Friday, September 25, 2015

Thinking Out-of-the-Box About Greece

These days the phrase "thinking out of the box" has been so over-used (and usually abused at the same time) that it is little more than a worthless cliché. Nevertheless, it is clear that "old school establishment" thinking by those who control the world's wealth is making conditions in Greece worse, rather than better, while, at the same time, trying to reduce the refugee problem permeating Europe to a case of muddling through at its most ineffective. Meanwhile, Greece has to contend with a flood of those refugees arriving faster than they are departing.

Why not view them as a resource, rather than a problem? Instead of talking about bail-out funds, why not institute a development fund that bean-counters would see as an attractive opportunity for investment. The money could be used to bring life back to those businesses that used to thrive in Greece and probably, at the same time, allow a new generation of business to take root in the country. Properly planned, employment would come not only to all those Greeks living from hand to mouth but also to refugees, who left their home countries because conditions and/or opportunities for work were no longer viable. Properly finances and managed, Greece could become the sort of melting pot for the 21st century that the United States was for much of the 20th.

Perhaps the problem with this proposed solution is that it could result in Greece becoming a new economic competitor; and "established money" is more worried about that outcome than about the pending failure of Greece to sustain itself as a country.

1 comment:

jones said...

It's not about bail-outs, be neo-colonialism.

The austerity measures in Greece are the same as everywhere, since the Chicago School of Economics got into the World Bank and IMF, pushing "The Washington Consensus."

It appears wherever countries in distress have a large public sector to strip, ever since we used Argentina as an economics experiment in the 1970's:

It's not about bailouts, it's about shifting public wealth to private corporations.

While the banks get "recapitalized"

everybody else gets the shaft.

Look at the details:

- it included a freeze in the salaries of all government employees, a 10% cut in bonuses, as well as cuts in overtime workers, public employees and work-related travels

- The package was implement on 5 March 2015 and it included 30% cuts in Christmas, Easter and leave of absence bonuses, a further 12% cut in public bonuses, a 7% cut in the salaries of public and private employees, a rise of VAT from 4.5% to 5%, from 9% to 10% and from 19% to 21%, a rise of tax on petrol to 15%, a rise in the (already existing) taxes on imported cars of up to 10%–30%, among others.

- Actions included sale of 4000 government-owned companies, limits on "13th and 14th month" salaries, a new rise of VAT from 5% to 5.5%, from 10% to 11% and from 21% to 23% and other cuts to public employee benefits, pension Reform [32] and tax increases

and on and on....