Hair salons, dry cleaners, funeral parlors, electronic repair shops and gyms. These are the businesses that flourish in crisis-stricken Greece, the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) said in its bulletin issued this week. But such businesses do not bring growth, SEV underlines.
Such businesses will not bring growth, as the only services known to have a high investment boom are “repairs of electronics or household appliances,” “personal service activities” (dry-cleaners, hair salons, gyms, beauty parlors, etc) and “events planning”, the report notes.
All these investments, the report says, are linked to the effects of the crisis and recession in various forms, such as businesses starting out of the owner’s need to have employment and a source of income, repairs instead of purchases, infrastructure maintenance, personal improvement. All these business activities do not contribute to the end of recession and they don’t produce wealth.
However, the fact that investment in these sectors (1.3 billion euros) is almost the same as investment in oil-free manufacturing (1.2 billion euros), shows that Greece’s tentative growth pattern is directed towards low-value activities.
The report authors express the concern that only 17% of investments (excluding real estate purchase) in Greece are spent on research and development and intellectual property use, when in Europe such investments amount to about 30%.
PS I was thinking, in times of crisis Greeks were investing in cafeterias, souvlaki grills and lottery shops… At least this type of business is flourishing in our suburb.
“and gums” ? Never of that kind of business. Perhaps you would like to clear this ?
chewing gums… or gyms
SEV are reaping the seeds of their own actions. When the Troika entered Greece they said nothing, when several governments bowed treacherously to serve the German interests (including the present one) they bowed too and sucked up to the Troika to dismantle all labour protection laws. They never thought that this would backfire with near zero demand for their products and zero credit by the banking system. They never felt part of this country; they always thought that the new German masters will spare them in exchange for their cooperation. Now they have come to realise that this will end up in perpetual depression and stagnation. Too little too late. Just get ready dear SEV members to see your businesses run to the ground by your Troika friends.
Although I am a keen reader of your online news columns “Greek Reporter” and !”Keeptalkinggreece”, I strongly disagree with the scornful attitude of SEV, apparently endorsed in your article, entitled “SEV: Growth in Greece Will Not Come With Gyms and Hair Salons”. The “low-value” services mentioned in the article (eg. repairs of household appliances, hair salons) are a vital part the daily life of a normal living community, they are in line with present-day ecological awareness of the value of recycling instead of resource-consuming “throw away and buy buy buy new”. They can also be of crucial use to tourists: (“Help! My computer has got a virus!”), who form such a vital part of the Greek economy.
Furthermore, while such “low value services” may not at present be “big business”, nothing – apart from “over-taxation” – prevents them from expanding into larger concerns under inspirational management: after all, Bill Gates famously made his start in a makeshift workshop set up in a garage…
Your article also totally ignores the fact that in a country suffering from high unemployment, it is surely marvellous that many people are succeeding in running a small business of their own – with all the psychological satisfaction and increasing business experience this implies – instead of wasting precious hours of life standing in a queue at the unemployment office. And who is to say that, with creativity, some small-scale enterprises might not grow and achieve extraordinary results, eg. a hair salon might develop a best-selling solution for hair loss after cancer radiation therapy ?