English texts

Teachers and state must change tactics

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It appears that the time has come for us to invent new methods of negotiation in the sphere of politics. Ministers and those teachers who follow their trade union leaders have first-hand knowledge of the fact that the tactic of strike action as a means of negotiation is ineffective. Everyone must...

The anxiety of the right-wing break

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It is a global rule that all governments are corrupted after exercising power for a certain period of time. Some administrations cause disappointment, others outrage or alienation. In the overwhelming majority of cases, a dramatic development may have a negative influence on a government but does...

The message of our low election turnout

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For a moment there was a bit of a democratic panic due to the low turnout in the Athens municipality during Sunday's local authority elections. There was no shortage of commentators bewailing the future of our democracy as rumors suggested an extremely low voter turnout across the country....

Simplistic science reports inaccurate

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Until recently, scientists were always sounding the alarm over one thing or another. They would warn us about the harmful effects of a range of consumer products, telling us that wine can lead to alcoholism, that passionate kissing transmits diseases, that spinach may be infected by E. coli...

A lax system with no backup plan

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The period between 1981 and 1990 was a happy one for Greeks - but for the wrong reasons. Instead of praising God for Greece's entry into what was then the European Economic Community - thanks to the strenuous efforts and smart political maneuvers of Constantine Karamanlis - we celebrated the...

Consumer choices keeping prices high

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Vouliagmenis Avenue in Athens is an interesting phenomenon for economists to study. It is the only road that comes to mind where neighboring gas stations can sell fuel at a 7-cent difference and not go bust. But it is the choices of the consumers who reward those who practice profiteering and...

A nation obsessed with corruption

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Once upon a time, everything in Greece was corrupt. Or at least that's how everything was dubbed. Corruption was the fashionable word and the term used to describe both legal and illicit business transactions with the state, relationships between journalists and politicians, the social ties...

Curbing prospects for corruption

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For years now, we have been faulting political parties for their partisanship. We keep wondering what kind of world this is where parties cannot lift themselves above partisan concerns, why they keep recruiting cadres indiscriminately and why their leaders - despite their good intentions - fail...

Broad violation of an absurd law

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November 2001 in Munich: German authorities arrest Islamists suspected of participating in al-Qaida attacks against the United States two months earlier. Despite the fact that the detentions are carried out at night, all the television channels have dispatched news teams to wait outside the...

Curb the state to tackle corruption

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It is true that corruption existed long before the current New Democracy administration came to power. And, unfortunately, it appears all too evident that it will exist again when ND eventually leaves power. But this is not the fundamental problem. More worrying than that are the explanations...

Time to change the way we tackle vice

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What does the Gospel teach us about corruption? First of all, that it crops up in even the best of families. Let us consider the time when, according to the Bible, Christ was betrayed by Judas. If one of the 12 disciples, who were friends with the holiest individual in history, turned out to be...

The quest for virtue versus self-interest

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It seems that one of Greek society's most steadfast demands is for some virtue in public administration. We would like to have virtuous politicians, honorable civil servants, even selfless voters. But this is a romantic idea. We seem to hope to create a «community of angels» in which citizens...

Curbing corruption in public life

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The greatest weapon against corruption is probably transparency. When citizens are aware of how public finances are being spent, there is a significant reduction in the squandering of public money. This is why we have the Government Gazette, which records all the decisions and activities of the...

Airing sentiment at the expense of facts

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Last Sunday, Greek television channels fought for ratings in their 8 p.m. news bulletins. The predominant - and virtually exclusive - subject of these bulletins was the defeat of the Greek national basketball team by Spain in the world championship final. All the major channels aired the cliche...

Greeks misinformed about Middle East

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In a recent poll, 51 percent of Greeks expressed support for Hezbollah in the recent war between the Islamic militants and Israel, compared to not more than 20 percent in other Western European countries. Also, 79 percent of Greeks believed that Israel started the conflict, compared to 59 percent...

Interventionist state is keeping us poor

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We know that in so-called liberal countries the rich get richer - and this has now been confirmed by a recent Eurostat survey. The «heartless Thatcherites» of Great Britain and Ireland boast average per capita monthly incomes of 3,018 euros and 2,559 euros respectively, while citizens of the...

Living in a state of constant alert

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We got through it one more time. The heat wave is finally over and - apart from a few isolated problems with electricity supply - there have been no reports of any blackouts. For this we should thank the thousands of employees at the Public Power Corporation (PPC). Meanwhile, the new record high...

When street protests defeat their purpose

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The problem with the unchecked street protests which so often block traffic in Athens - more than 900 protest rallies were held in the capital in the 18-month period ending June 30 - is a leftover of the post-1974 political mind-set. As with political posters and graffiti, public demonstrations...

Invoking telegenic miracles for favor

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Every year we see the feast of the Dormition of the Virgin turned into a trade fair. We don't just mean the stalls outside churches, the souvlaki and cotton candy, but also what is being «sold» inside. Politicians have a first-rate opportunity to parade their piety, the archbishop to show the...

Poor excuses in the clash of civilizations

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Despite the blunders of the administration of George W. Bush and Washington's attempt to export democracy in the Middle East, the war of civilizations has in fact been turned on its head. The «mad mullahs» want to export the Islamic revolution at any cost. Their god says they must impose their...

Challenges of an unconventional war

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If there is anything we can learn from the unorthodox war currently under way in Lebanon, it is that Israel's military machine is too large to tackle Hezbollah. No army and no nation-state can effectively take on fighters dressed in civilian clothes who fire off rockets from among the civilian...