Not everything you hear about Greece is true…

Richard Parker from Harvard’s Kennedy School shoots a few urban myths on Greek profligacy…

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  • wild turkey

    “the number of public sector employees in Greece is about one in five of the total labour force”….hmm

    and whats the comparable ratio in nornironland?
    around two in five

    “an intelligence and vision that transcends borders” agree. although the neo-liberals will retort that that intelligence already exists…. and resides in the global financial system, a system which plays governments and working taxpayers as suckers.

  • Drumlins Rock

    I’ve been to Greece, everything I heard is true and worse.

    I might be exagerating a little, but I spent a couple of weeks in the Athens area about 5 years ago, when things were at their rosiest I guess. I loved the ancient ruins, weather, scenery and beachs, with some lovely whitewashed villages etc. But did not warm to the people, the attitude, the modern architecture (ie. a complete lack of any) the everyday neglect, sloppyness and inefficencies. I think it is a country that lives in ancient history, but has failed to come to terms with more recent centuries.

    But I was just a passing tourist… maybe I got it all wrong?

  • wild turkey


    “But did not warm to the people, the attitude, the modern architecture (ie. a complete lack of any) the everyday neglect, sloppyness and inefficencies. I think it is a country that lives in ancient history”

    funnily enuf, (and this is not a wind up) some of my friends from the states who have over the years visited me and the family in Belfast have had reactions similar to yours.

    my usual reaction would be to point out that their view while legit was fairly superficial based on a few days, maybe a week.

    then, again in a way we are all just passing tourists


  • Drumlins Rock

    Have travelled a good bit, always like to put my first impressions down, and see how they change over a week or two, I had been to Turkey a few years before, Izmir region, and became acutely aware of the areas Greek heritage that had been lost, I was much less aware of the lost Turkish influence in Greece, but I think both countries have lost a great deal from the “population swap” nearly a century ago.

    Not sure if it still has an impact today, but we forget modern Greece is a relatively young country with much turbulence in even that short period, I just think it isn’t coping with its adolescence years very well!

  • Zig70

    He was the economic advisor to Greece! So don’t blame the Greeks, it was his fault. lol. It will all be fixed by telling our politicians to go easy on the printers and letters. Great. Sorry, working to many hours to pay off my economic deficit. My house is a European model, I scrimp, she accumulates and neither better for it.

  • Greenflag

    Richard Parker is right on this one even if there are no end of ‘examples ‘ of Grecian profligacy since (and before ) they were backdoored into the Euro zone by Goldman Sach’s adept cooking of the books and Franco/German willingness to look the other way 🙁


    ‘ I think it is a country that lives in ancient history, but has failed to come to terms with more recent centuries.’

    Let me know when you perceive that the ‘Enlightenment’ has finally caught on across Northern Ireland . I suspect we are just about getting there in the Republic . Meanwhile across large tracts of the USA people are returning to religious superstition and born again mindlessness 🙁

  • Drumlins Rock

    Greenflag, thankfully NI hasnt left home yet so dosn’t have to make the big decisions 🙂 Your right the RoI seems to be just getting there if it gets through this current crisis.

  • I suppose the purpose of the video clip was to deflect from the name-calling but the analysis was totally lop-sided.

    When the words, “so what does that tell us” flashed up, I expected some discussion about the euro and the fact that sovereign states have a common currency without a common Government. Did anybody notice that the word “Euro” was not even mentioned in Mr. Parker’s narrative.

    The core of his analysis was the global financial system. Of course that is relevant but that is the financial environmental background. It was rather like talking about a car crash that happened and concentrating all of the analysis on the fact that the road was wet when the substantive reason for the crash was the driver’s negligence.

  • wee buns

    There really is no need for the type of pompous moralizing about the Greek character which is so prevalent in the media, much as our touristic impressions are irrelevant to any serious discussion, as is Noonan’s scoffing quip about Feta cheese.
    It personifies everything that the Irish establishment parties are terrified off – our own ‘reputation’ and being seen as backward bog trotters. Thanks for posting something positive and factual about Greece, Mick.

  • Greenflag

    ‘ @ DR ,

    ‘thankfully NI hasnt left home yet so doesn’t have to make the big decisions’

    This fine example ( i.e not yet leaving home ) seems only appropriate for the ‘teenage democracy ‘ NI has become this past half decade or so . It could be worse .

    Eventually ‘teenagers’ mature or so we hope (even the parents ) but alas a new trend in perpetual dependency seems to have caught on in Italy and in the USA and elsewhere in the west , where in the face of high unemployment for those who have been told for a decade that they will need a college degree if they are ever to become employable at a salary/wage level that would be commensurate with second world status -have now or so I read some 55% of them since 2007 remain on their parent’s premises extending their adolescence to a degree that would /ought to impress any self respecting Norn Ironer .

    On the other hand and there is always an other hand .Political /governmental ‘maturity’ is not a given nor is progress inevitable nor is it indicative of superior governmental performance .Even a long established state like the UK can now boast that half of it’s population are going nowhere ?

    From no less a source than that bastion of Torydom the Telegraph ‘

    “It’s not where you’re from, it’s where you are going.” This week, Baroness Warsi became the latest in a line of Tory ministers to trot out that smug, scripted platitude, which was first uttered by David Cameron when he was leader of the Opposition.

    Once, it seemed as though a person’s origins might become irrelevant. No longer. In 2012, our country has just received the damning news that it has the worst social mobility in the Western world. There are foster babies in Baku with more prospect of social advancement than a child in Corby. Half of all children in Britain will never escape the circumstances into which they were born, compared to 15 per cent in countries like Denmark. It’s not where you’re going that counts, Lady Warsi; too many young Britons are going precisely nowhere.

    the full story here :

  • Greenflag

    @ seymour major,

    ‘The core of his analysis was the global financial system.’

    Which was and remains the core problem of this particular economic depression /recession and remains so largely because as Richard Parker points out ‘governments ‘ have failed to act against those financial markets who ‘knew best’ how to regulate themselves or so went the Reagan/Thatcher/Friedman mantra since the late 1970’s .

    The Euro ‘issue ‘ is just a spin off of the main problem which is that ‘international capital ‘ has become a ‘law ‘unto itself -moreover one which leaves democratically elected governments virtually powerless in the economic policy governance sphere.

    As Parker states the way forward will require a kind of intelligence and vision that transcends national borders and that will have to come in part from citizens demanding behaviour from public leaders of all sorts that moves us to a new world .

    Indeed whatever about coming from citizens and/or their elected representatives via the ballot box or from the result of economic and political upheaval /revolution and or further chaos you can at least be sure that the last place people can expect ‘vision’ or ‘intelligence’ to save capitalism from itself to come from will be from the financial institutions themselves 🙁

    You might as well elect Bernie Madoff to govern Greece in a non predatory manner or persuade Jamie Dimond that he’s not worth a salary of $43 million simply because he oversaw the loss of $2 billion dollars 🙁