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Author Topic: Impact of Greece's insolvency on Constantinople  (Read 1685 times) Average Rating: 0
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Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)
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« on: September 15, 2010, 10:21:48 AM »

Jujst read a fascinating and deeply troubling article in Vanity Fair, "Beware of Greeks Bearing Bonds." In this (long but well written) article, the author makes a great deal of the alleged problems/involvement of the Vatopaidi Monastery on the current fiscal crisis in Greece. However, the main issue here is that, IF TRUE, Greece may not survive as a viable modern state. If the depiction of the Greek citizens is anywhere accurate (selfish, tax-evading, wanting something for nothing), then the country is in trouble. I lived in Southern Italy and saw the same sort of alienation, where cheating on taxes was a national pastime, corruption was rampant, and the government was The Enemy. Mind you, I am not terribly happy with this sort of phenomenon anywhere, including this country. Nonetheless, it seems to me that the importance of the "diaspora" becomes critical to Constantinople if the Great Church can no longer reliably count on Greece. I have been saying for a long time that the Patriarchate is in an existential crisis; this is bound to exacerbate it and influence inter-Orthodox relations.

http://www.vanityfair.com/business/features/2010/10/greeks-bearing-bonds-201010

« Last Edit: September 15, 2010, 10:22:24 AM by Second Chance » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2010, 11:28:40 AM »

Well, evading taxes, seeing the government as "the enemy" (or at least, as a perfect stranger) is nowhere as bad as you think.
Italy and Greece (and most countries around there ) are countries where the extended family and friends come first and where a generally benign form of nepotism has been in place for a very long time. Putting one's (extended) family's interests before the Government is hardly evil.
The problem the Western  pundits ( despicable propagandists for large corporations usually) seem to have with these  cultures is that they haven't completely, sincerely and enthusiastically   joined the bandwagon of globalization with the right course of thinking and action this pre-supposes.
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« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2010, 11:40:46 AM »

Well, evading taxes, seeing the government as "the enemy" (or at least, as a perfect stranger) is nowhere as bad as you think.
Italy and Greece (and most countries around there ) are countries where the extended family and friends come first and where a generally benign form of nepotism has been in place for a very long time. Putting one's (extended) family's interests before the Government is hardly evil.
The problem the Western  pundits ( despicable propagandists for large corporations usually) seem to have with these  cultures is that they haven't completely, sincerely and enthusiastically   joined the bandwagon of globalization with the right course of thinking and action this pre-supposes.

Putting one's interests (including family) before the government's is indeed not evil; I would venture to say that it is a good thing. What is happening in Southern Italy (and perhaps in Greece) is different: it is not a mater of putting one's interests first, it is a matter of completely disregarding one's responsibilities as a member of a community, of a nation. In any case, that is not my main point. I would like to explore what happens, if Greece is no longer a viable supporter of the Constantinople Patriarchate.
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« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2010, 02:01:43 PM »

I read the article as well. What I gathered from it was that. The Vatopaidi monastery had negotiated a land swap with the Greek government. The monastery owned a useless lake and swapped it with the government for a parcel of land that has a real market value of over 1 billion plus euro. Not including the annual rental revenue. angel The foreign bankers and some citizens were fit to be tied over it. Claiming that corruption was involved in the swap. The abbot of the Vatopaidi monastery called it a miracle. laugh I happen to agree.
As far as borrowing is concerned. There have always bin inherent risks to the practice. That is what makes it so profitable on the banking side. Now if you can't handle those risks you shouldn't be in the game. When the central banks raised borrowing costs as an extortion measure. They should have known that banks, governments and people will be at risk of default. When people are pressured into a corner. They usually tend to lash back. I think this is evidence of that.
 
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« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2010, 05:07:23 PM »

I read the article as well. What I gathered from it was that. The Vatopaidi monastery had negotiated a land swap with the Greek government. The monastery owned a useless lake and swapped it with the government for a parcel of land that has a real market value of over 1 billion plus euro. Not including the annual rental revenue. angel The foreign bankers and some citizens were fit to be tied over it. Claiming that corruption was involved in the swap. The abbot of the Vatopaidi monastery called it a miracle. laugh I happen to agree.
As far as borrowing is concerned. There have always bin inherent risks to the practice. That is what makes it so profitable on the banking side. Now if you can't handle those risks you shouldn't be in the game. When the central banks raised borrowing costs as an extortion measure. They should have known that banks, governments and people will be at risk of default. When people are pressured into a corner. They usually tend to lash back. I think this is evidence of that.
 

I understand what you are saying. The article's main thesis however is the follwong summary intro statement "...beyond a $1.2 trillion debt (roughly a quarter-million dollars for each working adult), there is a more frightening deficit. After systematically looting their own treasury, in a breathtaking binge of tax evasion, bribery, and creative accounting spurred on by Goldman Sachs, Greeks are sure of one thing: they can’t trust their fellow Greeks." The problem is not bad banking practices (in fact the article finds the Greek banks to be blameless). The indicated problem is not even the dealings of the Vatopaidi Monastery. The problem is more fundamental, more indicative of a failing nation, of a third world country. That is what I am trying to understand. In Italy, the Southerners were counterbalanced by the Northerners. In the USA, the red counties counterbalance the red counties. Is there a counterbalance in Greece to what the author describes?
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« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2010, 05:47:55 PM »

Well, evading taxes, seeing the government as "the enemy" (or at least, as a perfect stranger) is nowhere as bad as you think.
Italy and Greece (and most countries around there ) are countries where the extended family and friends come first and where a generally benign form of nepotism has been in place for a very long time. Putting one's (extended) family's interests before the Government is hardly evil.
The problem the Western  pundits ( despicable propagandists for large corporations usually) seem to have with these  cultures is that they haven't completely, sincerely and enthusiastically   joined the bandwagon of globalization with the right course of thinking and action this pre-supposes.
Putting one's family's interests before the government is fine. Putting the government at the disposal of your family's interests is quite another.  And it happens in the West: Chicago is a classic example where the public treasury is appropriated as the family purse.

As for it being evil, just look how deep things descend into hell as the fallout.
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« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2010, 08:23:55 PM »

Well I am sure it will not be helpful to the Patriarchates.  However, I am not sure that the USA is in much better shape. The total debt per citizen is $174,000 per citizen (including children and the elderly). That being said this may be a blessing in disguise. Churches should be independent and self sufficient.
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« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2010, 09:27:46 PM »

I really enjoyed reading the article. Thanks for posting it.
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« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2010, 11:14:33 AM »

I read the article as well. What I gathered from it was that. The Vatopaidi monastery had negotiated a land swap with the Greek government. The monastery owned a useless lake and swapped it with the government for a parcel of land that has a real market value of over 1 billion plus euro. Not including the annual rental revenue. angel The foreign bankers and some citizens were fit to be tied over it. Claiming that corruption was involved in the swap. The abbot of the Vatopaidi monastery called it a miracle. laugh I happen to agree.
As far as borrowing is concerned. There have always bin inherent risks to the practice. That is what makes it so profitable on the banking side. Now if you can't handle those risks you shouldn't be in the game. When the central banks raised borrowing costs as an extortion measure. They should have known that banks, governments and people will be at risk of default. When people are pressured into a corner. They usually tend to lash back. I think this is evidence of that.
 

I understand what you are saying. The article's main thesis however is the follwong summary intro statement "...beyond a $1.2 trillion debt (roughly a quarter-million dollars for each working adult), there is a more frightening deficit. After systematically looting their own treasury, in a breathtaking binge of tax evasion, bribery, and creative accounting spurred on by Goldman Sachs, Greeks are sure of one thing: they can’t trust their fellow Greeks." The problem is not bad banking practices (in fact the article finds the Greek banks to be blameless). The indicated problem is not even the dealings of the Vatopaidi Monastery. The problem is more fundamental, more indicative of a failing nation, of a third world country. That is what I am trying to understand. In Italy, the Southerners were counterbalanced by the Northerners. In the USA, the red counties counterbalance the red counties. Is there a counterbalance in Greece to what the author describes?

      These problems happen in every advanced economy. The phenomena is called hedging. A practice of finding ways of deferring debt. Or taxation. A practice of taking more from there citizens to pay for there political policy or mishaps. Calling Greece a third world county is very far from the truth. Greece's economy is quite advanced and no different than here. Everybody dislikes paying taxes. Including Americans. Unlike Greece, The American government is at the verge of putting an EZ pass on our wives underwear and above our home entrances. Shocked Not so in Greece because people still have the power to up rise and stop it. The funny thing is that there is such a fundamental difference in Ideology here. That people in the states today are alone and let there government trample all over them. The middle class no longer have a voice. A permit is needed to even picket and who issues that permit but the very same government that you want to picket. Roll Eyes People no longer speak with one voice. You do as your told or else. Sounds familiar? There is so much segregation that nothing for the greater good can happen. Everything is locked up in legislation. The Middle classes are over taxed and have the burden of feeding, housing and the medical needs of their families plus the poor and rich in this county. Who are taken care of so well. That work will never be an option for either class. In Greeks on the other hand. People usually own there homes outright. Most don't pay any real-estate taxes. That means they really own there homes. They have the power to close off major highways to get there way. A real democracy. When you say Greece is falling your quite wrong. It's the foreign lenders that are at risk. Those counties that choose to indulge in the practice and sin of usury will most likely lose out. You see, by letting Mathematicians like those employed by Goldman to run there counties into unprecedented debt. With there way of creative financing that is at the heart of world economies and the current situation in the world. The real bubble is mounting debt. It will ultimately come to a head. Lord, have mercy on those who will witness it.
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« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2010, 03:13:19 PM »

I do hope that you are right. I've got to point out that I am only asking questions; other folks are saying the negative things about Greece. For example:

- Our people went in and couldn’t believe what they found,” a senior I.M.F. official told me, not long after he’d returned from the I.M.F.’s first Greek mission. “The way they were keeping track of their finances—they knew how much they had agreed to spend, but no one was keeping track of what he had actually spent. It wasn’t even what you would call an emerging economy. It was a Third World country.

- In just the past decade the wage bill of the Greek public sector has doubled, in real terms—and that number doesn’t take into account the bribes collected by public officials. The average government job pays almost three times the average private-sector job.

- The national railroad has annual revenues of 100 million euros against an annual wage bill of 400 million, plus 300 million euros in other expenses. The average state railroad employee earns 65,000 euros a year. Twenty years ago a successful businessman turned minister of finance named Stefanos Manos pointed out that it would be cheaper to put all Greece’s rail passengers into taxicabs: it’s still true. “We have a railroad company which is bankrupt beyond comprehension,” Manos put it to me. “And yet there isn’t a single private company in Greece with that kind of average pay.”

- The Greek public-school system is the site of breathtaking inefficiency: one of the lowest-ranked systems in Europe, it nonetheless employs four times as many teachers per pupil as the highest-ranked, Finland’s. Greeks who send their children to public schools simply assume that they will need to hire private tutors to make sure they actually learn something.

- There are three government-owned defense companies: together they have billions of euros in debts, and mounting losses.

- The retirement age for Greek jobs classified as “arduous” is as early as 55 for men and 50 for women. As this is also the moment when the state begins to shovel out generous pensions, more than 600 Greek professions somehow managed to get themselves classified as arduous: hairdressers, radio announcers, waiters, musicians, and on and on and on.

- The Greek public health-care system spends far more on supplies than the European average—and it is not uncommon, several Greeks tell me, to see nurses and doctors leaving the job with their arms filled with paper towels and diapers and whatever else they can plunder from the supply closets.

And, the above quotations from the article are merely a portion of the charges brought against Greece and her citizens by the writer. Just by themselves, the above charges (if true) show a nation that is not truly serious about its future, and that it is a nation of takers and not givers, and a failing economy and civic sector. I can say the same thing about many other countries but I would like to keep this out of the Politics forum, if possible. The issue here is what is down the road and what is the impact on the Patriarchate.

Incidentally, I can tell you from first-hand observation that during the Communist era the people of Bulgaria were also quite materialistic and concerned only about themselves. Interestingly, the Bulgarians I knew outside Bulgaria were not like that. I can similarly attest that the Greeks that I know in the United States are not like the Greeks depicted in the article either.
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« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2010, 04:32:30 PM »

I am merely pointing out that there is always two sides to a story. The view point you are reading from may be a bias one. In that it is depicting god fearing Christians as villains and money hungry investors as saints. One has to read between the lines to see that the people of Greece are the actual victims in all this.
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« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2010, 06:15:06 PM »

I am merely pointing out that there is always two sides to a story. The view point you are reading from may be a bias one. In that it is depicting god fearing Christians as villains and money hungry investors as saints. One has to read between the lines to see that the people of Greece are the actual victims in all this.

I pray that you are right. And yet we have news stories of "strikers" starting fires and murdering people inside those buildings. Imagine burned alive by fellow Greeks, who then blame the victims. May be this story is a lie. But, in the story above, did anyone force the hairdressers and the radio announcers to get themselves classified as working in "arduous" professions so that they could get much higher retirement benefits? Did anyone force health workers to steal supplies? Did anyone force anyone to pay or to accept bribes? All of these things are done by people who are not victims but who victimize the entire body politic. One final question: Whose money is now going to the Greek people? It cannot be Greek money; no, it is European Union money--that is the money paid in taxes by the French, Germans and others that is funneled to Greece. In this scenario, who are the victims? Or rather, who are the takers and who are the givers?
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« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2010, 08:59:11 AM »

I am merely pointing out that there is always two sides to a story. The view point you are reading from may be a bias one. In that it is depicting god fearing Christians as villains and money hungry investors as saints. One has to read between the lines to see that the people of Greece are the actual victims in all this.

I pray that you are right. And yet we have news stories of "strikers" starting fires and murdering people inside those buildings. Imagine burned alive by fellow Greeks, who then blame the victims. May be this story is a lie. But, in the story above, did anyone force the hairdressers and the radio announcers to get themselves classified as working in "arduous" professions so that they could get much higher retirement benefits? Did anyone force health workers to steal supplies? Did anyone force anyone to pay or to accept bribes? All of these things are done by people who are not victims but who victimize the entire body politic. One final question: Whose money is now going to the Greek people? It cannot be Greek money; no, it is European Union money--that is the money paid in taxes by the French, Germans and others that is funneled to Greece. In this scenario, who are the victims? Or rather, who are the takers and who are the givers?

The Germans and French are protecting there investments in Greece. Do you really think that people are that giving? If they were hunger in Africa would be eradicated long before Greece is help out. Don't give me that BS. When there is a leak in the roof you fix it. Or else the whole house will eventually fall. Protecting your investment is hardly noble cause. Lips Sealed
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« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2010, 10:29:05 AM »

I am merely pointing out that there is always two sides to a story. The view point you are reading from may be a bias one. In that it is depicting god fearing Christians as villains and money hungry investors as saints. One has to read between the lines to see that the people of Greece are the actual victims in all this.

I pray that you are right. And yet we have news stories of "strikers" starting fires and murdering people inside those buildings. Imagine burned alive by fellow Greeks, who then blame the victims. May be this story is a lie. But, in the story above, did anyone force the hairdressers and the radio announcers to get themselves classified as working in "arduous" professions so that they could get much higher retirement benefits? Did anyone force health workers to steal supplies? Did anyone force anyone to pay or to accept bribes? All of these things are done by people who are not victims but who victimize the entire body politic. One final question: Whose money is now going to the Greek people? It cannot be Greek money; no, it is European Union money--that is the money paid in taxes by the French, Germans and others that is funneled to Greece. In this scenario, who are the victims? Or rather, who are the takers and who are the givers?

The Germans and French are protecting there investments in Greece. Do you really think that people are that giving? If they were hunger in Africa would be eradicated long before Greece is help out. Don't give me that BS. When there is a leak in the roof you fix it. Or else the whole house will eventually fall. Protecting your investment is hardly noble cause. Lips Sealed

True enough. Yet, I cannot help thinking that there is a moral to the story of the ant and the grasshopper.
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« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2010, 11:15:52 AM »

I am merely pointing out that there is always two sides to a story. The view point you are reading from may be a bias one. In that it is depicting god fearing Christians as villains and money hungry investors as saints. One has to read between the lines to see that the people of Greece are the actual victims in all this.

I pray that you are right. And yet we have news stories of "strikers" starting fires and murdering people inside those buildings. Imagine burned alive by fellow Greeks, who then blame the victims. May be this story is a lie. But, in the story above, did anyone force the hairdressers and the radio announcers to get themselves classified as working in "arduous" professions so that they could get much higher retirement benefits? Did anyone force health workers to steal supplies? Did anyone force anyone to pay or to accept bribes? All of these things are done by people who are not victims but who victimize the entire body politic. One final question: Whose money is now going to the Greek people? It cannot be Greek money; no, it is European Union money--that is the money paid in taxes by the French, Germans and others that is funneled to Greece. In this scenario, who are the victims? Or rather, who are the takers and who are the givers?

The Germans and French are protecting there investments in Greece. Do you really think that people are that giving? If they were hunger in Africa would be eradicated long before Greece is help out. Don't give me that BS. When there is a leak in the roof you fix it. Or else the whole house will eventually fall. Protecting your investment is hardly noble cause. Lips Sealed

True enough. Yet, I cannot help thinking that there is a moral to the story of the ant and the grasshopper.

The grasshopper is blessed in this part of the world because of those mild winters he tends not to freeze. Wink Grin
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« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2010, 01:54:58 PM »

I am merely pointing out that there is always two sides to a story. The view point you are reading from may be a bias one. In that it is depicting god fearing Christians as villains and money hungry investors as saints. One has to read between the lines to see that the people of Greece are the actual victims in all this.

I pray that you are right. And yet we have news stories of "strikers" starting fires and murdering people inside those buildings. Imagine burned alive by fellow Greeks, who then blame the victims. May be this story is a lie. But, in the story above, did anyone force the hairdressers and the radio announcers to get themselves classified as working in "arduous" professions so that they could get much higher retirement benefits? Did anyone force health workers to steal supplies? Did anyone force anyone to pay or to accept bribes? All of these things are done by people who are not victims but who victimize the entire body politic. One final question: Whose money is now going to the Greek people? It cannot be Greek money; no, it is European Union money--that is the money paid in taxes by the French, Germans and others that is funneled to Greece. In this scenario, who are the victims? Or rather, who are the takers and who are the givers?

The Germans and French are protecting there investments in Greece. Do you really think that people are that giving? If they were hunger in Africa would be eradicated long before Greece is help out. Don't give me that BS. When there is a leak in the roof you fix it. Or else the whole house will eventually fall. Protecting your investment is hardly noble cause. Lips Sealed

True enough. Yet, I cannot help thinking that there is a moral to the story of the ant and the grasshopper.

The grasshopper is blessed in this part of the world because of those mild winters he tends not to freeze. Wink Grin

Of course! But the irony is that the original author is supposed to be a compatriot, Aesop, whose story ends variable with "Idleness brings want", "To work today is to eat tomorrow",  or "Prepare for want before it comes". This moral is also echoed in Proverbs 6:6-9: "Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you slumber, O sluggard!" My version of the moral of the story is that one cannot eat the cake and have it. I am afraid that not only the Greeks but many others are guilty of violating this moral.
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« Reply #16 on: September 18, 2010, 06:57:42 PM »

I am merely pointing out that there is always two sides to a story. The view point you are reading from may be a bias one. In that it is depicting god fearing Christians as villains and money hungry investors as saints. One has to read between the lines to see that the people of Greece are the actual victims in all this.

I pray that you are right. And yet we have news stories of "strikers" starting fires and murdering people inside those buildings. Imagine burned alive by fellow Greeks, who then blame the victims. May be this story is a lie. But, in the story above, did anyone force the hairdressers and the radio announcers to get themselves classified as working in "arduous" professions so that they could get much higher retirement benefits? Did anyone force health workers to steal supplies? Did anyone force anyone to pay or to accept bribes? All of these things are done by people who are not victims but who victimize the entire body politic. One final question: Whose money is now going to the Greek people? It cannot be Greek money; no, it is European Union money--that is the money paid in taxes by the French, Germans and others that is funneled to Greece. In this scenario, who are the victims? Or rather, who are the takers and who are the givers?

The Germans and French are protecting there investments in Greece. Do you really think that people are that giving? If they were hunger in Africa would be eradicated long before Greece is help out. Don't give me that BS. When there is a leak in the roof you fix it. Or else the whole house will eventually fall. Protecting your investment is hardly noble cause. Lips Sealed

True enough. Yet, I cannot help thinking that there is a moral to the story of the ant and the grasshopper.

The grasshopper is blessed in this part of the world because of those mild winters he tends not to freeze. Wink Grin

Of course! But the irony is that the original author is supposed to be a compatriot, Aesop, whose story ends variable with "Idleness brings want", "To work today is to eat tomorrow",  or "Prepare for want before it comes". This moral is also echoed in Proverbs 6:6-9: "Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you slumber, O sluggard!" My version of the moral of the story is that one cannot eat the cake and have it. I am afraid that not only the Greeks but many others are guilty of violating this moral.
I'm sorry but I'm just wondering. Why you are stereotyping Greeks as leeches based on a single article written with bias? You couldn't be farther from the truth because I know plenty of very hard working Greek families. I just can't believe how you would choose to believe a person you don't even know and agree with him without exploring it first hand. Than choosing to confront me based on his opinion and not yours. I hope that you are aware of your errors in judgment base on someones gossip. Maybe in the future we should look to ourselves first before choosing to bad mouth others.
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« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2010, 10:11:45 AM »

I am merely pointing out that there is always two sides to a story. The view point you are reading from may be a bias one. In that it is depicting god fearing Christians as villains and money hungry investors as saints. One has to read between the lines to see that the people of Greece are the actual victims in all this.

I pray that you are right. And yet we have news stories of "strikers" starting fires and murdering people inside those buildings. Imagine burned alive by fellow Greeks, who then blame the victims. May be this story is a lie. But, in the story above, did anyone force the hairdressers and the radio announcers to get themselves classified as working in "arduous" professions so that they could get much higher retirement benefits? Did anyone force health workers to steal supplies? Did anyone force anyone to pay or to accept bribes? All of these things are done by people who are not victims but who victimize the entire body politic. One final question: Whose money is now going to the Greek people? It cannot be Greek money; no, it is European Union money--that is the money paid in taxes by the French, Germans and others that is funneled to Greece. In this scenario, who are the victims? Or rather, who are the takers and who are the givers?

The Germans and French are protecting there investments in Greece. Do you really think that people are that giving? If they were hunger in Africa would be eradicated long before Greece is help out. Don't give me that BS. When there is a leak in the roof you fix it. Or else the whole house will eventually fall. Protecting your investment is hardly noble cause. Lips Sealed

True enough. Yet, I cannot help thinking that there is a moral to the story of the ant and the grasshopper.

The grasshopper is blessed in this part of the world because of those mild winters he tends not to freeze. Wink Grin

Of course! But the irony is that the original author is supposed to be a compatriot, Aesop, whose story ends variable with "Idleness brings want", "To work today is to eat tomorrow",  or "Prepare for want before it comes". This moral is also echoed in Proverbs 6:6-9: "Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you slumber, O sluggard!" My version of the moral of the story is that one cannot eat the cake and have it. I am afraid that not only the Greeks but many others are guilty of violating this moral.
I'm sorry but I'm just wondering. Why you are stereotyping Greeks as leeches based on a single article written with bias? You couldn't be farther from the truth because I know plenty of very hard working Greek families. I just can't believe how you would choose to believe a person you don't even know and agree with him without exploring it first hand. Than choosing to confront me based on his opinion and not yours. I hope that you are aware of your errors in judgment base on someones gossip. Maybe in the future we should look to ourselves first before choosing to bad mouth others.

Fair enough. I think that you do deserve honest answers to your questions, as I understand them.

Why did I bring this out? It is relevant to many issues: (1) The survival of the Patriarchate of Constantinople; (2) Inter-jurisdictional relations in the so-called diaspora; (3) The EA process and autocephaly in this country; (4) The slow death of  Christian, and particularly Orthodox, nations in Europe due to their failure to reproduce themselves.

Why did I insist in carrying on a conversation with you? It seemed to me that you did not answer any of the specifics that was brought to the table by the author of this article. You must remember that I was always qualifying my statements and questions with "if this article is true." So, I did give you an opening; you could have rebutted any of these specifics. Instead, you launched a "every body does it, the foreign bankers tricked us, besides I am Greek and you should accept what I say as the truth" kind of response. You may have been 100% correct but it was hard to take your argument 100% seriously as I do not think that your arguments sufficiently disproved what the author was saying. So, I kept on probing to the point that I have obviously provoked a push back, of the "why are you picking on us when you look within yourself first" variety.

Am I picking on Greeks? If you reread my posts you will find numerous instances when I said such things as (a) I do not know any Greeks in the United States who act as the Greeks are depicted as acting in Greece; (b) made unflattering comparisons to Bulgarians in Bulgaria during the Communist dictatorship, to Southern Italy,  and to the take and give mentality that exists between blue and red counties in the United States. No, I am not picking on Greeks exclusively, although I do think that if the Greeks of Greece are as selfish and unconcerned about their nation as depicted in the article then there may be serious impacts on the Patriarchate of Constantinople, if not on the European Union and by consequence on the world economy.

I will reiterate one more time that not some but all of the Greek families that I know are hard working and not "leeches" (your term not mine). The question has never never been about with Greeks per se; the question has been solely about the residents of Greece, who are overwhelmingly Greek. By the way, lost in this discussion was the fact that the accusation of financial shenanigans against the leadership of the Vatopaidi Monastery was made by Greeks residing in Greece and that the author is sympathetic to them and implies that they are indeed innocent of any wrongdoing.

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« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2010, 12:03:27 PM »

       Something is wrong with the article in general as it's intent is to liberate the Greek government from it's responsibility by blaming it's people instead. Besides the journalist is way off here because the current government actually blames the previous one for the condition that it's in.
      You should also know that the survival of the Patriarchate of Constantinople isn't directly related to the survivability of the EU. Greece could withdraw from Eu membership and retain it's Sovereignty. Default is something Greece has made clear that it doesn't want to do. It's first choice is to protect EU investors but if pressed it can choose to withdraw and default on it's debt and revert back to the Drachma. For now it seems that the EU has back stopped Greece's debt so that default and withdraw most likely will not occur.

Quote
The question has never never been about with Greeks per se; the question has been solely about the residents of Greece, who are overwhelmingly Greek.

You should run for office with you're circular type comments. In any event. We are looking at a Patriarchate under Greek. Let's not say control as it seems a bit over the top. Heck, Let's just call it Monetary influence and leave it at that. Wink
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« Reply #19 on: September 20, 2010, 12:15:37 PM »

Why you are stereotyping Greeks as leeches based on a single article written with bias?

I'm sorry, this is just one of my pet peeves. You've done it a couple of times now, so I thought that it warranted comment.

Everything has bias. It is assumed. It is just not a bias that you like. There is no objective, removed perspective. Even in selecting content for discussion, you are deciding what is and is not important based upon what you prioritize. So please stop pointing out the "bias" of the article, or I'm going to have to start pointing out your bias. It's perfectly acceptable to delineate what the biases are and then argue against them, but to use the word in such a way implies that the fact that it has bias is a bad thing, when in fact all statements have bias.
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« Reply #20 on: September 20, 2010, 12:19:36 PM »

Well I am sure it will not be helpful to the Patriarchates.  However, I am not sure that the USA is in much better shape. The total debt per citizen is $174,000 per citizen (including children and the elderly). That being said this may be a blessing in disguise. Churches should be independent and self sufficient.

As of July 28, 2010 the national debt equates to $30,400 per person in the USA. You maybe confusing personal debt of individuals most of which have mortgages on their houses versus the debt of the country.
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« Reply #21 on: September 20, 2010, 01:07:56 PM »

Why you are stereotyping Greeks as leeches based on a single article written with bias?

I'm sorry, this is just one of my pet peeves. You've done it a couple of times now, so I thought that it warranted comment.

Everything has bias. It is assumed. It is just not a bias that you like. There is no objective, removed perspective. Even in selecting content for discussion, you are deciding what is and is not important based upon what you prioritize. So please stop pointing out the "bias" of the article, or I'm going to have to start pointing out your bias. It's perfectly acceptable to delineate what the biases are and then argue against them, but to use the word in such a way implies that the fact that it has bias is a bad thing, when in fact all statements have bias.

There is truth to that statement only under certain conditions. Under scrutiny it falls apart quite quickly. One who is choosing must have more than one to choose from. One choice equals no choice at all. As it eliminates the competition. So there friend, your pet peeve has bin solved.
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« Reply #22 on: September 20, 2010, 04:38:45 PM »

In Italy, the Southerners were counterbalanced by the Northerners. In the USA, the red counties counterbalance the red counties. Is there a counterbalance in Greece to what the author describes?

There is also a part of Greece that offers counterbalance... it's called Deutschland.  Grin


Why you are stereotyping Greeks as leeches based on a single article written with bias?

I'm sorry, this is just one of my pet peeves. You've done it a couple of times now, so I thought that it warranted comment.

Everything has bias. It is assumed. It is just not a bias that you like. There is no objective, removed perspective. Even in selecting content for discussion, you are deciding what is and is not important based upon what you prioritize. So please stop pointing out the "bias" of the article, or I'm going to have to start pointing out your bias. It's perfectly acceptable to delineate what the biases are and then argue against them, but to use the word in such a way implies that the fact that it has bias is a bad thing, when in fact all statements have bias.

I agree with you completely.  However, you are wrong in this case because journalists pretend like they are somehow above bias and what they report is fact.  So it is not assumed and it's completely warranted to point out that a so-called journalist is biased in his so-called reporting and is not to be taken as fact.


Incidentally, I can tell you from first-hand observation that during the Communist era the people of Bulgaria were also quite materialistic and concerned only about themselves. Interestingly, the Bulgarians I knew outside Bulgaria were not like that. I can similarly attest that the Greeks that I know in the United States are not like the Greeks depicted in the article either.

Do you notice a pattern?

What modern day Greece simply proves one more time, as if more proof is needed, is that socialism does not work.



Well I am sure it will not be helpful to the Patriarchates.  However, I am not sure that the USA is in much better shape. The total debt per citizen is $174,000 per citizen (including children and the elderly). That being said this may be a blessing in disguise. Churches should be independent and self sufficient.

As of July 28, 2010 the national debt equates to $30,400 per person in the USA. You maybe confusing personal debt of individuals most of which have mortgages on their houses versus the debt of the country.

According to http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/ the national debt is $43,606.77 per person in the US.

Greece has about $400-billion in debt so that's under $35,000 per person.


The $1.2-trillion figure in the article includes $800-billion in supposed underfunded pensions.  But even $1.2-trillion works out to $100,000 a person.  Greeks have been racking up personal debt lately but very few people have mortgages.

In the US if you included unfunded liabilities of social security and medicare plus state debts the numbers go off the charts.  I've seen all sorts of numbers so who knows what is real and what is not.

The simple fact is Greece is a small insignificant player.  If a state like California goes under, then we're all in trouble.


Why did I bring this out? It is relevant to many issues: (1) The survival of the Patriarchate of Constantinople; (2) Inter-jurisdictional relations in the so-called diaspora; (3) The EA process and autocephaly in this country; (4) The slow death of  Christian, and particularly Orthodox, nations in Europe due to their failure to reproduce themselves.

I honestly don't see how this article or even the financial situation of the Greek gov't is relevant to any issue you point out.

I keep reading on this forum about how much money the Greek gov't gives the EP but nobody provides any figures.  So what is the EP's budget?  How much is that directly from the Greek gov't?
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« Reply #23 on: September 20, 2010, 04:41:47 PM »

Oh and I forgot about the article, it's a stupid article that jumps all over the place and basically says nothing and tries to connect imaginary dots.  It could have been so much more.  In one part he says something about his "sources" were giving him page after page of government scandal and he was getting bored.  Really?  He is being handed a story of an EU and NATO member that could be on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, The Economist and every other major media outlet and he's getting bored?  Okay.
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« Reply #24 on: September 20, 2010, 05:27:07 PM »

Why did I bring this out? It is relevant to many issues: (1) The survival of the Patriarchate of Constantinople; (2) Inter-jurisdictional relations in the so-called diaspora; (3) The EA process and autocephaly in this country; (4) The slow death of  Christian, and particularly Orthodox, nations in Europe due to their failure to reproduce themselves.

I honestly don't see how this article or even the financial situation of the Greek gov't is relevant to any issue you point out.

First, welcome to the forum. Let me give this a shot.

1. Survival of the Patriarchate. Whenever we have a discussion on how much the Patriarchate of Constantinople depends on her American Archdiocese, folks have consistently written that the GOA's financial support is but a fraction of that received from Greece. So, if Greece cannot sustain her support of the Patriarchate, the GOA will proportionately end up being a larger part of the Patriarchate's finances.

2. Inter-jurisdictional issues in the so-called diaspora. These issues have to do with the mother churches letting go of their children, which some of us consider to be of age and ready to strike out on their own. However, it may be difficult for the parent to let go of the child if the latter is essential for the survival of the former. Thus, inter-jurisdictional issues in the United States, for example, are bound to be influenced by the needs and desires of the mother churches, leading to the following dilemma: Would the local bishops, priests and laity in America primarily represent their dioceses, congregations, and themselves or a foreign bishop, synod or nation?

3. The EA process and autocephaly in this country. The EA process is pointed to a future where we find ourselves united under an autocephalous local church. This goal may be sidelined if the mother churches are not willing to, or cannot, let go.

4. The slow death of  Christian, and particularly Orthodox, nations in Europe due to their failure to reproduce themselves. This is a factor that will exacerbate all three issues above. Fewer people=fewer congregants=less capacity=diminished power and influence.

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« Reply #25 on: September 21, 2010, 11:18:08 AM »

The German desire to maintain Greece is nothing to do with belief in the Greek economy but fear over what would happen to their own situation if one of the euro-zone countries goes under. Do not read too much into their actions, they have little faith in Greece. The knock-on effects for the whole of Europe would be disastrous, including for those countries such as the UK who are not part of the financial alliance.
I know many hard working Greek families who have come to the UK and through their labours made great success of their lives. Many are generous to the Church as well as to individuals. The kind of ethnic slur that the article carries is cheap and undeserved.
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« Reply #26 on: September 21, 2010, 01:25:50 PM »

Do you notice a pattern?

What modern day Greece simply proves one more time, as if more proof is needed, is that socialism does not work.

I agree with you; the common thread is selfish materialism, which is a feature of leftist economies. Interestingly, this may be the biggest and most tragic of all humanistic impulses. Marx and many others did believe in the existence of perfect man and man's ability to perfect mankind. Paradoxically, efforts to address social ills from a top-down, governmental aspect have ended up in millions of folks being killed or starved to death, and many more millions' soul darkened with selfish. give-me materialism. This indeed is not a Greek problem. nor is it a problem that is naturally part of any ethnicity and religion (that believes in God).
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