In an earlier post, I outlined that both the EU-countries and Greece were sort of stuck with politicians that may have not done their job well. Populist politicians in the EU have widened the gap with Greece by portraying all the Greek as bandits. Meanwhile, within Greece there is a huge difference between have's and have-nots and between politicians and the people. So while the world may treat Greece as one people, we overlook the distinctions within the Greek people.
ZeroHedge featured an article that made this distinction more specific. The article outlines that Greece may essentially be a kleptocracy. In such a system, a financial and political Elite skims and concentrates the wealth of the nation via corruption and embezzlement while being protected by the winking complicity of their fellow plunderers who hold civil and financial authority.
At present all eyes are focused on Greece and the votes in parliament. While most eyes will focus on the financial part of the vote, I am thinking now about the ramifications for Greece as a democracy and its citizenry. Imagine yourself to be a Greek voter that has over time learnt to live with corruption and the fact that an elite holds the jobs and priviliges. In this role you are essentially illegally taxed by the elite, in order to get services from the state that it should provide you for free or at much lower costs. And now this elite has also frauded the European system so much, that it is obliged to introduce a formal tax upon you as well. This double-taxing appears to be quite unfair and incorrect. And what can you do about it?
The current workings of the Greek democracy will thus inevitably lead to further social unrest than we see already. The people will want to rise up against their political elite in a similar way that in the Middle-East countries we see the people rise against its dictators and their family-clans. And that's what we see in the streets now. It's the same process, but the Greek elite is less pronounced, leass easy to catch and less easy to portray as a single entity.
I am afraid that the EU people and politicians will be so much clouded by their economic mindset and reasoning, that they will misstake and portray the Greek people's resistance as inappropriate given the amount of fraud that has occurred so far in Greek government (the elite). This may lead EU leaders and politicians to explicitly or implicitly favour a violent suppression of completely justified Greek protests.
In my opinion, our attention in the EU should not just be focused on the financial issue. We should take a broader perspective and try to determine how we can help the Greek public get a government with less corruption and less implicit taxes, allowing them to pay the formal taxes that Greece needs to come out of the crisis.
The stakes are high. And not just financially. If we overlook this issue, then essentially we are supporting the dictatorship of the Greek political elite.
And is that something we want the European Union to be based on?
Click here for a Dutch translation of this blogposting.