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Greece & Co., the Michael Lewis expose of the Greek psyche

There were indeed a lot of interesting and worthwhile comments as well as analysis in the Michael Lewis article about Greece. A lot of fellow contributors of Seeking Alpha have already commented on certain aspects of it and cited extracts as proof Greece will never escape it's current malaise since the Greeks have a genetic default which makes them incapable of social cohesion or collective sacrifice.

Being born in Greece I will reply with a resounding humbug to the above analysis of the Greek psyche. The fact that Greeks don't pay their taxes and have a strong affinity to continuous tax evasion has nothing to do with some short of a character flaw or a genetic predisposition to cheat.

Mr. Lewis touches briefly on the influence of a totally corrupted state but then veers off towards the 'easy' pyrotechnics of psycho analysis of the populace.

I am not going to stand here and argue that tax evasion is justified or even warranted when a state is so utterly corrupted and morally bankrupt that laws carry no weight and the citizen is left unprotected to the whims of the 'lucky few' be those the politicians, the cartels ( Greece is a cartels state) or it's public servants.

Greeks were conditioned into this sorry state Mr. Lewis amply describes by an avalanche of corruption which traces it's infamous roots back in the mid-80's. A thieving state came into existence and the party begun under the eyes of the EU (E.C. back then) which looked the other way when scandals upon scandals involving EU subsidies and grants begun to erupt.

Slowly but steadily a 'new elite' came into existence, people with nothing became millionaires sometimes overnight, politicians started building impressive mansions, public servants drove brand new BMW's while the State, it's laws, it's roads, it's hospitals, it's schools and Universities begun to disintegrate.

I can not describe to the readers what witnessing the aforementioned lawlessness and 'destruction does to a citizen. It paralyses, it demoralizes, it makes one afraid for the future. Everything can be bought, be that the 'free' education, the 'free' health care etc. actually without money those state provisions are not on offer.

It is that fear that drives people into evading, knowing full well that their hard earned money will be turned into yachts, villas and Ferraris for the elite and their offsprings. Why should they pay for those? Why should they be the one's subsidizing 'the party' of others?

It has nothing to do with  genetic flaws or unwillingness to stand as a group or even patriotism. Tax evasion is a direct product of fear, fear for tomorrow, fear for the future.

People can argue that in a democracy people can fight back and if the Greek citizens labor under such a perpetual state of misery they can bring about needed change. That of course presupposes the existence of democracy and I would brand as naive at best anyone who could argue that such a political system exists anywhere today (maybe Switzerland). 

Greece is a country where 75% of all economic activity comes from the state, patronage is essential for survival and votes can be 'bought' for a promise of a state job, or a government contract. No citizen has the luxury of voting its conscience and that is the most tragic aspect of the Greek psyche.