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- Visiting Europe
Spend a Day in Greece and be Thankful
Be thankful that whatever your dilemma is, your loss, your quiet panic, your fear of the future, that you are not there.
Visit Greece today is nothing like it was even a few years ago. It is a country on the edge of collapse and silent anarchy. The Greeks, themselves, know this all to well, and now, many are leaving this country, home to Democracy, by the thousands in a mass exodus. Every man for them themselves is the motto. You wake up to the morning newspaper with blaring headlines, "The State has ceased functioning", in the Athens newspaper, Kathimerini. How fun is this?
You venture out into the daily grind and find small chaos and anarchies brewing; street lights and traffic lights are not working, traffics is insane, traffic rules and signs are ignored. Maybe some have already crossed into the abyss of contempt for the government and the Germans and French bailing them out. Pride. National pride that is hard to swallow. Many of the stores that were there "back in the day" are gone or hollow now, those that somehow do exist, are blackened ruins from recent flames of rioters trying to express their anger and sense of hopelessness.Sad. You run into many sifting through garbage cans for things- things to eat with caution, things to sell or barter. Appearances are always deceiving, for sure, but when you find out that these bums are actually intelligent, well educated people, it is freaky. Some in Greece are foreigners who did have a great paying job and never, ever thought, they, the educated at Cambridge, would be one of them. For years, they were upper middle class, worked in the tourism industry, until the big job loss. Tourism dropped greatly and is all but gone now. Like others, they delayed the worse, using savings while job searches yielded nothing until the bank account went empty. Then, they sold personal items to get by. Then, their car or other big ticket items. Time continued and still no job as things just went from bad to worse. Now, homeless, most still cannot believe they are the ones being called "bums".
In Greece, unemployment is 48%. Forecasts for Greece are more gloom. Over 250,000 people there now receive free meals from churches or shelters. What brought Greece to this was its corruption and inefficiency. It was an economy with no rules. In one example, if you made $100K in a year, the State would take $40K and the tax collector $20K.
The slashed budgets of Greece are causing a social revolution to its society and that too much damage has been done for the latest EU economic package to be the cure. This may force Greece to leave the EU. To many Greeks, the French and German banks are really saving themselves with the latest loan package that brings a new meaning to austerity. Many hospitals are manned with half staff, some have lost electricity for not paying the bills.
Oddly, the worlds first recorded economic crisis happened in 5 B.C. where, you ask? Athens, Greece. Where else???