Monday, January 2, 2012

Dividing and ruling our societies.

One of the main effects that the current crisis in Europe and the euro-zone had in all the badly affected countries, was the public sector vs private sector debate. Privatizations were encouraged and many of the social benefits were targeted and cut.

To achieve that, our leaders practiced the very successful tactic of "divide and rule". Dividing the public and turning it against each other, making each side blaming the other for the country's bad economic state. The public sector was targeted, in order to gain public support for the drastic cuts that it was about to endure.

We have witnessed such debates in both countries. While in Ireland the debate has somewhat subsided, as there are no more cuts in salaries announced in this year's budget, in Greece that the public sector is severely hit the debate still goes on.

Our leaders put the blame on the people for the country's bad economic state. Mr Pagalos in Greece, a member of the Greek Parliament and the former PASOK government, and Mr Ahern in Ireland the former Taoiseach both blamed the citizens for the mess.

And while this is partly true, the only blame I could put of the people's shoulders is that they keep voting for thugs like the above. Not for doing what they are encouraged to do by the current capitalist system, that is spend money and keep consuming.

In order to gain public support in Greece for slaying the public sector, they kept underline its faults and abuses that they have encouraged over the past decades in the first place. All they want to do is sell out all national assets and companies. To do that they slander a whole group of people, that were just sucked in by the system our Governing elites have created.

Yes Greece has an overgrown public sector. But it is the only sector that a Greek could have a secure and stable career path, since no other industries were developed in the country. If you are not a farmer, a tourism industry employee or a customer and sales services staff, you have limited options of making a living in Greece.

There are no industries left in the country as most of them have left to relocate in places like Bulgaria or China. The little industrial activity that is left in Europe is being sucked up by the northern, industrialized, rich European states.

The Greek public sector certainly needed to be cut down, but not in such a drastic way. First you create other industries for people to find jobs in, then you fire public sector workers so they can find jobs in those new industries. Now that they are about to fire hundreds of thousands of people with such high unemployment already in the country, where will all those people go?

You are pouring more people on the dole. You will be having them on social welfare paying them for doing nothing, while they would love to work and contribute. How come is paying hundreds of thousands of new unemployed going to help the economy? Less people that work and have money, less taxes paid, more benefits to be paid out, less money in the country's market.

And to justify all the above and achieve them, our leaders made the private sector workers angry against the "lazy" public sector workers that work so little, earn too much and in a way they are responsible for the country's state. So everybody applauded when the cuts took place and the new austerity measures were announced against the public sector workers.

Now that the public sector workers have no more money to spend, they do not pour any money into the market. They do not use their money to shop, use taxis, go out dinning,travel or stay in hotels. In result, the private sector workers are feeling the pinch as well. Because once the money from the public sector workers are not being poured into their businesses to pay for their wages, their salaries now are being targeted by their employers and they have to take cuts as well.

Yes there was a lot of mismanagement in the public sector. But it was a systemic fault, it was simply bad management. Our Governments could have reformed all that but instead they chose to use the public sector as a lure for votes and support in each election. They were using it to ensure they stayed in power by promising a job to the desperate Greeks in the public sector, a secure career prospect.

The only fault that the Greeks have made, is not that they kept spending, nor that they wanted to go and work in the public sector, a sector with the only potentials in a small country. They only mistake that the Greeks and the Irish have made is that they kept voting for the same Governments over and over again.

Because unfortunately in a country like Greece that the public sector was an important part of the country's economy, its destruction means the destruction of the Greek economy itself. What they should have done is start those reforms years ago, gradually.

The citizens of the euro-zone countries that are in trouble, instead of turning against each other, they should turn against their political elites. They should unite and debate on how they can change attitudes, moving forward in the future.