[xplorer²] — Beware of Greeks (gifts or no gifts)
home » blog » 30 September 2007

"Εν είδα ότι ουδέν είδα" — Socrates
(I know one thing, that I know nothing)

So what's the best country to live in? Should one steer clear of bigoted superpowers and go to one's mother country? No way if that happens to be Greece! I am greek and proud of our heritage, only problem being that there's no resemblance between the land of Plato and Aristotle and the present state. Last week I had to go there for a business trip and as always I was reminded that modern greece is basically a third world country that happens to be close enough to the first world to lay claims on european subsidies — without which it would have sunk to the level of Somalia.

Where do I start? The average greek sports room temperature IQ (in F), and has no clue how the modern world works, either politically, financially or technologically. You can arguably make this diagnosis for the average citizen of any country, the world being the complex system that it is. What distinguishes a greek is his illusion that he knows everything and his conviction that the world would be a better place if only we followed his contradictory half truths ("advice").

The modern greek has kept only the worst part of Aristotle et al, i.e. he is armchair philosopher, never putting any of the rubbish theories he comes up with to the test. Everybody talks and talks for hours and nobody does anything. Many greeks experience hallucinations in which the whole western society including technology are basically greek inventions, that were stolen by rotten euroamericans. The conspiracy is proven beyond reasonable doubt in "books" written by muppet charlatans with a peculiar definition of "facts" and "proof".

Take the cab driver that picked me up from the airport in athens. In the 30 min journey he explained to me why the elections went the way they did ("because the rich people went door to door handing out cash to forest fire victims"), why it is ok for greek politicians to embezzle funds and resources ("wouldn't you do the same if you were in a position of power?"), and why the english people are on top of the economic ladder ("because they're all gay"). And to cap it all he wanted 20 euro where it was only 10.80 indicated on the meter — perhaps he added the cost of the "lesson" on top. For the mere pittance of a cab fare you get the the answer to life, the universe and Everything.

Greece is full of loud and arrogant speakers. Reason and authority is not required. The opposition party took a beating in the election and that was apparently down to their leader being not a capable speaker — greek bush is his nickname. So obviously what's required is to replace him with somebody that talks better. Never mind his views on natural catastrophies and how to avoid them, how to stop the corruption (doctors and tax people consider it their right to get bribes) or increase productivity (public sector offices & banks shut at 1-2pm) and improve infrastructure (there's still a single track railway connecting north & south and no real motorway). Nobody has heard of government accountability and monitoring of public spending, or independent regulator bodies. And it all starts from the top. A former prime minister, Andreas Papandreou, famously and shamelessly dismissed embezzlement by one of his top cabinet members as "just a little present to himself". What can you expect from the common greek? But on the other hand they say that people get the government they deserve. I'm not sure which caused which in this case, but it stinks anyway.

The other day I was reading undercover economist that had a section on Cameroon and why it is rock bottom and unlikely to bounce up anytime soon: pervasive corruption in the government and officials. It reminded me of greece where personal worth and success in life are statistically independent variables. As long as the greek governors and doctors/officials consider the economy and their pockets one and the same thing, offering public contracts to their cronies, and as long as people justify the actions of the state instead of getting out in the streets with pitchforks, the only way is down.

I'm grabbing an ekranoplan and getting out of here!

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