Greece must change bottoms-up and so must its people

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Greece was ill administered ever since democracy was restored in 1974 after the fall of the military dictatorship. The people who once demanded progress and change in their struggles to overthrow the oppressive military junta, became traitors to their own principles and effectively caused more harm than good once they gained power, by abandoning the values they had espoused and allowing for corruption, maladministration and bureaucracy to create a state that was ‘devouring its children’ just like Kronos did in the Greek mythology.

The Greek state became the fief of the country’s two major parties New Democracy and PASOK (Pan-Hellenic Socialist Party). The infinite capacity in corruption of these two parties, made public finances the vehicle through which every ignorant charlatan would be granted riches and benefits at the expense of broader society. Public money were wasted in cumbersome bureaucratic procedures, malinvestments and partitocratic practices that bought votes.

Every single Greek was well aware of what was going on in the country. Everyone has contributed in bringing Greece to today’s misery. Certain individuals have greater responsibility than others and certain politicians played a catalytic role in the process, yet this should not be an excuse of not judging the people. The people are those who voted for the politicians they now blame, the people are those who never protested against corruption and partitocracy.

The state is the people. This should be made clear to every Greek who now searches for the malevolent politicians that created this situation. Corrupted politicians are the reflection of a malignant society. Every single citizen has the duty to care about who he/she elects to power and should constantly scrutinize political actions to provide the necessary checks and balances a truly democratic society needs. It is essential to realize that only people have responsibility and if they do not care then things will eventually go for the worse. So far Greeks were caring about their own self even if that implied working against the state and effectively the public good, by endorsing corruption.

Greece must change bottoms-up if it is to survive in the modern era as a member of the EU and as a respected state that provides a decent living to its citizens. In that sense the troika’s demands are well-justified and welcome, since the internal system would never make the tough choice to change itself. Note that the need for drastic changes is fundamentally different from the madness and inanity of front-loaded austerity. To put it otherwise, I absolutely agree with the ends of the troika but I strongly disagree with their means (see The fiscal discipline delusion and Full analysis of the Euro Crisis).

Those who do not want to see the truth. Those who still demand from the state to provide them with all sorts of objectionable benefits; those who are putting all the blame on individual politicians or on the party they oppose, can continue to live in oblivion as they have done for ages. The rest of society needs to move forward and this can only be done through much-needed reforms and by realizing that each one of the citizens is the state.

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Protesilaos Stavrou

EU policy analyst. Philosopher. Web developer.
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