Monday, June 27, 2011

"Greeks Don't Work"

Whenever I read something like this Dan Mitchell post on a prospective second bailout of bankrupt Greece, I'm reminded of my honeymoon.

No, not because of that. Get your mind out of the gutter.

The wife and I spent a couple of weeks bumming around the Aegean after the wedding. Our favorite stop was the village of Oia on Santorini, where we spent a few too-short days in a beautiful, tiny boutique hotel built literally into the side of the island's volcanic caldera.

The hotel's manager was an American who had made his money in software and retired young to Greece. He was sufficiently acclimated to his new home to talk about "your elections," meaning the 2004 U.S. presidential contest, and to go on at length about hormones and such in American food (a European obsession, it seems).

This was in mid-March, a couple of weeks before the tourist-season-proper would begin that year, and as our host noted, the island was gearing up for the oncoming throng of visitors. Plumbers and carpenters were busily making repairs, and untold gallons (sorry--liters) of white and blue paint being applied to every exposed surface.

"There's not much time until the cruise ships start showing up," the hotel manager said as we looked out over the indescribably-gorgeous bay in the center of what had been a circular island before an ancient volcanic eruption. "So the Greeks are all very busy fixing their places up." He paused for a moment, and then corrected himself.

"Actually, the Albanians are all very busy." He gestured down the cliff towards a couple of apparently-foreign laborers putting in a new window. "Greeks," he finally sighed, "don't work."


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  2. You judge an entire nation, you call ten million people lazy, just because ONE guy who lives in a particular part of the country (not so representative I have to say), ONCE said so. It's exactly what Nazis used to do. I'm sure it's too late for you understand that the distribution of wealth globally isn't a matter of how hard people work (or else Malaysia would be the richest country in the world). I'm also sure that you believe that USA is the hegemonic power of the world because Americans are hard workers (although if you take your wife and go to Baghdad for your anniversary, you will be quite surprised to discover the way your country maintains its power). My only problem here is that you are not informed about the reality at all. This bailout you're talking about is not money that goes to the (lazy if you wish) Greek people, but directly to American and European banks (to whom the Greek state ''owes'' interests and repayments from loans from the 19th century or even from the Nazi occupation). The problem is that without these bailouts some of YOUR banks-thieves will collapse (like lehman). YOU'RE NOT SAVING GREEKS' ASS, YOU'RE SAVING YOUR ASS!! In fact, nobody is willing to save nobody's ass, everybody is only willing to save his own ass. Or did you just think that the US government suddenly started to help the world? Please next time be more careful when you insult entire nations like that.. after all some people go through some real difficulties and (just for your information) 99% of the Greeks are either unemployed (25% of the total) or are obliged to work more that 60 hours pre week but still cannot even dream of being able to afford a romantic getaway to Santorini, even if it's only a 20 mins flight from Athens.