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    Posted August 26, 2012 by

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    A Game of Jeopardy: Between a Fiscal Crisis and our Humane Future

    By Dr. Marios P Efthymiopoulos
    President, Strategy International

    We are by now used to hear people say, accusing for all personal or collective difficulties or fears and all insecurities about our lives today and about our future, the so-called ' Global (not National only) Financial Crisis', but also the downturn of our political leaders, to face realities and provide solutions.

    Shops are closing, businesses are shutting down, medium size industries are not being able to pay taxation and/or expenses, and therefore laying off workers to either cope with expenses or slowly shut down. Unemployment rate the highest in Greece, located to the north of Greece in the Periphery of Central Macedonia, reaching almost a 25% to the area.

    Infrastructuraly there are no obvious or immediate pictures in the city of Thessaloniki of a downfall or any financial freefall, as the city by its own standards 'does never sleeps' with or without difficulties (will be the capital youth of Europe in 2014). Capital money is still seen and noticed over small but now important investments in the region in and around the city and its touristic areas, while many old traditional shops and business are now closed, (example: more than 1250 companies in the first semester of 2012 according to national news media services are now closed).

    Public sector, local, regional or national, can no longer afford providing services of different kinds, due to financial and legal restrictions and in some cases lack of decision-making abilities; while an important new phenomenon is noticed in the city, a taboo, still for many to talk about, as in facing realities, one of homelessness, rendering the city and its public sector even more incapable, of dealing with social or humane issues, in a city that is trying by all means to remain humane, safe, kind and hospitable, as well as international.

    The public sector, the largest owner of land, services and employers as well as pensioners in Greece, as such and unfortunately, lacks now of credibility: Offering public services and goods, supporting and helping its citizens. Political leadership but also employees good or bad, some accuse them for such a result.

    To make things worse, according to national public media mentioned, public servants account for 80% of the total working force in Greece. The remaining society is either privately employed, or free lancing or farmers and land owners, rendering public workers and political leadership, good or bad, the reason of this financial and social downfall.

    During election period, between April & June 2012, there was a media discussion of evaluating more than 156.000 public servants, rendering them vulnerable from a permanent to a non-permanent working status, thus showing the way to a quick exit from their divisions or total public sector.

    Surely an issue that if it moves on, (as it eventually be negotiated), will render Greece even more vulnerable, to a status of instability and possible public disorder through massive protests, that would be caused by relevant public unions and workers protections delegations and institutes, protesting over, even the possibility, of laying-off so many public workers with or without reason. As if it happens to one it can happen to all, with a court rule decision.

    Flipping the coin, we find some private employees and/or even companies wishing to move forward with this, allowing for more movement in the future, competition and free market for capital creation and investment, or as how some communists call it, a capitalist methodology in 'doing business'.

    Both cases render in fact Greece socially (collectively) vulnerable. Greeks will eventually need to face these realities. Possibly they will be divided between them in a way that all will be accused of something.

    Eventually the fiscal crisis will escalate to a moral crisis of values, thus jeopardizing also our sense of community and eventually our humanity and dignity.

    The latest case has not been build or examined just yet. Dignity and or humane understanding between citizens has not been in question yet. Through loss of our national capabilities and public credibility however, a once very powerful and capable organization that delivered services and goods, we also lost our sense of community.

    Just two days ago, a true story, in the middle of a small suburb, in one of the most rich areas in the city, a person faced a harsh reality, that of a lack of understanding, humanity, solidarity and lack of community burden-sharing. One reality that proves why Greece has not yet faced its problems fiscal, social and private, while making sure to establish a long-term prosperous future.

    In its middle of the city center of this wealthy suburb, in location and infrastructure, public, private with a natural beauty, shops are there to offer goods and services to citizens. In and around of those shops, cars can park according to the lanes made by the municipality police. As is also according to the law, a spot or two are left for the use of the parking space by people with disabilities.

    Putting the stop lights, the person parked the car to the spot for people with disabilities, for a minute, while allowing for the car next to it to un-park, while making sure that the street is not blocked as the road is narrow and traffic was plenty. Soon after the car next to the slot for cars with drivers with disabilities left, the driver with the stop lights de-parked to park to the next slot.

    However, suddenly a car comes from the opposite side and parks to the legal slot. The first driver calls on this second driver asking politely why did the person park there, while seeing the car with stop lights waiting and showing it that it will park there.

    Without hesitation the person apologized but said: If you want you can park here and I park to the unauthorized space. The driver with the stop lights on, said that if would not be right to leave the car there.

    So the second driver goes on and says: Besides who will write me a ticket? the police will surely not, otherwise these shops will lose a client. The second driver again went on. I will park there do not worry. if any disabled people come, they will have to face realities...

    This reaction surely was unexpected and has shown how a few but nonetheless brainless people use the opportunity not only to portray the lack of education but also lack of humanity or dignity remaining in such difficult times; in a game of jeopardy between a total fiscal crisis and a social crisis escalating to a crisis of humane values and lack of solidarity.

    These are most disturbing news, deriving not only of the crisis rendering people, as individuals and not also community citizens any longer, without any understanding or sense of community, solidarity and lastly of rules and regulations.

    Such issues allow for more speculation for eventually more social and personal degradation. This incident was made evident in a rich part of the suburbs around the second largest city of Greece, in a country will full of paradoxes positive or negative, but were humanity over the years with people of either disabilities or homelessness did not exist in the past, as we used to help and support each other.

    A city that this year celebrates its modern 100th anniversary that is referred in European and regional history books as the crown joule of Southeastern Europe, at where cultures meet civilizations and where education was & will be a source of new ideas for young people. And I just wonder what will happen if we will not be capable of providing pure and concrete knowledge and education as well as to provide understanding of solidarity and community trust, to our own younger generations? I hope that people finally understand that we are in this together. We need to face realities together and support active and community groups together; by all means with all sources. As this is the humane thing to do.
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