The austerity measures that were supposed to fix Greece's problems are dragging down the country's economy. Stores are closing, tax revenues are falling and unemployment has hit an unbelievable 70 percent in some places. Frustrated workers are threatening to strike back...
The government's draconian austerity measures have managed to reduce the country's budget deficit by an almost unbelievable 39.7 percent, after previous governments had squandered tax money and falsified statistics for years...
The problem is that the austerity measures have in the meantime affected every aspect of the country's economy. Purchasing power is dropping, consumption is taking a nosedive and the number of bankruptcies and unemployed are on the rise... Tax revenue, desperately needed in order to consolidate the national finances, has dropped off. A mixture of fear, hopelessness and anger is brewing in Greek society.
Unemployment in [Perama] hovers between 60 and 70 percent, according to a study conducted by the University of Piraeus. While 77 percent of Greek shipping companies indicate they are satisfied with the quality of work done in Perama, nearly 50 percent still send their ships to be repaired in Turkey, Korea or China. Costs are too high in Greece, they say. The country, they argue, has too much bureaucracy and too many strikes, with labor disputes often delaying delivery times...
A short jaunt through Athens' shopping streets reveals the scale of the decline. Fully a quarter of the store windows on Stadiou Street bear red signs reading "Enoikiazetai" -- for rent. The National Confederation of Hellenic Commerce (ESEE) calculates that 17 percent of all shops in Athens have had to file for bankruptcy...
The entire country is in the grip of a depression. Everything seems to be going downhill. The spiral is continuing unabated, and there is no clear way out. The worse part, however, is the fact that hardly anyone still hopes that things will improve one day...
Menelaos Givalos, a professor of political science at Athens University, has appeared on television, warning viewers that the worst times are still to come. He predicts a large wave of layoffs starting in September, with "extreme social consequences."
"If you take away my family's bread, I'll take you down -- the government needs to know that," Meletis says. "And don't call us anarchists if that happens! We're heads of our families and we're desperate."
He predicts the situation will only become more heated. "Things are starting to simmer here," he says. "And at some point they're going to explode."
18 August 2010
Is the Greek economny entering a "death spiral?"
Excerpts from a thought-provoking article in Der Spiegel (part of their series on "The Euro Crisis"):
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Don't think this country isn't heading the same way--we are still in a depression folks and the govmint ain't interested in making it any better as long as the fat cat politicians and mega corps get their cut.ReplyDelete
Why do articles such as the one quoted continually beg the question of whom Greece (and everyone else) is oh-so-woefully indebted to..?ReplyDelete
Who holds the debt and, if it breaks the country to call the debt, who is foolish enough to try collecting on it?
(Following "If a man owes you a dollar, he has a problem. If a man owes you a million dollars then you have a problem.")