clientelism in greece

it’s big there.

what the h*ck is clientelism, you ask? from wiki-p:

“Clientelism is a term used to describe a political system at the heart of which is an assyemtric relationship between groups of political actors described as patrons and clients…. Those with access, the patrons (and/or sometimes sub-patrons or brokers) rely on the subordination and dependence of the clients. In return for receiving some benefits the clients should provide political support.”

in other words, normal chicago politics. (~_^)

i just got through reading a very interesting, but very amusing, article entitled: “Why Is There No Clientelism in Scandinavia? A Comparison of the Swedish and Greek Sequences of Development.” it was only amusing ’cause i could just picture all the sociologists throwing their hands up in the air trying to imagine why it could possibly be that there’s clientelism in one country and not in another. (~_^)

anyway. here are some interesting quotes from that article. basically, there’s clientelism in greece because (along with their average iq and typical behavioral traits) greeks are, as we’ve seen, pretty endogamous in their mating practices, marrying very locally, often preferentially third-cousins, and that has selected for strong inclusive fitness-related behaviors in greek society. i haven’t, yet, looked at mating patterns in sweden. maybe that will be tomorrow evening’s project. ok, here we go:

pg. 33:

“The Swedish language does not have an appropriate word for clientelism, and when journalists refer to clientelism in other countries, they usually have to add that this is a practice where politicians exchange favors for political support. Yet, on the whole, the practice of clientelism is relatively unknown in Sweden.

“Evidence from scientific research suggests that the Swedish bureaucracy works in a relatively universalistic manner.”

hmmmmmm. mysterious!

pg. 35:

“A detailed Greek historiographic study of work mobility of the urban poor reports, for instance, that about 80 percent of the time, people found jobs thanks to kinship networks and not to political intermediation (Pizanias 1993).”

pg. 38:

“In the Greek welfare administration, and in the public administration more generally, one does not find such a mixture; it is either remoteness or proximity. Access to familiarity inside the bureaucracy is possible only through personal, often family, networks; otherwise, Greeks face bureaucratic indifference to a degree unknown in Scandinavia. In other words, both friendliness and preferential treatment are assigned on a selective basis. This organizational culture results from the intertwining of kinship, or extended families, and bureaucracy.

pgs. 46-47:

“As Nikiforos Diamandouros (1984: 59) pointed out, in Greece the family has been the major social actor, which operated on multiple levels and fulfilled many economic, social, military, and political functions. When liberation weakened the position of the noblemen, with many of them losing large parts of their fortune during the war, they turned inward toward the family, the main ‘capital’ at their disposal at that time. With politics as an imperative for survival and kinship as the only existing organization device, extensive family coalitions were built using the quite widespread institutions of adoption, marriage, fraternization, and god-fatherhood (Petropulos 1985: 69-73).

“Initially these family coalitions were horizontal…. At the interstices between state and local communities, the system of family coalitions found fertile ground in which to develop vertically, creating hierarchies of families with quite unequal power resources, but also relations of mutual dependence. Families at the top of the hierarchy drew their power through their intertwining with the state and access to its goods, and those at the bottom through their capacity to aggregate and deliver the votes of their members. Just like the families at the bottom were dependent upon the families at the top for access to state goods, the families at the top could not secure their position without the political support of those at the bottom.”

this dependency between the top and the bottom — that’s clientelism. and it’s all (or mostly) family-based in greece.

pg. 48:

“As well as the families, villages [which, as we’ve seen, are really just very extended families] became units for interest aggregation in Greece. Local cultures were never damaged by agricultural reforms, as they were in Sweden [long story]; rather, they were strengthened. At the same time, class division within the peasantry were weakened by the distribution of the cultivated land to all peasants, thereby creating a relatively homogenous village population with strong local identities…. Hence, in many parts of Greece, citizenship became relational and derivative, materializing through family networks and political parties and not as the effect of the direct integration of the people into the state….”

pg. 53:

“While in Sweden the realms of state, politics, and social life became differentiated with relatively clear-cut organization boundaries, in Greece these realms became partly overlapping and even intertwined with strong social ties. These same ties prevented the atomization of the individuals and the full development of categorical interests. They constituted the social ground for clientelism….

no atomization of individuals in greece because there is (and has been for some time) too much endogamous mating there and, therefore, individuals are strongly tied to their extended families rather than being rugged individuals. clientelism is simply the obvious way to go for the greeks.

edit: boilerplate and boilerplate 2.0

update 10/07: regarding this quoted above: “Local cultures were never damaged by agricultural reforms….” the agricultural or land reforms referred to happened when greece gained independence from the ottoman empire in 1835. land that had been a part of turkish-owned estates was redistributed to greek peasants. however, it was done in such a way that the peasants did not have to leave their natal villages (the story was very different in other part of europe, like sweden, where peasants were actually shifted around on the land). for the purposes of this blog, this means that the endogamous mating patterns of the greeks — marrying locally within the village or neighboring village — could go waaaaay back.

previously: ελλάδα and more on greece

(note: comments do not require an email. opa!)

33 Comments

  1. Great part of the answers we need in development studies can be found by analyzing the different historical paths of the nations. Very interesting; I really want to find such article.

    Reply

  2. Clientism was huge in the Roman republic. Cicero, for example, worked pro bono for several multi-billionaire mafiosi. The custom in Rome was that lawyers weren’t paid. Rather they were rewarded. Bribery or persuasion? Didn’t matter, as long the verdict was right. Cicero ended up with 12 mansions, btw. It’s all written up very entertainingly in Cicero (the book) by Anthone Everitt. A piece of investigative journalism applied to ancient times. I believe all the big Roman families — the ones in the Senate — were closely intermarried incidentally. They were the mafiosi.

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  3. Yes, there was a tradition in Rome that a client called upon his godfather each morning. But, presumably, each godfather was somebody even higher up’s client, so they must have sometimes missed each other, especially without wristwatches.

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  4. I have this vague hunch that geography plays a role here, and not just latitude. Sweden isn’t very strategic, in the sense that it’s not on the way to anywhere. Conquering Sweden doesn’t open the gate to anywhere else, other than maybe Norway or Spitzbergen. So, Sweden is one of those places like Japan, England, and America where it’s reasonable to say: If we all hang together, we can defend this place. So, you develop a culture where people work together.

    In contrast, the Mediterranean is the middle of the world. And its civilizations are much older than the more remote ones mentioned above. Crops got adapted to growing at Mediterranean latitudes much earlier than at Swedish latitudes. So, in the Mediterranean and Middle East, they’ve seen it all: independence, conquest, defeat subjugation. Life goes on. Some families survive, some thrive, some die out. A place like the Byzantine Empire, smack in the middle of the world, nurtures a Byzantine political culture.

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  5. @jtascensao – “There’s somewhere I can download the article from? Thanks!”

    hi jtascensao! i don’t know if there’s anywhere online where you can download this article. it was published in a book entitled: “Clientelism, interests, and democratic representation: the European experience in historical and comparative perspective.”

    you can find a preview of the book on google books here.

    if google books doesn’t serve you the whole article (in other words, if some pages are missing) you can always try clearing the cache on your internet browser and then reloading the page. (^_^)

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  6. @luke – “Clientism was huge in the Roman republic.”

    oh, yeah! i think they pretty much invented it. (~_^) at the very least, they seem to have given us all the words related to the system — patron (patronus), client (cliens).

    hmmmmm — “Cicero” the book. another one to add to the list.

    you know, i wish we could just do like in “The Matrix” and upload information to our brains. this reading business is far too slow. (~_^)

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  7. @steve – “I have this vague hunch that geography plays a role here, and not just latitude.”

    yes. well, part of that has to be all the various peoples that come and go around the med, like you say. that has to mess up the relatedness within populations every now and again, i.e. every time some new group sweeps into your territory and takes over.

    i mean, take sicily. how can they have been expected to build any society based on trust with early sicilians, greeks, latins, normans, slavs and everybody else that set up shop on that island? i’m sure all these groups have interbred to some degree or another, but they didn’t right away. the pattern seems to have been to move in, take over the island, and then keep yourself as a separate group ruling the place for as long as you could. that sort of pattern is going to lead to people focusing on their extended families and not on becoming “atomized.”

    @steve – “So, Sweden is one of those places like Japan, England, and America where it’s reasonable to say: If we all hang together, we can defend this place. So, you develop a culture where people work together.”

    well, yeah, but not in the good old days when there were germanic tribes and tribes of britons and all those american indian tribes. then they certainly didn’t all hang together.

    some of that prolly has to do with technology and communications, tho. if it takes you several days or a couple of weeks to go visit the neighboring tribe over there in that other valley, well then you prolly don’t mate with them all that much. you prolly just keep mating with your own and voilà! — you’ve got a tribal situation on your hands. but, with a directive from the top demanding no more inbreeding (god says so!), it seems you can really eliminate those tribal tendencies.

    you know, history isn’t nearly as easy as they lead you to believe in sixth grade when all you had to do was memorize lists of presidents and civil war battles. *sigh* (^_^)

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  8. “I have this vague hunch that geography plays a role here, and not just latitude. Sweden isn’t very strategic, in the sense that it’s not on the way to anywhere.”

    If culture is group adaptation to the local environment and if there are optimal forms of culture for military purposes and a group’s environment is on a crossroads then the military selection pressure on the form of the culture might be the dominant pressure.

    Groups off the beaten track without that dominant pressure might develop in more idiosyncratic ways maybe – like the duck-billed platypus of cultural evolution.

    However given the ubiquity and localized nature of human conflict at the tribal level in ancient times i’d expect that kind of development would only happen in the most end-of-the-line marginal terrain which none of the adjacent tribes wanted. To the little clans and tribes in Sweden itself, Sweden was strategic.

    In later times though the scale of the effect could have increased. I do wonder if one of the differences in England was the feeling of being somehow “safe” whereas the Germans and French maybe always felt surrounded.

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  9. Clientelism seems like a fancy word for graft and corruption. Greece is extremely corrupt, according to Corruption Perception Index.

    http://www.transparency.org/policy_research/surveys_indices/cpi/2010/results

    Sweden is one of the least corrupt countries. Notice how in Europe the countries that went through the Protestant Reformation seem to be less corrupt than Catholic countries, which are in turn generally less corrupt than Eastern Orthodox countries (Italy excepted).

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  10. @melykin – “Notice how in Europe the countries that went through the Protestant Reformation seem to be less corrupt than Catholic countries, which are in turn generally less corrupt than Eastern Orthodox countries (Italy excepted).”

    sure. but you could also notice that most of the countries that went through the protestant reformation were mostly made up of germanic folks; the catholic ones, mostly latins and “celts;” and the eastern orthodox ones, slavs and greeks. (~_^)

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  11. he catholic ones, mostly latins and “celts;” and the eastern orthodox ones, slavs and greeks.

    You’re giving short shrift to the Western Slavs.

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  12. Notice how in Europe the countries that went through the Protestant Reformation seem to be less corrupt than Catholic countries, which are in turn generally less corrupt than Eastern Orthodox countries (Italy excepted).

    Come to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (a name used internationally to avoid ticking off our corrupt neighbors to the south), we’re considered marginally less corrupt than Italy!

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  13. @ihtg – “You’re giving short shrift to the Western Slavs.”

    yes, well, that’s why i said catholics are “mostly” latins and “celts.” i haven’t forgotten about the poles and co. i promise! (^_^)

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  14. I vaguely recall reading Poland was one of the first countries to get a majority of protestant bishops but the process was reversed by a crusade. Hussites also. It does make me wonder about the geographical side of this whether directly or through the maternal dna.

    I actually wonder if the out-breeding effect (potential for larger-scale co-operation) created the potential for a jump from feudalism to nationalism with protestantism acting as either an idealogical precursor or a kind of incubator. Looking at it as a biological phenomenon reminds me a little of teenagers picking fights with parents as they get closer to leaving home.

    .
    Also i wonder if after centuries of the catholic ban on cousin marriage the newly protestant countries needed to specifically ban it as it may have taken on cultural incest connotations. I know it’s viewed that way among my friends and family and they have no clue about the religious origins or how common it is elsewhere.

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  15. @g.w. – “Looking at it as a biological phenomenon reminds me a little of teenagers picking fights with parents as they get closer to leaving home.”

    heh! that’s a very funny analogy. and one that seems to fit!

    @g.w. – “Also i wonder if after centuries of the catholic ban on cousin marriage the newly protestant countries needed to specifically ban it as it may have taken on cultural incest connotations.”

    well, the funny thing is, most of the protestant churches — except for what happened in sweden — apparently did not ban cousin marriage. in fact, part of the whole reformation thing was that the lutherns, et. al., didn’t like all the dispensations that the catholic church was giving out — you know, for a price. the protestant groups were bugged by all the indulgences and the dispensations. so the protestant churches just went with the old testament re. marriage guidelines — i.e. cousin marriage ok. (which is why the usually very efficient germans don’t have any church records re. cousin marriage — it wasn’t a problem).

    otoh, (cue irony) the countries that “went protestant” seem to have continued to avoid cousin marriage even without any church ban (the exception being sweden), while the countries with bans — like the catholic countries — have historically had comparatively high cousin marriage rates:

    “Following the Reformation, the various Protestant denominations generally accepted the marriage guidelines established in Leviticus 18: 7-18, with first cousin marriages permissible. It is therefore paradoxical taht a study of consanguinity in Europe, mainly based on data from the late 19th to the mid-20th centuries, concluded that consanguineous unions were more prevalent in the southern Roman Catholic countries, where dispensation by the Church was a pre-requisite to marriage, rather than in the Protestant north of the continent which had no such formal barriers to cousin unions (McCullough & O’Rourke, 1986).” [pg. 549]

    so, the practice of avoiding cousin marriage just sort-of stuck in northern europe sans any official bans. maybe after so much outbreeding, northern europeans just weren’t (aren’t) so attracted to their cousins anymore? maybe they don’t even really know them. and/or there’s just the cultural ewwww factor you mentioned. dunno.

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  16. @g.w. – “I vaguely recall reading Poland was one of the first countries to get a majority of protestant bishops but the process was reversed by a crusade.”

    oh, interesting. i didn’t know that. will have to try and look that up somewhere. thnx!

    Reply

  17. “maybe after so much outbreeding, northern europeans just weren’t (aren’t) so attracted to their cousins anymore?”

    i think you may have a bingo there. the cultural eww factor based on long forgotten church foundations plus the attractiveness differential between cousins and non-cousins had maybe declined through out-breeding.

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  18. @g.w. – “i think you may have a bingo there.”

    been thinking about this for a while now, and have been meaning to write a post about it but just haven’t gotten around to it:

    like in the cases where siblings or half-siblings haven’t grown up together so the westermarck imprinting thing doesn’t happen — and then they meet as adults and are deeply attracted to each other (because they share so many genes with each other and are, therefore, so alike). well, what’s the opposite of that? marrying someone who’s beyond your 12th cousin, say? on average, you’d think the second group of people would be much less attracted to each other than the first.

    in that iceland study about third- and fourth-cousins being the most fecund — well, maybe that’s just ’cause they were the most attracted to each other. it could be that closer cousins actually knew each other growing up, so you get the westermarck effect (arabs often complain about this — they’re not so attracted to their wives ’cause as first cousins they practically grew up together). but move out to a third cousin that you didn’t grow up with and, wow! — lots of attraction, maybe. move out further to fourth and fifth and sixth and … meh.

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  19. yes. i’ve been trying to look at this in the most reductionist way possible just to see how far it can go before sounding silly and so far it seems it can go a very long way.

    if inclusive fitness is the aim and “love” based on genetic closeness is the base mechanic then you can have sexual attraction separate and switched on by a second mechanism or you can have sexual attraction *included* with a second mechanism for switching it off among too close kin. given the way animals are i’m thinking the second is more likely.

    if so, as you say, the more out-bred a population the less difference there is in genetic closeness between cousins and non-cousins. it is a very simple explanation.

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  20. “maybe after so much outbreeding, northern europeans just weren’t (aren’t) so attracted to their cousins anymore?”

    Possibly related.

    http://dienekes.blogspot.com/2005/09/fellow-nationals-make-best-lovers.html

    “Bringing up the rear are the Dutch (13 per cent), the Belgians (14 per cent) and the Germans (15 per cent). (snip) 69 per cent of Italians are convinced that the best sexual partners can be found in their own country. This is topped only by the Greeks, where 77 per cent believe this.”

    The simplest explanation is consanquinity leading to higher ethno-centrism in general and by extension higher levels of ethnic bragging and i’m sure that’s part of it.

    However if sexual satisfaction is partly related to prior arousal and if prior arousal is partly related to how attracted one person is to the other then sexual satisfaction will be partly related to attraction. If, once beyond the incest block, consanquinity increases attraction then sexual satisfaction would be somewhat proportional to consanquinity and average sexual satisfaction would be somewhat proportional to average consanquinity.

    A corrollory might be the more outbred a population gets the kinkier it would get.

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  21. @g.w. – thnx for the dienekes link!

    @g.w. – “If, once beyond the incest block, consanquinity increases attraction then sexual satisfaction would be somewhat proportional to consanquinity and average sexual satisfaction would be somewhat proportional to average consanquinity.”

    i’d bet a dollar (a REAL one) that there’s something to this. if you read any of the stories out there about when siblings who weren’t raised together meet as adults and then the attraction they feel — it sounds like it’s completely overpowering. and that’s not strange since they share so many genes. if what we’re looking for in a mate is similarity — then, wow!, if you meet a sibling but don’t know they’re a sibling….

    @g.w. – “A corrollory might be the more outbred a population gets the kinkier it would get.”

    heh. i hadn’t thought of that! yes, to keep everyone interested. (altho, the writers of the kama sutra presumably came from a traditionally inbred society…?) what crossed my mind was all the self-help books/magazines/websites about finding and keeping love and all that. is that something that pretty unrelated peoples need to keep the fire burning? just a thought.

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  22. “i’d bet a dollar (a REAL one) that there’s something to this”

    me too now. i wouldn’t have a while ago

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  23. “greeks are, as we’ve seen, pretty endogamous in their mating practices, marrying very locally, often preferentially third-cousins,”

    I find it amazing how in the year 2011 people choose to believe/reproduce statements like that. I’m not expecting it, but if I were you I’d delete it, it makes the rest of the article/site look bad and makes you look clueless as to what is going on in the rest of the world (I’m assuming you’re american).

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  24. @theodora – “…if I were you I’d delete it….”

    i’ll delete it as soon as the anthropologists delete it from their studies. there are links to these two previous posts on greece in this post, but i guess you didn’t bother to check them: ελλάδα and more on greece.

    if you can’t be bothered to check the previous posts (i’m assuming you’re greek), here’s what i said in one of them:

    “greece appears to have rather local/regional (on the village/county level) extended family groups which inbreed (to the degree of third+ cousins) as a rule. or at least they did as recently as the 1970s. the situation might be quite different nowadays now that many people have left rural areas and moved to urban centers. but that greeks were inbreeding in the 1970s would still affect social interactions there, today, since many greeks aged 30-40 would be the children of those who married in the ’70s.”

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  25. I had checked the other posts when I wrote that, it’s not the same saying “or at least they did as recently as the 1970s” with “greeks are, as we’ve seen, pretty endogamous in their mating practices”, and my objection has to do with the present tense and obviously the blatant generalizing. If I were you I’d have used “some” in there somewhere, instead of “as a rule”. I can assure you not “many” Greeks aged 30-40 are products of inbreeding! I’m sure there’s some accurate studies out there you’re mentioning, but your own wording and conclusions are totally inaccurate, and too many in all 3 posts for me to copy/paste in here, and I think it’d be rude for me to do that, cause it’s your blog and you can choose to write what you want in it obviously.. I just wanted to let you know what is actually going on, and I’d be happy to discuss it if you wanted, but it seems that you’re pretty set on the opinion you’ve got out of these studies (I have a different opinion based on me living here, knowing Greek people, and reading studies about Greek people). Also, I’d suggest filtering information you read in studies.. I’m sure you know that for as many studies out there confirming something, there’s equally as many dismissing it, and I wouldn’t expect anyone deleting anything in a study (vs. a blog)–that doesn’t make it right though! I’m sure you think that Greece is a far away country on the other side of the world with weird customs and behaviors but it’s not. I mean, Mormons sound weird to me, but I realize that’s not how ALL or MOST or MANY Americans behave AS A RULE! I hope you see the difference I’m suggesting in my first comment. Other than that, I’m sure there’s some inbreeding in all countries all over the world obviously, and I wouldn’t think Greece would be an exception.

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  26. @theodora – “I’d be happy to discuss it if you wanted”

    i’m happy to discuss it, too, theodora. if you’ve got some data that i can look at, please, do share it (i mean references, obviously). i’d love to have more info on the mating practices of the greeks!

    nevertheless, from what i have read so far, it appears that rural greeks, up until at least the 1970s, were marrying very locally, which probably means they were marrying a distant cousin of some sort. this is not uncommon for europe — similar situations happened in places like spain and italy (even closer cousin marriage in southern italy, in fact). greeks do not marry first-cousins, obviously, because that is not permitted in the greek orthodox church. they also tend to avoid second-cousin marriage. but they do have a tradition of marrying locally, like anthropologists have shown.

    @theodora – “I’m sure you think that Greece is a far away country on the other side of the world with weird customs and behaviors but it’s not.”

    i have actually been to greece, so no i don’t think it’s filled with weird customs. except for throwing plates on the floor. (~_^) however, greeks do behave differently from other peoples (most people do) — for instance, there’s a lot of clientelism in greece as opposed to, say, germany. that requires an explanation. at least i would like to have an explanation for why that is.

    @theodora – “I’m sure there’s some inbreeding in all countries all over the world obviously, and I wouldn’t think Greece would be an exception.”

    there is some inbreeding in all countries all over the world, yes — but there’s a LOT in some and not so much in others. greece is one of the countries with, comparatively, not so much. more than england, traditionally, but a lot less than saudi arabia.

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  27. I’m glad you didn’t turn aggressive with my comments :) Sometimes people become paranoid anytime someone points to a mistake/misunderstanding..

    And I’d really love to discuss it (even though I don’t know much about it except for my experience living here and having studied psychology and social psychology), but right now the timing is bad..Living in Greece feels like living in that house on the movie Melancholia, where a planet is approaching earth and we don’t know if it’s gonna hit us or pass us by! And for that reason I find it impossible to even read the whole of your posts on Greece cause it’s like adding one more negative for us to deal with (I’m sure it sounds weird)..Although I appreciate any interest on the Greek way of living..

    Other than that your blog looks really interesting, and it’s always great to see a girl among guys in all those “manblogs” around! Take care!

    Reply

  28. @theodora – no hard feelings! (^_^)

    @theodora – “And I’d really love to discuss it … but right now the timing is bad.”

    yes. i really feel for the greeks these days, i really do. like i said, i’ve been to greece — i also grew up with (went to school with) and have worked with a lot of greek-americans, many who were first-generation greeks so, you know, their parents were from greece and a few have retired back there.

    greece needs to get out of the euro asap. things are never going to be put right until that happens. i fear this whole euro/e.u. thing is going to be a major disaster for europe, and of course it’s going to be the ordinary people who suffer at the end of the day (as usual). while i do look forward to the e.u. falling apart (since it is a creature opposed to democracy and freedom in europe), it isn’t going to be very pretty when it happens.

    καλή τύχη there! (^_^) stay safe.

    Reply

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