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Tuesday 5 November 2013

Still looking for sustainability..

Hello. I am Nicos, blogging again but.. tonight i feel like a writer !
Since i joined Coursera i am a little bit of everything and honestly, i love it.
I feel that life-long learning helps you complete a puzzle that can't be completed if you are not well prepared and ready to accomplish it.

At present, i study "English composition" and as the instuctor states, if you write then you are a writer.. Well, actually i am a blogger for about three years, blogging in Greek for whatever happens around me, critisizing governmental policies, local (district) issues happening in my municipality. Since last March i decided to share my knowledge in English. The bankrupcy of Cyprus was something i expected but since i have some answers for what happened i have to share this knowledge with people that might find the same problems in the future. Like the French..

Bankrupcy in the Eurozone countries is something that should be expected as norm due to the inequalities of the Euro-system. For example when Greece joined the Euro, was forced to devaluate the national currency by 15%. This was the start for the collapse of the whole Greek system due to an obvious fragility nobody analysed. They entered the Eurozone but kept the lending interest extremely high. Imagine that you are a company that produces jams in Greece. You have a bank loan with 10% interest rate. Now imagine your uncle who lives in Italy owes a factory that produces jam in Italy, working with a bank loan of 7%. And to make the case more ineresting your cousin who lives in Germany, works for a factory producing jam (WOW!) and they have a loan paying just 4% interest. You all are part of the Eurozone but someone is lucky to have a low interest and be more competetive! Well it's just a case study.. but.. it seems that the factory in Greece will start loosing clients due to lower cost prices in Cyprus and Italy. After a few years, the factory in Italy will start losing clients due to the fact that the German factory sells cheaper. Finally, the German factory will be the only one that sells the jams but.. the people will not be capable to buy jam since they are unemployed ! So... they import jam from Bulgaria. It's cheaper due to the currency difference.. Let's pause the case study for a while..

The first exersice of this class was to create my timeline and by creating my timeline, i realised that my life makes circles. In 1995 i went in Athens for studies. I wanted to become a political scientist. Actually, i remember that when i asked my school councellor, back in 1992, whether i should study political science she replied that it was the best study she could think for me. What a normal wannabe political scientist does? Well for me was to ask for a meeting with my favoured politician which was Antonis Samaras (back in 1995 he was a wannabe prime-minister..). I was happy the day i was finally meeting him. Big disappointment followed since i was informed that our appointment should be postponed due to a funeral of a lady. I couldn't understand why he had to go to the funeral or who the dead lady was.. As i realised a few days later that lady was one on the most powerful and respected newspaper editors in Athens. Eleni Vlachou was a legend in the country but.. a 19 old year boy, living far away never heard of her..

Days later, i finally met Antonis Samaras. I was amazed. He seemed a nice guy. I still believe he is. But.. after i started analysing the Greek political system i found out that you can't really change anything.. The system was so complicated designed that it was already half dead. It was too obvious that this system could never work so i decided to study but not to enter politics. That time the Albanians gained the priviledge to enter the Greek market and work. Greek businessmen could hire Albanians insted of Greeks and pay them lower wages due to the huge black labour market Greece had. Well.. eventually, this gave to the Albanian people money and sent Greek people to unemployment. Ten years later the same pattern was adopted in Cyprus. After entering the Eurozone, Cypriot employers could hire cheaper hands from Bulgaria and Romania. Those people came to Cyprus and entered every sector since they were cheaper labour. The same result happened to Cyprus. Cypriots were unemployed, they stopped spending and the system crashed.

As it appears nobody analysed what inequalities cause. The people designed the Eurozone hoped that they could achieve higher quality in living and education but... they forgot to create the proper legitimate system in order to make the vision successful. In countries where law is not respected, you have to expect a continuous downgrade. A downgrade that will be spread all around the rest of the same system countries.

I left Greece in 2007 knowing what will happen. In 2013 i decided to leave Cyprus and move to France.. Cyprus is dead because of those hidden inequalities no one wanted to fix. The stockmarket collapsed in 2001. Nobody wanted to discover why. That was a sign of corruption. The scandal was forgotten and nobody found guilty for the crime.. The bubble party moved to the real estate and the banking sector for a few more years.. BUT.. when you hide or backsupport the criminals, the crimes continues..

In Paris, i tried to contact the politicians i hoped they cared. This time, i was not so lucky. I got no appointment.. But.. i found a similar system, like in Athens and Nicosia. Inequalities in Paris are too obvious. Too expensive accomodation cost, expensive transportation, average salaries.  Is France the next victim of the domino effect? It is extremely possible.. Why? A significant explanation is because they have too many homeless people. As i saw in Athens, back in 1995, nobody cared for homeless people. Nobody cared to find a solution for them, a house, a bed, a way to make them useful again even in order to help them start spending again. Paris in 2013 gave me the same picture as Athens in 1995. Many people live in luxury, other just handle it roughly. But.. if you lose your job, you are just another homeless guy and nobody cares about you.
Last shock was the collapse of Fagor. This was something i couldn't really imagine of although it is part of the domino effect. Having no extra money, having no savings, you have no luxury to buy a new fridge.. So.. since a country can't give a solution to simple problems like finding solution for the homeless people, what will do in a more complex situation as the increase of unemployment?

Don't think of it.. Because it is a nightmare scenario.. In my experience, people without strategy and vision eventually lead to a mess. Especially the "leaders".. So.. It's the time to find a solution for the problems or.. the time to expect the upcoming nightmare..

* 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 hoping that some "leaders" will read it..

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