Greece State of Nature

November 4, 2011


Recently in the news the current economic crisis in Greece has been the topic of choice. A little background on Greece’s economy, Greece entered the European Union (EU) in the 1970’s. Right after Greece emerged from dictatorship, they wanted to consolidate their new democratic system by joining the European Union. Greece had great potential for revenue entering the European Union. But the one thing that went hidden over the years was the issue of the previous government misreporting the economic statistics of the country to remain in the EU. This allowed the government to spend beyond their means. In 2010, the government revised their deficit from 6% to 12.7%, and it continued to rise. The constant misreporting, the world financial crisis, and the over spending of the government is leading Greece towards bankruptcy. Greece got into a cycle of taking out high-interested loans to pay back other loans. Greece was issued a bailout package in the recent years, and is being offered another package now. This austerity measures includes rising taxes. So, in perspectives the citizens in Greece are suppose to help fix a problem they did not create. So, many Greeks are outraged at the fact that they have to pay for their governments mistakes.

            But one can ask is it only the government’s fault. Did the Greek citizens have no play in this current crisis? See, the Greek government put in the minds of their citizens that nothing is beyond their means. So, if you leave a population of people to do what they want, what will happen? How can it be possible for everyone to have the same services, it is not, but people made it possible. In Greece a lot bribing goes on, whether it is with government, local, or private companies. This has become a normal thing to do in order to speed up services or obtain services one would not normally have. In Greece it is called “Fakelaki,” which means “little envelope,” it refers to bribery. If everyone is passing around money that is not being recorded, money not being taxed, money not being accounted for in the economy, what is eventually going to happen. So, can the citizens really say that they have not helped cause the current crisis?

The idea of dirty hands applied to Hobbes theory of the “State of Nature,” is when we act in a manner that involves extensive self-interest, it usually comes at the cost of others, even if they are acting in their own self-interest. Isn’t this what is happening in Greece. The government led the citizens to do what they want. So, say I do not have health care, I may find a doctor who lets me pay him under the table, and then it becomes a habit. That same doctor may be reporting low-income, so they can keep that money tax free. Everyone is out for themselves, looking for the best option for that person, not worrying about the potential consequences it can have on the country or any fellow citizen.

So, to conclude can one say the citizens are to blame for this economic crisis, or the government, or both. What are your thoughts on this “fakelaki,” does it even matter for the economy? If, A LOT of bribery went on in the United States, what do you think this will lead to? Are the Greeks acting in a “State of Nature?” Wherever the issue started, Greece is in a deficit, and it will take more than the citizens of Greece to pull them out of this because if Greece falls, this will create a domino effect on the European Union.



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