Friday, 3 July 2015

Greeks are expert beggars.

I read somewhere that if you try begging or busking in some of the smarter parts of London, you’re likely to be moved on by some heavies. And those heavies are not employed by the police or any other law enforcement agency: they are employed by cartels which have carved out the more lucrative busking locations between themselves. I.e. busking and begging can be profitable particularly in wealthy areas.

The song and dance made by Greeks about their alleged poverty has got most of the Western world fooled. But the song and dance doesn’t quite wash.

According to this source, Greek GDP per head (in real, i.e. inflation adjusted terms) while it has clearly fallen significantly over the last five years or so, has still not fallen to the level that pertained in the 1990s. So why wasn’t everyone screaming blue murder about Greek poverty then? Reason is that doing so wasn’t flavour of the month at that time. Fashion trumps logic every time.

Moreover, Greece is in the top 25% of countries on the GDP per head scale. Why is Greece getting ten times as much sympathy as the 75% of countries which are below Greece on that scale?

In short, Greeks have worked out that rather than earn your keep, it can be much more profitable to locate yourself in a rich area and then broadcast sob stories about your allged poverty relative to others in that area, just like those buskers in London.

In the case of Greece, the begging does not of course take the form of straight demands for cash: that’s too crude and too obviously a form of begging. Much better to “borrow”, second blow the money, and third blame everyone but yourself when you can’t repay the money.


P.S. For a Financial Times article along roughly similar lines to the above, see here.

1 comment:

  1. "So why wasn’t everyone screaming blue murder about Greek poverty then?"

    In the nineties Greece's unemployment rate wasn't 25%, its youth unemployment rate wasn't over 50%, its debt to GDP ratio wasn't off the charts, it had its own currency and was able to manage its economy in a way that suited it and was not subject to EU and specifically Germany's machinations.

    Greece has made many mistakes, but the major problem is the EZ, not Greece.


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