(*) a term invented by Mr. Marinos, top Greek journalist and former member of the EU parliament, comprises the following four tiers:
corrupt managers of elite public "companies"
high ranking trade unionists
private sector companies doing exclusive "business" with any of the above
There are, in theory three ways to put the country on track.
The first is to structurally reform the archaic institutions and soviet inspired practices (left so because, in this way, they best secure the interests of the occupation army), to attract investments and capitalise on the capable human resources of the country.
For any being in touch with the country this is an utterly impossible prospect!
Two recent experience based examples:
To change the official address of a company in Greece, with no other changes (types of activity, shareholders, capital, etc.) you require to knock on at least 15 doors, waste several thousand of EUROS and wait for at least 12 months. Can there be any remote hope that such an environment may stir investment activity?
Recently the Greek state, seeing money rapidly flowing out of the country, decided to block all transfers abroad. A business transfer of a greek company to a polish subcontractor, of around 2 thousand Euros, was blocked by the bank. It requested that the company first goes to the tax authority to explain what this transfer is really about (!). The people there after finding out on the map where Poland was (!!) had to figure out what the English written contract was about and then what the polish written invoice was about. Herculean tasks! That was apparently too much for them. They requested official translations (this means another 20 days, queues and money) and suggested that most probably the polish company would be taxed (!!!) for some unknown and totally ridiculous reason. It would have been completely impossible to explain this to a foreign company, so the greek company decided to transfer, hand by hand, the money to Poland, like Mafia dealers, and next time to channel the contracts via a subsidiary company abroad. Net result: The state looses taxes, the state employees loose an opportunity to train in geography, the polish company saves its money and the greek company preserves its credibility.
Stories that would have seemed unbelieavable even by soviet leaders. So lets drop the joke: There is just no chance to see any top down, triggered by politicians, real, structural reform in Greece.
The second option is to succeed in collecting taxes. Black economy is, according to published data THE SHADOW ECONOMY AND CORRUPTION, IN GREECE, STAVROS KATSIOS Ionian University - http://www.asecu.gr/Seeje/issue06/katsios.pdf) something like 50 billion Euros. If you put all this on paper you can expect something like 8- 10 billion Euros. A significant amount that would perhaps reduce deficits around 4- 6% yearly. Would that however be enough to completely stop the downfall? Absolutely not. Now, to completely eliminate the black activity is of course beyond the means of the Greece occupation army and partially beyond its will because it, itself, is a big part of it. Just recall ex minister Voulgarakis offshore activities, which resulted to massive tax evasion that he explained in huge smiles on the TV, considering it morally and legally perfect. The guy is going around free, smiling all the time, and may soon appear again to ask for the vote of Greeks.
The third option is to reduce expenses, and this is the only one there is some action. Selectively, of course, because there are self interests to maintain. The delegates in the Parliament are 300 when we would be much better and cheaper off with just 200. The Netherlands has 150 delegates and is 50% larger and 1000% more effective than Greece. The ministers are always increasing in numbers, so are their servants here and there in Parliament and beyond.
Unfortunately, there is no fourth option.
The point I try to make is that the key strategy in managing the dramatic Greek debt will be that of a dramatic and selective public expense reduction. This strategy is the only one that is currently unfolding (all the rest about Green development are just follies no-one takes seriously) and the only one that will carry on in a more fierce way in the next years.
As the IMF will continue to financially support Greece the selective reduction of the living standards of the population will continue and will increase. People may start changing cars at 15 and not every three years as currently the case. And so on.
Those with no connection to the client state and its ruling rogues will suffer the most. The more you hear from official lips about the poor, the pensions, the social fiber we need to preserve, etc. the more concerned one should be.
Will this dramatic consumption reduction be enough to further reduce the deficits?
Few people think so, given especially the social unrest that will result.
What is however interesting is that maybe reaching this rapid degradation of living standards will motivate people again. A cousin of mine paid for doing nothing (as she herself told me) in some mountainous municipality and now seeing her work position threatened (she is, alas!, not part of the core client state) has started to react in a very creative way. She is considering getting onto some cheese business and making preliminary inquiries in this direction. In the mid term this guarantees a much more interesting life than rotting useless on some municipality chair.
It is sad; to wait for utter disintegration in order to unleash creativity in people. This dormant creativity, in Greek people is huge. Look at the diaspora, look at the maritime business. Look at everything living out of the jurisdiction of the occupation army. This creativity is something one can really hope on.
Conclusion: Getting poor appears pretty inevitable and also a certain way for a bottom up mindset change on Greece, rediscovering and re- establishing creativity in place of massive consumption with lenders money, silently and irresponsibly shifting the huge bill to future generations.
The only question is:
If this is correct, why to we need to waste all this time with the IMF and not restructure every debt we have and enter immediately into the state of an impoverished state and poor citizens in the hope that, as in many occasions in the past, this will trigger the best in Greeks, and will result to their reclaiming and liberating their counry?