By: Laopodis Nikiforos T., Associate Professor of Finance
Greece is still in a vicious circle of economic, political and social disarray that does not seem to break. The government keeps announcing and implementing new measures to reduce unemployment, attract investments and spur economic growth but these measures are often incomplete or confusing. In this short article, I will not discuss the much-debated impediments to attracting investments in Greece such as taxation, regulation, bureaucracy, corruption and inadequate infrastructure but other, attitude-related dislocations that may seem unimportant yet disrupt the normal flow of every-day life and drive away existing businesses or deter new investments.
Take tourism, for example, Greece’s main industry. The country fell behind its main competitors, Spain and Turkey, and has not improved its position in the world ranking of tourist arrivals in the 2009-2012 period. What other reasons could have been responsible for this lag in tourism competitiveness? Obviously, poor service, the frequent and unannounced dock blockades, and the closures of major archaeological sites, museums and hotels. To top it off, white- and blue-collar workers alike, led by hard-core union leaders, resorted to strikes and protests, often intentionally, thus politicizing their problems instead of looking at the problems from within. Who, in his right mind, would want to do business in a country whose unionized workers spend vast amounts of human, financial and real resources just to stage such acts demonstrably without real solutions? Prospective investors are routinely driven away simply because unions do not want others to mix with their business and end up compromising their hard-earned rights.