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Wednesday 23 October 2013

Managing failure..

Failure is something totally acceptable in life. Everyday, we fail in short term or long term period due to wrond decisions we take. They say that every failure teaches you how to become more successful. I believe it's more than correct because it gives you the wisdom to avoid the past mistakes. Failure for some other is a choice and a tradition. Analyzing the Greek Public sector, i remember that you could never find a solution on any of your problems. They never had a solution, so they were continuously creating more complex problems until they collapsed.

As an undergraduate student, i was studying at a University where you could finally earn a worthless paper. Nobody could find a serious job since nobody believed in the study we had chosen to follow. I used to say that i earned an extra toilet paper, although deeply inside of me i felt that i chose the most important studies of the world! If you can separate the difference between studying and buying the paper, you can predict the future of the countries and the whole political system as well. If you study and search for mistakes, inequalities and failure, you can finally understand what goes wrong, what must be changed, what will happen if not..

Cyprus never invested in lifelong studies or strategies, as well. As a postgraduate student, i was lucky and cursed to live the same issues once again, studying a new subject, just to spend my money in an institution that focused on increasing the number of alumni but not the critical mind. Very few really got the message of what they were studying. The majority (many of them coming from the public sector..) took an extra degree to get an extra increase in their salary. Nobody could see the upcoming bubble they were part of except myself and few others. Many are facing unemployment right now due to the perfect storm they caused..

A simple example of the creating bubbles was what happened in the banking sector in the recent years. Banks used to give extremely high deposit interest and ask even higher for the loans. Every depositor seemed to earn a good profit but the truth was that the banks had no healty sector to put all these deposits. The same time, the borrowers (mostly the companies) lost every competitive advantage they may had since every other company within the EU had lower borrowing costs. Imagine a pasta factory in Germany working with 3% loan interest, a Cypriot one working with 9% interest and a Greek one working with 12% interest. All of  them in euros, one currency with different interests! The result ? Someone will bankrupt shortly, a second one after a while and somebody will remain and sell their production all over Europe. That is what is really going on in the Eurozone today.. But how many do they get it ? Even after the domino effect that make the countries collapse..

Transparency is the major key for solution, among with innovation and entrepreneurship, for the success of the European idea. Wherever there is transparency (mostly in Northern Europe..) people live in prosperity or even better than the Souths. The absence of transparency is a sign that you should avoid this organization, company, sector or even, country. Cyprus chose anything else than transparency. Cyprus collapsed  because their leaders chose to remain to the past practices. If any other countries will follow the same strategy, we know the result.. Simple maths..

As an Erasmus student i now realize the European failure much more. A northern student is capable to come to Paris and rent an apartment for 1000. A southern one, comes only with the Erasmus grant (and only if given on time..) and few extra money. The first one is capable to remain because the cost is almost the same as in his country, the second one might have to leave due to the higher cost of living he finds here. Europe still has no strategy for the inequalities within as Greece and Paris have no strategy for their homeless people. If you can't or don't want to find a proper solution, the problem still exists and increases..European Union is closer to the separation as long as the national leaders don't realize what all these inequalities cause. Starting to find solutions for the homeless people and the Erasmus students might be the first step..

* Nicos Rafidhias, is a corporate consultant. He studied political science and international affairs and continues studying business administration. He is a member of the Cyprus Green Party and his personal positions are given to the party’s committees of Commerce and Tourism, Transportation, Communication and Finance. This article was written in Paris, hoping that some leaders will read it..