Sunday, 31 October 2010

The Greek financial crisis

This article in Vanity Fair frightened me. It details the background to the Greek financial crisis, and I read it with growing disbelief. The Greek attitude to money - amounting to outright fraud - is staggering.

I cannot say if all the facts within the article are true - I would not be surprised if there were exaggerations or misconceptions within. But the sheer scale of the Greek financial mess is well known. What is less well known is that the crash started when irregularities were found in the dealings of the Vatopaidi Monastery.

Much of the blame should be laid at the door of the EU. As a member of the Euro, Greece has its financial situation checked by the EU. Those accounts have now been seen to be false, a fact that the Greek government must have known about.

Perhaps instead of looking just at the books, other mechanisms should also be used. For instance, almost all doctors in Greece are officially paid 12,000 euros - under the taxable amount. This is a clear indication of fraud, yet the EU either did not detect it, or openly ignored it.

I reccommend that anyone who casually throws out reasons for the financial crisis - "it was all Brown's fault" or "it all started in America" should read the article and be very, very frightened. For the true reasons for the crisis are much more complex. And I fear that the lessons are not being learnt. In a global economy, a crisis in one country can cause chaos elsewhere, even in the innocent.

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