Why Are Greeks the Poorest People in the EU?

The European Union is facing a severe crisis marked by unfulfilled promises of democracy, equal exchange, and shared prosperity. The situation is particularly dire for some EU nations, with Greece, according to a recent Financial Times report, on the brink of becoming the poorest member of the EU. Despite Bulgaria currently holding that position, its economic trajectory is set to overtake that of its southern neighbor.

The problem in Greece is not so much a stagnant economy, which grew by 3% in 2023 on the back of a resurgent tourism industry. The problem for Greece and other EU nations is that the people’s living standards are in decline, on the verge of desperation for some. The FT report shines the spotlight on Greece in a death spiral where per-capita GDP is concerned. Even Bulgaria, which is currently in last place, will eclipse the world’s oldest democracy.

Crimea: The Great Crim... Royle, Trevor Best Price: $2.51 Buy New $19.99 (as of 05:44 UTC - Details) The Athens politicians caving in to the IMF and debtor nations was the start of the country’s economic tailspin. Austerity measures, spending cuts, and a humongous tax burden placed on Greeks were bound to destroy millions of livelihoods, and boarded-up businesses here in Crete testify, as do the island’s dilapidated cars, houses, and infrastructure. The numbers do not lie. Since 2007, the Greek economy has shrunk by almost 20%. Meanwhile, the EU economy has risen by 17 per cent or more. FT quotes George Lagarias, the chief economist at Mazars Wealth Management, saying Greece’s gutting is unprecedented since the Great Depression of the United States in the 1930s.

Wages here have been in a free-fall since the bailout schema was put in place by the Tsipras administration. His administration betrayed the Greek people, even after the public had voted in a referendum to decline the IMF/ECB and EU bailout plan (61% to 39%). Two things are worth noting here. First, United Nations human rights and international law experts Alfred de Zayas and Virginia Dandan condemned the EU and the IMF for basically negating the sovereignty of the Greek state. The second issue, the absolute loathing of Greece’s creditors for then Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, is amplified today. When he resigned because he saw the writing on the wall despite the Greek people’s will. In a blog post from the time, the renowned economist wrote:

“The referendum of 5th July will stay in history as a unique moment when a small European nation rose up against debt-bondage.”

Also during this time, Greece’s PM was courting Russian solutions to the debt problem. Whether or not these talks were for leverage against the IMF (which seems unlikely) or a sincere outreach for assistance is unclear. However, three years later, Tsipras was back in Moscow discussing the “new energy map” in the Eastern Mediterranean. He discussed the Nord Stream pipeline with Mr. Putin and the possibility of extending the Turkish Stream pipeline from Turkey to Greece and from there on to Italy and the rest of Europe. It’s too bad Tsipras, and his predecessor Mitsotakis were “all in” with the NATO/US hegemony, or Greeks would undoubtedly be all the richer for gas revenues. And, of course, the Russian investments in Greece Vladimir Putin discussed with Tsipras six years ago dried up completely once NATO’s plans to move eastward forced Russia to respond.

As you can see, this dissenting perspective about the Greek situation and the overall state of West-East affairs unveils many crucial discussion points. These should be better served in another report. At this point, I’d like to return to the feudalistic nature of Western economics that Greece’s former finance minister has written about.

As you may know, Varouflakis proposed that capitalism had been replaced by a regime called “Technofuedualism.” He says the battle of the people now is not so much with the banks or even the Germans. He says, “It’s the tech companies he accuses of warping the economy while turning people against one other.” He also says we are currently buried under a system far worse than capitalism and that we are nothing more than absolute servitude. I can guarantee that within one minute, I can get the average citizen of Crete to agree 100%. The downtrodden here may not know which way to turn, but they certainly recognize a new form of slavery.

Taxes here and the lack of services rival even those of the worst systems in the world. In Crete’s capital’s once buzzing pedestrian area, any shop owner you talk to will tell you “retail is dead.” Add to Amazon or other online sales that tourists to Greece (especially Crete) are now herded like cattle to buffet lines on their cruise ships or asylum-like beach resorts where marketers have elevated 3-stars to 5-stars. Again, the subject of a corporate or elite takeover of almost everything that produces revenue is for another time. The nail in Greece’s economic coffin was just driven in recently with a report that the country would import 60-something thousand Egyptian or Pakistani workers for the hospitality industry. Tour companies like German TUI have bashed margins, so low, hoteliers cannot pay Greeks enough to live off. And the so-called brain drain is an exodus killing the country’s potential.

The Philosophical Orig... Gordon, David Buy New $1.99 (as of 02:07 UTC - Details) For Greeks, who still sit in kafenios to argue which criminals they feel will rescue them, I wonder how many recall another time when their country was far better off economically. How many readers here recall a period of explosive growth that stretched from 1960 to 1973, during which GDP per capita grew at an average rate of 7.51%? This was at a time when the Greeks had absolutely no external debt and when the capital here in Heraklion had streets paved in marble. The period was known as the “Greek economic miracle.” The good times rolled on through the first part of the military dictatorship the United States backed. Then, the magic started to lose its luster when the U.S. allowed Turkey to overrun Northern Cyprus (See Kissinger letters).

I could go on almost forever. But the reader should have a general idea of how bad things are for a country that should be one of the most prosperous in Europe. In Bulgaria or even Albania, there is still some cause for hope. The Greeks are, however, beaten into a pulp by outside influences playing, as Putin once suggested, “under the table” dealmaking. Of course, it all gets relatively complicated to understand something like technofeudalism. I guess the biggest question is a lot easier to answer for me. I do not wonder whether I am a king or a lord. My status (and probably yours) is as a powerless peasant. At least, this is how the Liberal Elite seems to be working things. Democracy? Well, somehow, I think this idea was impossible from the start. The Greeks have become the poorest people in the EU because their country was transformed into a vassal state.

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