Saturday, June 30, 2012

Greece - "What's going on"

Original photos, digital augmentation,
and text by K.K.W
Dark days ahead: Greece - "What's going on" part 1. By K.K.W

"For the Romans did in these cases what all wise princes should do, who consider not only present but also future discords and diligently guard against them; for being foreseen they can easily be remedied, but if one waits till they are at hand, the medicine is no longer in time as the malady has become incurable;..." (1).

Excess, miss management of state and or public funds is nothing new, its been the norm since the days of the Pharaohs and ancient Sumer. The odd thing is that todays governments and corporations have almost as much power as rulers of old.
Photo courtesy of "France"
Not surprisingly Greece's economy was one of the fastest growing in the Eurozone from 2000-2007; during that period, it grew at an annual rate of 4.2% as foreign capital flooded  the country. A strong economy and falling bond yields allowed the government to run large structural deficits (much of this to finance public sector jobs, pensions and other social benefits). Beginning in 2009 fears of a sovereign debt crisis developed among investors concerning Greece's ability to meet its debt obligations due  to strong increase in government debt levels.

Another major straw on the camels back is the lack of government tax income. Each year it was well below the expected level. In 2010 the estimated tax evasion cost for the government amounted to over $20 billion. Along with this the "black-market" in Greece operates at an earning of more then $65 billion a year, which is about 25% of the GDP an equal to $20 billion a year in revenue the government does not receive. Add this to rich, wealthy and corporate elite's that evade taxes along with bad economic decisions thats the "icing on the cake".    

Photo courtesy of wikipedia
Most of us have seen at least a few images of the massive protest's in Athens and elsewhere in the country. Although most don't know of the extent of the rioting in the capital that have left stores looted and burned, hundreds injures, along with massive arrest's. In addition to this there are sporadic acts of violence that are in-fact, internal acts of terrorism. So far there have been 2 financial bailout packages at about $210 billion Euros, with 5 austerity measure, each a series of major or minor changes to policies of government power, social benefits, and public sector policies. 

Some of theses measures are 8% cut on public sector allowances, return of special tax on high pensions, rise in the value of property (& thus higher taxes), the number of public owned companies from 6,800 to 2,000, increased taxes for those with an income of $68,000. Also,the number of municipalities from 1,000 to 400, 22% cut in minimum wage from 750 euros per month, changes to laws making it easier to lay off workers, and privatizations worth 15 billion euros by 2015, including greek gas companies DEPA & DESFA.       
Photo courtesy of "".
An unknown group drove the van, filled with
gasoline into the lobby of Microsoft headquarters
 in Athens, then set it on fire
As of late 2011 the share of the population living at "risk of poverty, or social exclusion" is above 33%, with seasonal adjusted unemployment rate grew from 7.5% in Sept 2008 to 19.9% in Nov 2011, while youth unemployment rose from 22% to 48.1%. Charitable foundations that use to fund educational programs have taken heavy losses and have now shifted to paying for soup kitchens on the streets of Athens. There's a major increase in the homeless sleeping rough, with neighborhoods marked by building that owners are desperate to sell or rent. Despondency is everywhere. 

Despite the austerity measures and financial bailouts, Greece is on a path that leads to "dark days", and there are serious signs the the country will default on the loans made to it and be forced to leave to Euro-zone. And if either or both of the latter occurs it causes a ripple that will help to weaken and or cripple the Eurozone.    
Photo courtesy of ""
If you would like to know more, go to:, or:, article will be continued. (1) Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince. Some info was taken form the above links. "Art is the reason, art is the way."

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