Live Like The Greeks!

In a show on Radio 4, an incident that took place in a recent conference in Europe was mentioned. In the conference, a German minister explained how they had to work hard on different professional levels to make the money that they have been paying to try and bail Greece out. He went on about how his people had to also pay for it through taxes, denying them from proper government spending. As a reply to that, a Greek minister stood up and commented with joy: “You gave us the money, and we spent it. If you happen to give us more money, we will also spend it!”  It was as simple as that and it was, as perceived by the audience, the awesome Greek way of living versus the hard-working German way of living.

As I recall, the European Union was once discussed in one of my MBA classes, almost a year ago. The professor talked about the reasons behind such a union to be formed and why does it need to be protected. He then pointed out the fact that there is no such thing as an exit clause. That is, when you have met all of the requirements to actually join the union; -which are not easy to meet if you ask Turkey- you sign a few documents in which none says “Termination of Contract”. So the whole union have been planned and set in a way that there is only one rough way in, but no way out at all. In the case of Greece, going bankrupt might be a good exit strategy, right after draining Europe’s resources and shaking its economies the Greek way!

What is deemed to be one of the important sections of a successful business plan? Well, look for the exit strategy. And it is quite interesting to know that this has not been included in the agreement to join the EU. A question here to be asked is: was this a fool’s mistake or something planned and accounted for? Some might argue that it is tough to join the union because  it’s a commitment to protect that can exist longer than marriage, but with no such concepts as “divorce” and “splitting assets”. Others argue that it only defeats the purpose of creating a union if countries were allowed to leave as they wished. So can they leave if they can’t pay their bills anymore? Or can they leave if they undermine the common currency among the EU countries? In such a case, they should only envy Great Britain.

In conclusion, no one can predict how long the EU is going to hold itself together. Right now, there are about 7 out of 27 countries who are either bankrupt or close to being bankrupt. If Greece is to leave the union, perhaps by Middle Eastern divorce, it will still have to work hard to promote its real estate and tourism markets to gain investors trust. It will have to work even harder if it is to empower its local currency, the mighty Drachmas, which might require more than just praying to the “Titans”. Ironically, when Europe suffers from the financial crisis and Greek debts; African countries seem to have escaped the crisis by spending what they make and saving what remains, just like in the good old days. Hence, if you ask me, I would say “save like the Africans, and live like the Greeks!”