Steve Forbes Pens Open Letter to Greek Leaders; Greece Can Teach The World A Needed Lesson


Former US Presidential candidate and publisher of Forbes Magazine, Steve Forbes, used the platform of his magazine to pen an open letter to the prime minister and finance minister of Greece, Alexis Tsipras and Yanis Varoufakis. The full text of his letter appears below.

Dear Prime Minister Tsipras and Finance Minister Varoufakis:

You may have won a four-month reprieve of sorts from your creditors, but your situation is desperate, and everyone knows it, most particularly Europe’s paymasters, the Germans. As you just painfully learned, your ability to blackmail your creditors is a fraction of what it once was. Businesses, banks and others have had plenty of time to prepare for the worst-case scenario: Greece’s exit from the euro zone. Your own citizens have no faith in you, as evidenced by the massive cash withdrawals from Greek banks and the exodus of capital from Greece to supposedly safer havens.

You do have something of a case in your objection to raising Greece’s already horrific 23% VAT (a form of national sales tax). And you are right when you say the present program isn’t working. But your ideas–higher taxes on the “rich,” more government bureaucrats, virtually no privatization, higher minimum wages–are worse.

If you’re serious about saving your country and rescuing its people from a more dreadful economic catastrophe, there are basic steps you should take that would promptly promote economic growth, while giving you the priceless political opportunity to tell the troika–the IMF , the ECB and the EU (i.e., the Germans)–where to get off.

After all, there’s no reason that Greece’s economy can’t expand. Look at neighboring Bulgaria, Albania and, yes, Macedonia. They have troubles aplenty, but their performances are sterling next to yours. Their economies have expanded in recent years, while yours has experienced a terrible contraction. Must Greece perpetually be the runt of the EU litter when it comes to economic growth? No.

Here’s how you can put away your beggar’s cup for good.

–Taxes. Bulgaria and Macedonia each have a flat-tax system of 10% on personal incomes. Adopt your own 10% flat tax. Then go one better and slash your corporate tax rate to 10%. While you’re at it, whack your VAT to 15%, which will demonstrate your commitment to the downtrodden. As for your ridiculously high payroll tax of 45%, knock it down to 10% as well.

Of course, the troika and everyone else will scream that you can’t afford to do this. Your answer is that you can’t afford not to. Tax evasion in Greece is endemic. Your hideous tax system is one reason that Greece has a large informal economy. To annoy the Germans, cite the example of Russia. When Putin took over in 2000, Russia’s tax system was even more convoluted and corruption-ridden than that of Greece. Putin swept it all away, instituting a 13% flat tax on personal incomes and slashing other tax rates. Revenues soared immediately because of the ease of enforcement and greater economic growth. (Alas, that was the peak of the Russian president-for-life’s statesmanship.)

Taxes are a price and a burden. When you raise the price of such good things as productive work, success and risk-taking, the burden becomes heavier and the less you’ll get of these things.

Governments don’t create resources–people do.

–Privatization. Here’s an easy source of considerable cash that would enormously lighten the pressure on your budget. Prior governments have dragged their feet and have even been unwilling to complete a census of what the government actually owns and how many people work for these entities. This is irresponsible in the extreme. And your government has drastically scaled back what its predecessors were reluctantly going to do.

In 2011 I attended a conference in Athens, the purpose of which was to discuss Greece’s economic future. Among those attending were officials from Poland who had conducted numerous sales of government assets and companies, which totaled in the billions of euros. With exasperation these officials noted that George Papandreou’s government wouldn’t even meet with them to discuss the lessons Poland had learned about the right way to privatize. Your creditors can rightfully claim that continuing to bail you out when you refuse to vigorously pursue such an obvious course of reform is ridiculous.

–Stop trashing former Greek residents or those of Greek descent who want to help out by investing in Greece. The government should welcome such investors with open arms, not suspicion. Also, you should urge your own citizens not to regard them as unwelcome interlopers. In a book I coauthored with Elizabeth Ames, Money: How the Destruction of the Dollar Threatens the Global Economy–and What We Can Do About It, we recount this anecdote:

“When entrepreneur Demetri Politopoulos returned to his native Greece from the U.S. to start a brewery, his products were vandalized, his tires were slashed, and he received taunts and threats.”

–Make the process of setting up a business in Greece easy. Greece has made some progress in enabling people to set up legal enterprises, but the process still takes too long and offers opportunities for bureaucrats to demand that palms be greased. Use New Zealand as your model: It takes only a few keystrokes online to apply to open a new business there.

Along the same vein, and crucial to a properly functioning economy, is the enforcement of contracts. In this category the World Bank ranks Greece as one of the worst countries in the world.

–Change labor laws that kill job creation. Suffocating laws that ostensibly preserve jobs by making it expensive and difficult to fire employees end up making businesses reluctant to hire or, just as likely, encouraging businesses to hire workers off the books. Some progress had been made on this issue, which you, perversely, want to undo. Unions will howl, but a collapsed economy with soaring unemployment isn’t a pleasant prospect.

–Don’t even think of abandoning the euro. Your drachmas wouldn’t, as the cliche goes, be worth the paper they’re printed on. Greeks would shun them, which would leave the euro (and the dollar) as the de facto currency. Such a move would wreck what’s left of Greece’s banking system, and the economy would crater, making recent hard times look like paradise.

And, for goodness’ sake, don’t pull a Cyprus and confiscate bank deposits. As for capital controls, if you carry out the above true growth reforms, capital will pour into your depressed economy.

Alas, it’s not likely that you’ll undertake these economy-saving–indeed, economy-boosting–measures, especially the tax changes. Neither you nor your creditors seem to understand what enables an economy to prosper. You’re not alone–the confusion is global. When the U.S. elects a new President in two years, this will change, but it’ll be too late to spare Greece more unnecessary suffering.

Please prove us skeptics wrong by resolutely putting your country on the road to becoming the Hong Kong/Singapore/Switzerland of the Mediterranean.

Success would be your best revenge.

Steve Forbes

Steve Forbes is Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Media. Steve’s new book: Money: How the Destruction of the Dollar Threatens the Global Economy – and What We Can Do About It, co-authored by Elizabeth Ames (McGraw-Hill Professional) comes out next month. Steve writes editorials for each issue of Forbes under the heading of “Fact and Comment.” A widely respected economic prognosticator, he is the only writer to have won the highly prestigious Crystal Owl Award four times. The prize was formerly given by U.S. Steel Corporation to the financial journalist whose economic forecasts for the coming year proved most accurate. In both 1996 and 2000, Steve campaigned vigorously for the Republican nomination for the Presidency. The story appears on Forbes website here.



    • Helen Bitaxis on

      You obviously have not spent much time in Greece or attempted to do any business there. Dealing with all the bureaucracy one needs to wade through to do what would be quite straight forward here in the States is mind boggling. I can’t even imagine what it would take, time and moneywise, to set up a new business – unless you “knew someone in the government” that is. Actually his view is right on but getting the Greeks to grasp the reality of things may be more than anyone can do at this point, a fact that makes me very sad.

      • I am in total agreement with Helen.
        I came to the US in 1962 and to go to school, by 1967 I had completed by studies and simultaneously I developed a successful consulting business in NYC. My family convinced me to go back to Greece and so I did in 1970 and re-established my now International Consulting Business that also extended to manufacturing (designing and building heavy kitchen equipment). We did very well basically because 50% of our work was outside Greece, however the domestic 50% was what kept dragging us down, primarily because of high administrative costs dictated by the state. Finally I gave up and came back to the US in 1980 and never felt better. Greece needs to restructure from the foundations up and be friendly to business, and the Greek Bureaucracy must stop treating its citizens as the enemy. I have no idea how reform can be achieved, however I will support anyone who shows the slightest talent to fix Greek Chaos…

    • Pierre, I bet you are not offering anything of any constructive help to the discussion of Greece’s economy. Bet you are not a job creator, an entrepreneur, a businessperson. Sounds like you are an academic–maybe even “Gruberesque,” like the Jonathan Gruber that “helped” American healthcare. You write, “neoliberal, sanctimonious.” Are you kidding me? Everything that Forbest put in his letter was just plain common sense. Or do Europeans not have an equivalent concept for common sense?

      • I totally agree with Mr. Forbes, entrepreneurs should be stimulated in a society. Here in France if you have your own business and you have a bad year, you pay the same taxes as the years your business wasdoing well. So lots of people are giving up because of that. And look what our economy is doin, not good at all! Same goes for the government employies, too many and not service minded.

  1. John Kartsounis on

    Mr. Forbes’ analysis is correct and his proposals would indeed bring about a Greek renaissance, however the current mindset of the Greeks is mired in the statist and collectivist approach endemic throughout the Eurozone. In fact the whole construct of the E.U. is anathema to the original Greek ideals of freedom, individualism and self determination, prerequisites for capitalism and free markets to flourish and continue to function. The solutions the Eurozone bureaucrats put forth for their failing economies are more of the same failing policies of top down central planning evident in today’s pronouncement from the new ‘Emperor of fiat money’ to keep doing ‘whatever it takes’ and keep robbing the Europeans of their hard earned savings through massive debasement of their fiat currency. When the current thievery does not deliver the expected results then, as in the U.S. the failure will not be blamed on the failed policy, but on not enough money printing. And the presses will continue…….leading us down the ‘road to serfdom’.

  2. Wow. That was brilliant – simple, straightforward, sensible – simply brilliant. The flat tax was the best part of Steve Forbes’ presidential platform, too bad we weren’t smart enough to listen here in the US. He’s regularly a spot-on news commentator and he is here again. Thanks for caring about Greece, Mr. Forbes, and for taking the time to generously share your experience and expertise. Now if Mr. Tspipras and Mr. Varoufakis would only take the time to seriously consider your recommendations.

    • Are you serious? Did you read the proposals Varoufakis submitted to the EU? Forbes is simply echoing those same proposals, albeit with less sophistication and detail. His letter simply serves to appeal to the fears and prejudices of his and SYRIZA’s critics. For this reason you should always take this type commentary with a fine of salt or dismiss it altogether because it doesn’t aim to inform but manipulate.

    • Some times thinks are more complicated than what they seem to be. Even if the Greek leaders were to fully subscribe to Mr. Forves suggestions Greece’s lenders will never buy to his ideas.

      EU leaders are fully aware that corruption, lack of transparency, and white collar crimes are Europe’s key issues.

      While the USA introduced robust legislation to deal with such matters in the wake of big scandals, Europeans seem indifferent to tackle fraud related matters..
      For example, there there is no legislation for whistleblowers and secretive jurisdictions protect disputable investors who hide behind trusts, private foundations and private banks which act as front men. In this way all short of conflicts of interest are difficult to investigate, and unfair completion or the rigging of financial markets is facilitated by the same watch dogs, who opened the flood gates to terrorists, too.

      To add insult to injury investigators do not have the necessary budget to investigate alleged crimes, while their jurisdiction is limited.

      Regretfully, there are many secretive jurisdictions that declared war to countries like Greece, and facilitate wrongdoings.

      The Greek bailout is a political issue, which EU leaders do not wish to solve. They are interested only to loot what is left in Greece, and enforce a global tyranny.

      How could they approve Mr. forbes plan when they do not listen even to Warren Buffett’s advice who called bankers, lawyers and financial consultants a lot of mouths with expensive tastes who only lure unsuspecting investors into a fool’s game.

  3. Steve Forbes analysis is full of holes defending the position of big capital and Wall Street practices that created this international economic catastrophe, reality is another story.
    It is very true that Greece is suffering from an impossible bureaucracy, and unless it is fixed there will be no reprieve.
    It is also a fact that Greece has been ripped off by, starting with its first loan from the superpowers, and the weak Greek Governments that followed combined with the endemic weakness of these governments to control the greed of the big interests and banks.
    Under the present circumstances Varoufakis is the only hope there is and in he has to cajole, blackmail, threaten and manhandle Greece’s creditors that is what he was elected to do. His only obligation is to the Greeks and the Greek Nation and no-one else (Survival 101).

    • Kiki Vagianos on

      Sadly Varoufakis’ tactics (and you listed them well) are just as short sighted, albeit in a different way, than his predecessors. Forbes is offering a strategy so that Greece not only survives but THRIVES. Only animals seek to meet their immediate needs without looking forward. I think Greece deserves better than that, she’s experience too much of it already. Forbes proposes not just another stay of execution but a real and viable economic future for Greece. I think we can agree that that’s what we all want 🙂

    • lionel luthor on

      John, I live in Greece, and attempt, attempt to run a business here. You can’t. The level of corruption and bureaucracy is just too much. My experience here from dealing with the various Greek state departments, poleodomio, eforia etc… advice is just don’t invest here. It’s great to sit somewhere in an Anglo Saxon structured economy, and give advice. Come here, with your money, invest, and then give a lecture. I’ve heard, read so many individuals saying Greece was robbed, pillaged etc etc….the Greek state itslef is a robber. The Greek state owes me, (& God knows how many thousands more) tax refunds going on 11 years… interest added. I owe, they threaten to confiscate my house. Greek civil servants…..don’t go there. So please, to all you Greeks who live abroad and feel Greece is getting a raw deal, much of what has happened is Greece’s own fault, For decades a corrupt political class subsidized the public sector on the back of the private sector. Would you pay taxes knowing you’re not getting anything back from the state? Put your money where your mouth is.

  4. Mr. Forbes should educate himself properly before writing any sort of letter: ITS FYROM NOT MACEDONIA!!!

    • Andreas Raftopoulos on

      No my friend. It’s Macadonia to the rest of the whole world. We need to accept ,move on and concentrate on issues that will feed us and pull us out of this hole.
      privatise all the blood sucking over staffed parastatals , ensure the big players all pay their fair share into the fiscus and create some confidence. I for one , Greek as I am, am not yet convinced to stay, with what little capital I have left, in Greece.

      • Who are you calling friend Andrea? You and the rest of the world, as you say, are engaging in falsifications and ignorance. There is no country named MACEDONIA. You can’t even spell it. You are a disgrace, shame on you! Macedonia is a region and state in Greece. Alexander was Greek, spoke Greek, his parents Philip and Olymbia. Macedonia is Greek and will always be Greek. Since Forbes can’t get this right, I doubt anything else he has to say is of value. By using the word Macedonia Forbes is engaging in provocation, what are his motives? What are yours Andrea? Shame on all who are falsifying history. Greece needs support not more problems.

  5. Great advice from @steveforbesCEO. Poland is a great example of accepting its limitations and challenges in the 90’s and 2000’s and welcoming USAID financial sector technical assistance to help build its capital markets, regulator and privatization programs. I know because I was there working for the Funancial Services Volunteer Corps. When 7 and 11 years later I offered the same to CYprus as Second in command of the Cyprus investment promotion agency, they pooh-poohed it with suspicion trashing me, yes, another repatriated Cypriot of the diaspora, and asking instead “how dare I provide poli cy reccomendations? who is my father”. The bottom line is, countries like Greece and Cyprus gotta do the reform work. Unfortunately now they are paying a high price with “two feet in one shoe” tapped to the max to complete reforms that take 10 years in 2.5.

  6. Yes mr. Forbes if anyone can teach the world a needed lesson that would be Greece! I’m sure that you have studied world history but may have forgotten the historic contributions if Greece to the modern western world. The new government of Greece is on the right track to attempt and bring the citizens of Greece out of the austerity measures that have imposed by the central bank and back into prosperity. So again we see Greece stepping up on the world stage challenging the policies and procedures of the central banking system that instead of fostering growth and prosperity, creates poverty and deceleration if economic growth. Perhaps it will be Greece again that will rescue other countries and economies under siege. Will the world listen?

  7. What do you say about Poland?
    Now we have:
    CIT: 19%
    VAT: 23%
    PIT 19 / 32% , TAX- free = 750 Euro

    Regards from POLAND!

  8. I am not an economist, however I lived in Greece for ten years as a businessman, under very similar economic conditions, and at the very end I packed my bags and returned to the USA. This type of taxation is nothing less than economic oppression, that chokes up development and kills the future. The citizenry needs to wake up and demand massive changes that benefit all not just the few. We know that communism failed, however we also know that Wall Street and Big Capital & corporations ate America’s lunch and are destroying the middle class under. We have managed to send mission to outer space and the time has come to come-up with major financial restructuring. The only thing you get from trickle down economic systems smells very bad, it is unsanitary and will never lead to a viable outcome…

  9. rhoula pappas on

    Look— the people living in Greece have always had to have foreign bailouts. It started from day one in the 1800s. There are two types: 1) monthly wads of cash from relatives working and living abroad; 2) crooked loan shark foreign loans. The first wrenched tightly knit families apart. It was extremely hard for generations of young men and later women. The second, the same loan sharks that wrecked the US economy in 2008, threaten the whole world. The results in Greece from both are that the real honestly smart, hardworking people with a sense of right and wrong no longer live there anymore. Greece is not innocent. There has been a culture of entitlement. There is deep rooted corruption. Even, the so-called university trained professionals are amateurish because they don’t want to polish their skills after graduation. There is a political class that are the whores of Europe.

    Those of us not living inside Greece see it for what it can be: a place without borders that lives in people’s hearts, a hallowed, eternal space precisely because the foundation of her eternity is not just a geographic thing, it is not just a philosophical thing, nor a hedonistic sun tanning on the beach thing. It is the hard fought for, real life things that have to be done to bring truth to stand upright before the face of the social frauds, the mediators of evil.

    Nobody wants to have to be the one to say this: Germany is a threat. How many times do we have to learn this lesson? There is a German-Dutch-French-Luxembourgian fiscal compact Axis: European Stability Mechanism. European Fiscal Compact. The people at the top of this are operating a seraglio. Read about Jean Claude Juncker in The Mail Online June 21, 2014. On BBC NEWS EUROPE January 10, 2015, Ex-IMF chief, perjurer, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, says he didn’t know it was a prostitution ring. Goldman Sachs does not have a country.

    The German Finance Minister has admitted the German fraud committed against Greece:

    Greece Has Paid Back €360 Mln in Interest –

    How much does the world need to know to bring their outrage to bear on Merkel and Juncker to lead a real effort to work with Tsipras to stop the fraud and erase the so-called debt before more damage? The Syriza government is heavy with academics who know what needs to be done. It is also heavy with workers who have had to live with the destabilization of the economy. We need to support them to fight the external threat. The Greek citizens have to ensure that Syriza delivers internal programs that work for them. In the meantime, those of us on the outside have to stand up against injustice. If we don’t al hell is going to break loose. If Greece decides they have to leave the Euro, they are going to need our help to prevent a further humanitarian disaster.

  10. Harry Melvani on

    The general advice from Steve Forbes is correct. That is, Greece should go for growth and everything else be damned. The specifics are the problem. Greece as a modern country has been around for 180 years in a democratic framework. You cannot compare the Johnny come lately countries of Bulgaria, Albania and FYROM with Greece.
    The tax rate of 10% or even 20% is not sufficient to support a developed State structure of Greece. A gradual reduction in income and corporate taxes will work better. The payroll taxes can gradually be reduced to around a European average of 30%.
    What Greece needs is a stable environment and less populism. Privatization with transparency will bring in needed investments.

    Above all Greece should avoid populism. It was populism that frightened the Greek Aristocracy into betraying the Athenian Democracy in 340 BC and opened the door for the Macedonian to impose an Empire on the Greece. It took 2300 years for Democracy to return to Greece.

  11. Mr. Forbes, When you say the confusion about how to save & boost an economy is global & it will change after the next U.S presidential election. Do you mean the U.S & world economy will be saved & boosted again by a republican president the way we were during the Bush years which ended with the booming U.S & world economy of 2008 ?

  12. Rhoula Pappas on

    I appreciate what John and Harry put forward. Populism is a misunderstood word. The worry these days is populism in its retreat into racist fascism which in my view is results from of obscurant, mystifying economics. If populism is meant the rabble rousing stuff that seems to get in the way of moving on, aborting the process before the real issues are resolved means that it’ll keep coming back, firing in repetitive loops.
    Behind, below, beside theories and book keeping, on paper or ephemerally digitized, manmade economies result out of engaged, productive social relationships between the inherited physical forms of persons and nature. Now is the offspring of the deeply engrained, unfinished nightmares of the bloodbaths of WWII and the Civil War, and the War of Independence. The Eurasian people of Greece continue to fight each other for what they were led to believe was the so-called European enlightenment’s road to democratic and economic progress. Their susceptibility to the idea of the rise of the ethnic individual within the rising nation state over and against the Ottoman connected individual in a communal social contract was due to rural poverty and disease over and against local military, tax collecting notables. Their susceptibility to Marxian analysis was a direct result of their one hundred yearlong poverty and loss experience within the nation state. The atrocities and mass starvation of WWII were historically unprecedented. Where Black Death had been due to mysterious nature – starvation, and death from war was people’s doing. Where war had been the business of the military, now it involved everyone including women, children and the aged. Where the land had been productive, the starved bodies were lying on wasteland.
    These critical political moments were viewed through an ancient lens, even as centuries of human migrations in and out of the territory, had transformed the ancient inheritance into a faint ideological echo, in light of the fact that ideas, monuments and people were used and abused by the West in its so-called philhellene mask. Easy. Every child of Ellas from its first psychic moment is suckled on love of education in search of truth, honour, and a coupled belief in Spirit and in Democracy. When these eternal human essentials find themselves hijacked, they have proven to regroup in the place where they came met and were synthesised. So, the US founding fathers dug deep into the ancient Athenian psyche to patch together a rational in their economic project that devastated the aboriginals and brought slavery. No surprise that the Spirit of Democracy is calling the children of Ellas to save it from the thieveries of both the external and the internal forces now. Those of us in North America are, for the moment, sitting in the safety of the spectators’ box. But, nothing has happened since 2008 to protect us from the intransigence of the finance. A segment of Americans lost everything over the last seven years.

    The allures that drew the people of Greece into the illusory, financial capital, funny money orgy hosted by the BERLIN-BRUSSELS-LUXEMBOUGIAN-DUTCH ruling clan have to be reconciled against the actual experience of members of the democratic mass as individual voters from within individual household economies of scale in local and regional communities. Because economics underlies social life and its nemesis politics; because of the life and death consequences of the encounters between economics and politics, the process of distilling the eternal human essentials out of the today’s obscurant economic brew is not proving politically easy nor nice.

    Whatever the particular internals in the other southern countries and Ireland, the facts of what has happened in Greece are increasingly becoming available to scrutiny. I bring attention to a March 28, 2013 interview in the Economist with Professor Orphanides, the ex-head of the central bank in Cyprus, titled, What Happened In Cyprus, at the time its economy was destroyed by the BERLIN-BRUSSELS-LUXEMBOUGIAN-DUTCH compact. Consider the fact that, as a finance capital locale, Cyprus was Luxembourg’s direct competitor. Period. Below the cynical democratic process on display in Brussels, the compact doesn’t play democratic ball. Look at the commentary which follows the article. If Orphanides failed to act at critical moments, he failed to act because he was blindsided – perhaps because he thought his personality and being were part of the suited gentleman’s club fronting the international system, perhaps because he didn’t t calculate the depth of the northern financial centre’s ruthlessness where people are expedible. What this says is that the individual social actors, if they buy into the way things are done, do not matter. Make no mistake, when the north has gotten what they want out of Draghi, he and Italy will also become expendable.

    When Europe aimed its sights on the Ottomans, it goaded Greece into becoming the front guard. When Europe and Anglo-America were faced with fascism in the northwest, Greece made the Herculean effort to hold the southeastern boundary. When her young minds were exploring their own path into their social future, what she got for all her Civil War blood sacrifice was a red light district procured by a thieving political class that presented themselves to their countrymen as democratic, patriotic parliamentarians. Hey kids, you did it to yourselves, get over it. Put one a mini skirt and forget it.

    The reason that Greece stands out as one of the birthplaces of civilized thought is, first, because Spirit endowed her with a natural abundant inheritance allowing her upper class the surpluses to have time to think humanely. Another, she was at the crossroads of the enlightenment coming out of Asiatic lands at the times of her greatest philosophers and in the aftermath of the life of the international, historical Jesus movement. What is transpiring internally in Greece right now is of monumental importance. Every person who dismisses her multicultural populace’s right to self-determination, is condemning themselves. Every person who doesn’t see that the global finance system is destroying the security of people all over the world, is condemning their own children and grandchildren to lives of unnecessary chance and anxiety ridden, insecure futures if not worse.

    It does not matter what Syriza puts forth to satisfy their EU creditors. They have already divided up the segments of the productive European economy amongst themselves hand in hand with the financiers. This is why the Dutch took the spring bulbs from our hillsides and turned them into big industry. This is why our olive oil is bought wholesale and relabelled as coming out of France, Italy and Spain. This is why the idea of democracy has been turned on its head. Varoufakis is throwing online gambling and wired tax spies at them. Consciously or unconsciously, what he seems to be actually saying is: You’ve have reduced human life to a paranoid crap shoot. Europe is betting that a collapsed Greece can become a wasteland to be transformed into the EUs military base against Islam – a mutual admiration colony of NATO, the US and the proposed EU military force that Juncker was spouting off about last week. Here Germany can rearm herself under the guise of a unified Europe. Mr. Tsipras is a congenial, veteran organizer of human groups who has managed to unify eighty percent of his constituency. These is no easy feat in a place where the national hobby is political discourse Ask yourselves how and why a man like Juncker, whose claim to fame is having lead a country of less than five hundred thousand people, who drinks too much, is president of Europe; why the English Prime Minister was against his installation as head of the EU. What pray tell does Juncker have to teach Mr. Tsipras. Notice his body language at their first meeting in Brussels.

    The world has absorbed generation upon generation of emigrant Greeks. Greek people think they can’t take much more. They will have to because history has chosen them as her conduit out of the current economic and political morass for good reason. In such a system, h Ellatha na ehi to nou tis. Greece has to steer her own, unaligned course. Mr. Tsipras will need internal unity and every honest person’s help. Of course, there are those inside Greece who don’t want the debt, but want the Euro so that can maintain buying power with the rest of the world. These accidental tourist Hellenes are only Hellenes only when, and in so far, as it suits their personal economic interest. A better outcome for Greece including real, internal inform of the corrupted state will mean a better outcome for everyone both in and outside of Greece. If you read the English version of the Gospels you will find there that one has to give up their life to gain everlasting life. If you read these in the Greek, you will find there that one has to lose their soul, their psyche, to gain their psyche.

    Mr. Tsipras is bold, he is young, and he understands the people he is leading. Instead of eating their young, the old who bear the scars inflicted in the Euro seraglio , those who are now the beneficiaries of their parliamentary pensions at the expense of the populace should join his project and come if he calls.

  13. Rhoula, your posting was a tough read, however I did manage to go through it, basically because I felt that you were talking from personal experiences and the heart. I am not an economist or a politician, even though my family had a brief involvement in the making of our modern nation. What I have experienced in my personal relatively long personal life, is a constant brain exodus for those who could afford it, or were bold enough to take the chance. This brain exodus of the bravest and possibly brightest simulates what happened during the pre-revolution (1821) years, and together with those who stayed behind and toughed it out, might lead to a new Anagenisis for Greece provided the right leader, who can inspire the masses and engage the assistance of the Diaspora, can be found. Is this leader Tsipras or Varoufakis? I do not know…What my experience tells me is that at this catastrophic juncture, it is better to follow the “Nothing to loose” approach, and if during this process one manages to bring reform, so much the better. My gut tells me that Varoufakis and Tsipras (legally elected to represent the Greeks) should follow their platform, and to hell with the rest. Being one of the Diaspora I will stay on the sidelines, and will be glad to help if and when I am called to do so. I think Tsipras and Varoufakis will be well advised to engage and solicit the support of the Diaspora’s communities, and maybe they might succeed in pulling our beloved genetira out of the well…

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