Sjajan članak u Vanity Fairu o stanju u Grčkoj. Stvarno je teško izvući odlomke, ali evo nekoliko.
The long-term picture was far bleaker. In addition to its roughly $400 billion (and growing) of outstanding government debt, the Greek number crunchers had just figured out that their government owed another $800 billion or more in pensions. Add it all up and you got about $1.2 trillion, or more than a quarter-million dollars for every working Greek.
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.
“If the law was enforced,” the tax collector said, “every doctor in Greece would be in jail.” I laughed, and he gave me a stare. “I am completely serious.” One reason no one is ever prosecuted—apart from the fact that prosecution would seem arbitrary, as everyone is doing it—is that the Greek courts take up to 15 years to resolve tax cases. “The one who does not want to pay, and who gets caught, just goes to court,” he says.
Ali, verovatno najzanimljiviji deo teksta se bavi aferom u koju je uključen manastir Vatoped, sa Svete gore. Otprilike, monasi su pronašli neki papir po kojem je Jovan V Paleolog u 14. veku dodelio neko jezero manastiru Vatoped i tražili su da im ga država da, što je i uradila. Nakon toga su ponudili državi da otkupi jezero, ali pošto država to nije htela, dala im je zemljište na drugim lokacijama.
In exchange for their lake the monks received 73 different government properties, including what had formerly been the gymnastics center for the 2004 Olympics—which, like much of what the Greek government built for the Olympic Games, was now empty and abandoned space. And that, Doukas assumed, was that. “You figure they are holy people,” he says. “Maybe they want to use it to create an orphanage.”
What they wanted to create, as it turned out, was a commercial-real-estate empire. They began by persuading the Greek government to do something it seldom did: to re-zone a lot of uncommercial property for commercial purposes. Above and beyond the lands they received in their swap—which the Greek Parliament subsequently estimated to be worth a billion euros—the monks, all by themselves, were getting 100 percent financing to buy commercial buildings in Athens, and to develop the properties they had acquired. The former Olympics gymnastics center was to become a fancy private hospital—with which the monks obviously enjoyed a certain synergy. Then, with the help of a Greek banker, the monks drew up plans for something to be called the Vatopaidi Real Estate Fund. Investors in the fund would, in effect, buy the monks out of the properties given to them by the government. And the monks would use the money to restore their monastery to its former glory.
Sve u svemu, članak je dugačak, ali vredi pročitati ga.