Tuesday , April 23 2019
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Greek growth: depressed dogs chasing their tails cannot start a revolution

The clock shows two in the afternoon. I have been thinking the whole morning what news I should write about. Should I start with the upcoming cuts in pensions of several professional groups? With the hikes in patents’ cash participation in prescription medicine, maybe? As I was sipping in my first cup of coffee this morning and surfing through the news waves on internet, I found nothing really inspiring or of imminent interest to report about.

Pension cuts and price hikes is nothing new. I have posted many times about it in the last three years. Every now and then the government steals a bit of our available income. Every euro we are forced to give to the state, disappears from the free market. More and more businesses shut down. We’re even forced to borrow money from relatives and friends to come along. To cover basic needs.

No, pension cuts and price hikes, is nothing new. Interesting would be though ‘to add together’ respectively ‘to subtract’ the real losses in the period of the last three years, when we got absorbed by the IMF. I need to do a lot of research to get together the real losses in pensions. But it’s easy to write down about the increases in buying (self-participation by the insured patient) prescription medicine.

For my chronic-ill mom suffering of a degenerative and incurable disease, the monthly cost in patient’s participation was:

  • 0 euro in September 2011
  • 25 euro in September 2012
  • 40 euro in September 2013 and this despite the fact that she receives less medicine and thus more generic drugs.

***You tell me about the rate increase here, OK?

Former bookseller and current health minister Adonis Georgiadis, the guy who made television career with his squeaking voice, stood Question & Answer on a TV talk show last night. Private doctors, public sector doctors, ambulance personnel, paramedics, pharmacists, physiotherapists, cancer and diabetic patients, parents and relatives of disabled children and adults… they were all there to pose their questions to the health minister.

The rhetorically skilled man did nothing else but to use the plight of health workers’ and patients to expose his super Ego.

Question by medical personnel of private sector : We’ve been unpaid for six months.

Minister: When I sell books, I get cheques that I have to redeem after one year. (big smile) [KTG didn’t know that Greeks buy books here with cheques!?]

Question by cancer patient: When people have no insurance they have no access to cancer therapies.

Minister: “I’m sorry”

…and much more silly things like that. All requests and complaints were simply turned down with the squeaked sound here, a hahaha-laughter there, a I-am-better-than-you quack and a bold slap in the face of terminal ill patients, to doctors that ‘demand’ to be paid for the work they’ve done. No, the minister had no convinced answer as to why an specific examination cost 15 euro in the public health sector but 50 euro in the private.

Then I was thinking to tell you about the recent “talk of the town”: saving accounts at the banks. Alarmed by the tax offices practice to grab money from the bank accounts of debtors, more and more Greeks consider to withdraw their savings. Whether they are owe the state 300 euro or even nothing. Because the state grabs money from the bank account if the second or third account holder owe money to the state.

I was so much surprised when I walked down the Faliron promenade to hear almost half of the people talking about this problem.

By the second cup of my morning coffee, I was thinking to write something about the other talk of the town:  unemployment and people’s efforts to start a business of their own. A mission impossible. Whether 30 or 60 years old, people are scared to death by the high taxation, the high social insurance contributions, the frequent changes of taxation laws, the lack of liquidity and the unstable economic environment. They feel already before they start lost in Greek bureaucracy and corruption.

If a Greek cannot invest 20,000 euro in his own country, how can the government expect that international investors throw their millions in Greece?

People’s lives and dreams in deadlock. For some, for the rest of their life…

I found all these topics I considered to post about very depressing. It’s an awful thing to be depressed when the sun is shining. Bright and generous.

While sipping of my third cup of coffee, I thought to write about some projects I launched with some colleagues. Projects that we have been trying to set up since one and a half year. Projects, mostly drown in the sea of growth- and development-strangulating factors, as mentioned above.

We hit our heads on the wall raised in front of us. Blame the Troika, blame the Greek state, I cannot tell. We look at both with big suspicion. And they are both responsible for this.

We struggle but we ended strangulated.

Our two start-up attempts landed in sober start-down.

In search of future partners for joint ventures, we often met people sunk in depression. People who lost the joy of life. People, who have been sitting on their living room couch for three consecutive years. Professionals, with work experience and skills. Unable to initiate actions that may lead them out of the despair. Stuck on the soft pillows with the glue of unemployment and lack of perspective.

People who tried everything the first year of unemployment to find out after twelve months that they were at exactly the same point where they started. Minus some of their savings to come thought this year. Like a dog chasing his tail. All day long, all through the year. For three years.

Yes, my – our- attempted projects would be another depressing topic to post about.

With the last sip of my third cup of coffee I decided, I should drop all the depressing blog posts and try to connect with my readers.

I cannot do that.  Mercury is currently retrograde, communications are disturbed and I cannot agree even with myself these days -how much more with my readers.

After writing this post for about an hour, I came to the conclusion that all we need is something or somebody to boost our mood. As the ‘something’  -like economic growth- seems unreachable target for the near future, we should change the prime minister. He exhales a mothballs scent and a much too depressive aura. Even when he laughs, he suffers. but not for my – our- plight.

We urgently need a cheerful prime minister 🙂

PS and yes, there will be no revolution here. The younger generation (20-35 years old) are either a-politic and still depend on their parents money or migrate to foreign countries to find work. The young generation (36-45 years old) running up and down to find a way to survive and feed their kids. Two or three part-time jobs. Each for 250 euro per month. Mostly without insurance. Main thing bread and milk on the table. The  older generation (46-63 years old) still tries to find out how we ended broke. Some of them bang their heads on the wall. But it doesn’t help. Banging the head does not break the wall…

 

 

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9 comments

  1. I really enjoyed this post. I like your personal stuff.
    Thanks KTG.
    I have had experience living in 2 other
    countries besides Greece and I am confident that
    revolution would already have taken place in
    them by now under the same circumstances.
    I wonder when a million Greeks will make a protest
    in Athens.
    Meanwhile I guess I must conclude most are
    getting along fine and the unfairness and injustice
    doesn’t bother them.

    • keeptalkinggreece

      thank you, tenno. I should maybe write another post on the several social groups here and why they don’t revolt.

  2. Well I would learn something for sure.
    There are still so many mysteries and
    contradictions for me in Greece.

  3. Although I rarely comment, I always read your blog KTG. Thank you for it and for this post.

    tenno – I wonder which are your other 2 countries ? If these things happen in the UK, I don’t think enough people will revolt.

  4. Ok voters went through shock therapy, followed by depression, powerlessness, & “don’t knows”, fears & uncertainty…..

    But lets turn it up-side-down a little. A New title:

    Greek growth: depressed dogs chasing their tails cannot (re)start the economy………. banging its head against the wall (by itself, as the voters are not permitted to do this) WILL help….. etc. The timbre is (still) dry enough to be ignited.

    This isolated wagon (1967-74) took 7 years to get on the road –see: http://youtu.be/PfyanQKBBR4

  5. If it’s any comfort, your blog/newsletter is brilliant!

  6. PS and yes, there will be no revolution here. The younger

    generation (20-35 years old) are either a-politic and still depend on their

    parents money or migrate to foreign countries to find work. The young

    generation (36-45 years old) running up and down to find a way to survive and

    feed their kids. Two or three part-time jobs. Each for 250 euro per month.

    Mostly without insurance. Main thing bread and milk on the table. The older

    generation (46-63 years old) still tries to find out how we ended broke. Some

    of them bang their heads on the wall. But it doesn’t help. Banging the head

    does not break the wall…

    When we left our village a couple of days ago for the long and cold winter in

    NW-Europe, a neighbor tried to tell us how disappointed and angry he was and

    how helpless he felt. “I want to fight. I REALLY want to fight. But how can I

    fight my own brothers and sisters. I can’t hit them… I can’t shoot them…

    because they all ARE my brothers and sisters…”
    He was born here. Left for Canada with his parents. His father got homesick.

    So he was the only brother who came back here. When he finished school my

    neighbor set up a small business. Successful. Raised his kids. Invested his

    earnings in real estate. Just like most Greeks. He is now losing everything,

    because that real estate can not be rented out or sold. There is just no

    demand. But still the taxman is demanding 11.000 euro for one year for one

    building he owns. The taxman calculates that his business ought to bring in

    xxx euro so he is taxed according to that. That of the four people who came in

    during our talk three asked for yesterday’s bread (that is sold for 50%) is no

    concern to the taxman.
    So now he is looking for ways of closing his business down and going ‘back’ to

    Canada… A country where he never really lived. Not because he has no ideas.

    Not because he lacks the will to try new things. But because everything he is

    trying is strangled by the authorities, who tax him to death on income he does

    not have in this recession…
    But, hey, at least he wants to fight… but not his own brothers and sisters

    who are strangling him. Guess that’s why there won’t be a revolution this time

    around in Greece…