, starting from the current one, who must now give back the billions that the prime minister (Papandreou senior) publicly urged his Minister of Finance to give out to the people in the 80s.

Unfortunately it more and more appears that the country cannot be managed by its own. The measures launched will have little effect; a second round will most likely create uncontrollable social unrest as large segments of the society still believe the unbelievable: that all this is because 1000 capitalists have had it all! So if they give it back, everything will be more or less ok. As above, small and spoiled children always put the blame somewhere else. If such nonsense is still mainstream in the Greek society, there is little chance that we will ever be able to find a solution ourselves.

Given the inability of the domestic political forces to provide a solution, given that the EU institutions appear inexperienced and unwilling to get Greece back on track the country has only one solution to stop paying out 7% rates to, by definition, keen and greedy international funds; The IMF.

The idea that Greeks have about the IMF is again hampered by mythological approaches where thirsty vampires will be called in by the 1000 capitalists to devastate the people. Mythology aside, there are aspects of the IMF role that will be very bad and very unjust. Unfortunately it will not be possible for the IMF to draw the line between those large parts of the public or private sector that are parasitic, and those which are dying out of hard work. Because, yes, there are also such people. Dying out of hard work. There are quite a few of them, we have seen them here and there. We were surprised, perhaps we felt a bit uncomfortable. So, yes they exist!

The IMF does not have the expertise nor the time to carry out surgical interventions; this was our job, this, only we could do. For 30 years we avoided the discussion of who works and who not. In the 80s, "productivity", "entrepreneurship", “competitiveness”, "private" were all damned words. They were considered as tricks of the 1000 capitalists. To realize how fake and hypocritical and complex, rather than ideology, based was all this, you need only realize that there is hardly any country in the world with less “public” space than Greece. Private was bad only with reference to the 1000 capitalists; all the rest, “workers”, were free to occupy pavements, coasts, beaches, gardens, squares, entrances, pedestrian routes, etc. with their cars, motorcycles, chairs, tables, beds, etc.

What we did not do in 30 years let us not expect that the IMF will do it in 30 days. There will be carpet bombing solutions, on just and unjust alike. This is what is ultimately unfair. The current/ coming generations are the first victim; the honest, the humble, the conscious people who made little noise and a lot of work, who left their trace from where they serviced, will, soon, be the second one. I would say that many among them will be immigrants; workers on the fields, on construction platforms, in factories, in our houses. Workers who could not afford joking about the 1000 capitalists; workers who needed to work day and night. Workers, who, what an irony, have so much more in common with the Chicago, true, workers who fell under the police bullets in a, true, demonstration many years ago.

They will now be most certain be the first the fall under the IMF bombs. Unbelievable injustice; unborn children to be born in a mountain of debt created by their parents and grandparents; poor and responsible workers to experience the IMF bombs more than anyone else. And... the 1000 capitalists to escape unscathed!

If only the bombs could also kill this myth!







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