Exploding the myth of the feckless, lazy Greeks
We have all heard of lazy Greeks, all living of government sponsored pensions. Things are somewhat different. Some important facts wort reconsidering prior to the election weekend coming up in Greece. Via Sturdyblog.
Stereotypes and untruths are everywhere, but this economic crisis is not the self-inflicted result of a mythical Mediterranean work ethic.
[This article was originally published in the New Statesman on 18th May 2012]
Maria was born in Paros in 1942. The country was under Nazi occupation. She experienced real fear, real poverty, starvation, bomb raids and executions. She survived the war and went to a Catholic girls’ school. Maria was good at sport and an excellent singer. She left school top of her class, got married, started working for the Archaeological Museum in Mykonos, from where she retired 44 years later at the age of 64 – one year before she was officially supposed to – in order to look after her husband who was dying of pancreatic cancer.
Maria worked two jobs most of her life – times were often hard. She was on PAYE all her life. She contributed to her pension and saved. She raised three children. She sat at her sewing machine many an evening, altering her skirts; so that they wouldn’t look so 50s in the 60s; so that they wouldn’t look so 60s in the 70s.
There are millions like her. She is a typical lazy, feckless Greek woman.
Are there features in the Greek economy which made it particularly vulnerable? Yes – there is rampant corruption, bad management, systemic problems, a black market. All this has been explored ad nauseam. There are other factors, too; rarely mentioned. The crisis came at particularly bad time for Greece – four years after this tiny economy overextended in order to put on a giant Olympics and prove to the world it had “arrived”. When the crisis came, the country lacked the monetary and fiscal mechanisms to deal with it, because of its membership of the single currency.
(Full article here).