This world always rolls on two sides of coins, head or tail.
Sometimes you’ve been placed higher than clouds, some other time reality just push you right to the ground.
I’ll remind you first, that this post, will be a comparably long and have no point, like the entire posts I’ve made, actually. I’ve gotta got a break, you know, and writing is my home-based point.
I remember, back when I was in University, one of the most talk-about gossip/news/disastrous headline was this: Greek Bankruptcy. I was intrigued with the news, with everybody in the class, or even the whole country if I’m not exaggerated too much, already speaking about that topic, knew everything from the beginning to the crumbling point, commenting everyday what should or should have Greece done to their country, and so on.
Basically, I’m the outsider AND a foreigner, have no attachment to the rather complicated country, yet completely intrigued to know further as my social circle have totally going nuts around this Greece related everything.
So I started my research, through books, magazine, classes, news and even online European gossips.
And I’m sucked into the story. Real. Hard.
Like, the research is intoxicating; sometimes the soil purpose of it is forgotten. Founding your personal pleasure in the weirdest discovery is, well…joyful.
And now the attachment to Greece story is inevitable.
When I read the recent story, while the Grexit idea still came out everywhere I clicked, when Merkel swinging her fists to the air for fighting the existence of Greece in EU still aired on the news, when riots and demonstration of Greek still the major headline on BBC or Bloomberg, 3 years after leaving Europe feels like a second.
I think the main reason behind this Greece fiasco is this: (I’ll try to describe it in a riddle, might be possibly incredibly wrong, or it might luckily the reality)
“When the Giant looked for the Dwarf, whether to show people that they could get along together despite their differences, or for each sides to take some advantage from each other, sometimes the Giant forgot how tall they were and the dwarfs forgot how tiny they were.
And they kept pretending.
Pretending to be someone they are not.
Pretending that they don’t have so much, they act like in shortage.
Pretending that they have so much, they act excessively, beyond what’s they’re capable and allowed to”
The ground idea of European Union, which is to unite big, powerful country, with smaller, periphery countries, to build an Economic Giant that could compete with the superpower USA, are wrecked, when ‘share and restrain’ habits are not flourished enough within EU countries. Big country shall and must share, while small countries shall and must pull themselves out from excessive shopping.
This, is when Politics, are coming to deliver a total havoc in the already complicated arrangement. The currency may be Euro, but wallets are national and parliaments will not easily share their purse, people said. When rather small countries create troubles and somehow, brought a big troublesome wave to bigger countries, powerful power will tend to push them, to behave as they wanted to be, when adapting to a structured way-of thinking like modernized countries is not as instant as printing a guideline. Educating, not punishing, is the key of a reform, and giving a lifetime lesson, needs a generation.
Solution I’ve been thinking about in this structural reform through eyes of a foreigner, not an-economic expert, and especially a youngster?
- Urgently reforming the pension system to ensure its long-term financial viability. As pension problem is one of the most critical point in Greece budget decision, which people have been mocked around each day as long as I remember, Greece needed to increase their effective retirement age to balance out other EU countries retirement age. Extend the period over which pension benefits are calculated to the entire working life and extend the number of years required to qualify for a full pension are needed. Productivity are valued, when retirement are honored within moderation.
- Simplifying and modernizing tax system within Greece. As the major problems found in Greece are the social avoidance towards tax and lack of force from government to this violations, unifying the administration of taxes and social security contributions, with the support of neighboring countries is needed to drive Greece fiscal conditions away from falling to uncontrollable level, as fiscal policy is the most important economic tools EU countries had individually now when currency is untouchable and pegged.
- Improving the process of budget preparation. Problems arise within Greece is the problem of budget allocation. Most of previous public budget in Greece are spend in sectors that might not need the actual amount of funds, like military spending that should be downsized, so moving swiftly toward a program–based budget and a multi–year budgetary framework, will probably imposed an expenditure control. Not to mention, the need of trusted parliament budget committee as responsible party in the field of maintaining certain budget guideline (I search that In certain countries, this might work to tighten budget spending)
- Tightening a control over public spending. Proceed rapidly with reforms of rationalizing and limiting the wage line along with further increase in transparency of recruitment and limit regularization. Greece needs to enhance a strong budgetary control over public entities and restructure unprofitable state enterprises. Not to mention to clear out completely politization in State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) in order to make them more professional and accountable. Greece had made too much unreasonable SOE that contributed to a big amount of public spending, so with carefully limiting SOE, and focusing public spending in only public entities sectors, while increased effectiveness in the rest of Greece SOE, will make a reasonable economic reforms in Greece economic structure.
- Raising labor market flexibility and tackle poverty by targeting existing employment subsidies on the most disadvantaged youth and reduce employment protection legislation. Ensuring that minimum wage does not act as a disincentive for hiring young people because this source of employment is the key of Greece growth in the future. Greece has a LOT of competition from neighboring countries with similar economic condition, so there’s no point on rising wage line while other countries could produce the same manufactures with lower price. The goals of a union is to accelerate labor’s movement through a simplified administration boundaries, so when back in the days you only compete with people with the same colors as you, now everybody in your continent will be fighting the same chair. Price, inevitably, will be the main barriers. Be different and valuable, or set yourself lower, as I may harshly say.
- Enhance the effectiveness of competition policy by reducing the administrative burden to start-ups and the barriers to entrepreneurship. Liberalize professional services; proceed with privatization and foster competition in network industries. Introduce a centrally led review of stock of laws and regulations for competitive effects with revisions to laws and regulations that unnecessarily restrain competition.
- Strengthen efficiency of the education system as representatives of future Greece growth. Develop and modernizing the childcare sector through betters regulation and increased supply of services to schools. Improve the curriculum in secondary and vocational education, enhance competition in the higher education sector and introduce reforms to improve the way education institutions are financed, by looking at different options that emphasize the focus on diversification of resources. Tackling possible future problems from the roots of education is a major concern for stopping the cycle of crisis happened again.
- Political Economy of Reform with strong mandate to fight corruption. As corruption and avoidance towards clean accounting reports within Greek government has been the major issues of this crisis, efforts to increase confidence in the management and also confidence in the body of EU can be approached by enhancing transparency and accountability. Gaining public trust in reforms programs that Greek government are trying to proposed could be initiate Greek’s trust over government and further reform programs will be easier to conduct in Greece.
I think people need to consider that it’s not all Greece mistakes from the beginning. My mind still could not bare the idea of how Greek governments has pretended that their public finances are in the right order and reforms were under way for several years, while European Union along with its member pretended to believe them. Could they not sense the trouble, the made-up financial statement, while big economy countries had series of economic expert as chairman?
At the end, I believe that there is always hope for Greece and EU in this crisis, because aside from the entire crisis, Greece still one country that introduce us to whole new democratic thinking. Strengthening Greece growth in the most reasonable and economic sectors are still critical in this point of view and it extremely needed EU members and also the rest of the world help, but the most mandatory thing is Greece efforts to put a strict discipline and honest government because after all, this is their future and their involvement is supreme.
This foreigner is completely and utterly bored, so bare in mind and forgive my messed-up thought and words!