Tuesday, 30 June 2015

So if Greece defaults today

what will happen next? I don't know. I don't have a crystal economic/social ball with which to see the future.
But, I do know some things.
My sister, Middle Cat, married into the Greek-Cypriot community. Her husband's parents came from Cyprus. Her mother-in-law is no longer with us. Her father-in-law is in a nursing home. They came from "peasant" stock. Her husband's paternal grandfather was a shepherd. 
Middle Cat's father-in-law came to Australia when he was sixteen. He came alone. He worked hard. He brought out his brothers and sisters and then his parents...one by one as he could afford to do it. He built up a green grocery and then a fish and chip shop. The latter was so successful that there would, quite literally, be a queue around the corner on Friday and Saturday evenings. He worked hard. His wife worked hard. They made the most of opportunities they made for themselves.
Their children went on to higher education and so have their children - my nephews and their cousins. There's now a doctor, a lawyer, two accountants, an engineer - and soon, an optometrist and a psychologist in the next generation. They have worked hard and  made the most of their opportunities.
It is said that the largest Greek-speaking population in a city outside Athens is not in Greece but in Australia - in Melbourne. A lot of Greeks migrated there. Many of them have done extremely well. They worked hard. They own property and businesses. They are shopkeepers and factory bosses. They are professionals and private enterprise people. 
Some of them are anxiously watching the Greek drama being played out because they have property and business interests in Greece as well. There are people who import from Greece and export to Greece. It is not, in terms of the national economy, a large amount of business - about $270m - but it will impact hard on people who have worked hard.
The entire population of Greece is less than half the population of Australia. Greece has no natural resources. The geography makes it incredibly difficult and expensive to govern. It depends almost entirely on tourism. It's a mess. 
I have said elsewhere in this blog that I believe the Olympics should be returned permanently to Greece. It would be a source of income. It would bring more tourists in. It won't happen. 
But perhaps the biggest problem of all is not Greece and not what happens to the Greek people. It is what happens to the EU and the euro. Perhaps Britain knew what it was doing when it retained the pound? I don't know.
What I do know is that there are Greeks and Greek-Cypriots and their descendants whom I love. I don't want to see them hurt. 



jeanfromcornwall said...

I know next to nothing about the Greeks and their finances. What I do know is that we have a radio journlist in this country who is often referred to as "The Rottweiler", whom politicians hate to meet,because he is so determined to cut through the waffle and get to the truth. On Sunday he wrote an article in the one of the most respected papers, saying, to summarise, "It is not the fault of the Greeks." I am just so grateful that the people in charge when we so nearly joined the Euro, were just suspicious enough to hold us back from it.

catdownunder said...

I note the Danes did the same thing - and I suspect it may have been the right decision.
No, it is not the fault of the Greek people.