Peo­ple want jobs, not ide­ol­ogy

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY ALEXIS PA­PACHELAS

Re­al­iz­ing that your job, and whether you get to keep it, de­pends on peo­ple who have never worked is in­fu­ri­at­ing. I used to lis­ten to older peo­ple say­ing that it was im­por­tant for those ap­pointed to re­spon­si­ble po­si­tions in the public sec­tor to have paid their so­cial se­cu­rity con­tri­bu­tions. They were right. To­day we are to a large ex­tent gov­erned by peo­ple with no no­tion of the mar­ket. Their work was never eval­u­ated and they never knew the fear of be­ing laid off. For them, school and univer­sity were places for po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­ity. Po­lit­i­cal move­ments turned into a pro­fes­sion and the peo­ple they in­ter­act with en­joy the priv­i­lege of safe po­si­tions in public sec­tor de­part­ments or univer­si­ties. Ideo- log­i­cal ob­ses­sions come first for them, and they are al­ways con­cerned with what their peo­ple will say. They care very lit­tle if a de­ci­sion they take leads to 10 or 100 peo­ple los­ing their jobs. Per­son­ally, I came to re­al­ize the mag­ni­tude of their ig­no­rance with the in­tro­duc­tion of the cap­i­tal con­trols. While ex­perts ex­plained in de­tail the ef­fects of such a mea­sure to all those in­volved, they faced de­nial and an in­abil­ity to fully com­pre­hend. Those in power be­lieved no one would be af­fected based on the fol­low­ing ar­gu­ment: “Who has the abil­ity to with­draw so much cash ev­ery month? Cer­tainly none of our vot­ers.” Ev­ery­thing goes through the prism of pol­i­tics, while there is a sense of aver­sion to­ward fig­ures and tech­no­cratic analy­ses. Most wor­ri­some is the fact that they could not imag­ine the de­struc­tion cap­i­tal con­trols would bring to small and medium sizes busi­ness, ex­porters, banks and ev­ery­where else. But let me be fair. What I’m de­scrib­ing here is not tak­ing place for the first time. Pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ments also in­cluded min­is­ters and state of­fi­cials whose ca­reers were built on a process of leav­ing the lec­ture the­aters for party of­fices, with­out ever en­ter­ing the mar­ket. The dif­fer­ence now is the ide­o­log­i­cal ob­ses­sion, the near ha­tred for entrepreneurship and pri­vate ini­tia­tive. What we see now are politi­cians and party of­fi­cials in key po­si­tions who be­lieve we should all be em­ployed in the public sec­tor, while the rest should be taxed end­lessly so that the sys­tem can stand on its feet. Out of de­spair, so­ci­ety put its trust in these peo­ple. At the end of the day, how­ever, peo­ple want jobs. And as they start re­al­iz­ing that their chil­dren will never be ap­pointed to the public sec­tor, they will come to see that the coun­try will never re­turn to growth given the kind of politi­cians run­ning the coun­try to­day. At this point, the only con­vinc­ing story would be that of a self-made, un­cor­rupted busi­ness­man with no state con­tracts, who could ex­plain to them how he started from scratch and per­suade them that the coun­try could do the same. Greeks couldn’t care less about par­ties and ide­olo­gies. They want jobs, for them­selves and their chil­dren.

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