Aegina Island is intense. Not because it is so ludicrously bombastic or visually offensive, actually it seems quite the opposite. It is for the simple reason that we are here to work and work we shall that I find myself compelled to confess that I am utterly fatigued by our drive and the hours that we have to put in to get the most of our time here. As per usual this means early starts and late finishes, working through the heat of the Mediterranean sun and against the slow momentum that is the drawl of everyday native life.
Now I really appreciate the stresses of taking ones time, and I mean really taking ones sweet time about getting things done, I understand that life is to be enjoyed and every minute belongs to the individual. But then it seems as though the Aegineans, and actually the Greeks at large, seem to have the attitude that taking time is fine, things will get done, and its not worth over over exerting to get it done quicker. I feel as though the English have a very different mentality, that which is that one should get things done as fast as possible and to the highest possible quality because we can relax only once we have got things out of the way. I suppose that both mentalities have problems. The English are crap at relaxing and the Greeks appear comparatively lazy. But then these are very different climates, things must take different times because the bearable working hours are different. However I feel as though this ought to be reflected in the economy, it should be shifted to suit the local customs, the local rate of production. Whilst the economy ought to reflect the values of the lifestyle, it clearly doesn’t. It is very expensive to buy food here and the cost of buying even local goods is quite high. Compared to the wages, the average income, the rate of production, the likely working hours that suit the environment, this economy is actually just wrong. As it stands it doesn’t seem as though there is much chance of this changing, the people who own the businesses and who regulate trade within the country are of course not only not Greek but are also categorically capitalist. Being capitalist does not mean that one is simply out to earn a living but it outlines a particular ideology which doesn’t singularly base itself on exchange but is inexplicably cabled in with exploitation. In terms of business it means exploiting the producer and the consumer whilst maximizing the profit margin of the middleman (the sales person). Of course this means that whilst any economy is supposed to be self-interested, the self-interest propounded by a-national businesses, taking the money out of local economies, beyond borders, and without concern for local prices, results in the collapse of balanced local economies. Independent businesses must buy their goods from somewhere and this isn’t going to be from independent farmers, or at least this is unlikely to be the case. Instead independent businesses also buy their goods from the major international corporations. Of course the cost of goods is also controlled by the larger companies who would rather reduce the profit margins of other business as much as possible than lose out on profit at their own end of things.
Of course there is also inflation, which makes the problem with the Greek economy difficult, this is a result of a devalued currency due to an increase in the amount of circulating money. A devalued currency means higher prices. The problem is that Greece is having to loan a lot of money to pay its debts that it has accrued through what can only really be called bad management. Bad management that has led to unrewarding projects, poor investments, and general wastage of allowances. The country is in severe debt which has left the people in a situation where a lot of public sector jobs cannot be sustained. These people are losing their jobs and there is no new jobs being created, the lack of jobs means there is a big drop in the amount of money flowing around for people. Businesses are affected and businesses fail, reduced incomes for businesses means companies must downsize, more unemployment. The cost of everything goes up, the demand for work rises but there isn’t the money to pay people because the cost of space and resources to make a business function have also risen. How will people by food and pay rent? They can’t.
So people must turn not to the government, although that must also change its policies dramatically, but instead the people have to turn to themselves to create opportunities for themselves. With a prediction that 25% of the population will be unemployed by 2012, the situation is grime. Whilst it is playing on a popular idealist theme of self-sustainability, the Greeks must nurture their own enterprises not to create great capital but to simply survive.
This music from London is great, I heard it and it lifted my mood up.
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