A Greek on Greeks

I was privileged to sit beside a rather interesting Greek lady on a flight the other day. Well into her 80's, she was flying back to the homeland to spend a few weeks with her family. Her sons had seen her to the airport, but she was otherwise making the multi-segment journey alone. She was a very self-possessed and chatty lady, and the otherwise tedious flight simply flew by as we talked. She made an excellent sales pitch to me for spending a vacation in the islands where she would be staying.

We got talking, and the topic of conversation turned to Greece itself. She had left the country several decades ago to live and work abroad, and had prospered there. She was in no doubt about why Greece was in its current state. "They just don't pay taxes," she explained. "There's no respect for the law." She personally knew of several people in her small Greek home town who went to the town hall each month to claim their state disability benefit for blindness, then happily drove back home. She was quite happy to pay taxes in her adopted country, and benefit from the relatively ordered society that those taxes funded, but was appalled at the mentality of consumption without contribution back in Greece.

While "anecdote" is famously distinct from "data" (except in the case of short stories about Brent Spiner) it seems that even the Greeks don't feel that the structure of current Greek society is particularly sustainable.

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