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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...

Woes and benefits of having quarries

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The truth is that nobody wants quarries in their neighborhood. Every local authority is quite justified in objecting to quarry works in its area. Besides, it is well known that every inch of Greek earth is «beautiful land» of «inestimable environmental value» upon which some third cousin or maybe...

Our selective rage at warmongers

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If Israel was not a US ally, who would left-wing demonstrators in Greece have as a target for their protests? What statues would they knock down in an expression of their rage? Or if Israel's military operations were interpreted as an attempt to overturn the «New World Order,» would there be any...

Taxes and handouts

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George Bernard Shaw once said that a government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on Paul's support. He left it to us to imagine what Peter's reaction might be. The same thing applies to a government which raises taxes while announcing it will be hiring rural policemen. It might be...

Operating on the edge

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Some time ago, a bank commercial on TV showed a couple enjoying a romantic boat trip. Suddenly, the boat sprang a leak. Alarmed, the man tried to plug the hole, but his efforts were in vain. Soon, the boat was taking in water everywhere. This advertisement reflects the Greek economy. While we...

The US toolbox for democracy

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If we want to describe the policy of the Bush administration in the Middle East, we need simply to invoke the words of the great British statesman Benjamin Disraeli: «He only had one idea, and that was wrong.» The plan of the neo-conservatives in Washington seemed simple, but essentially it was...

Loud but simplistic criticism of the war

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The voices protesting the passivity of the international community toward the ongoing slaughter in Lebanon are multiplying. In this country, every now and again, an opinion maker will ask, «Where is the international community hiding at this crucial time?» But no one clarifies what this...

An unnecessary police force

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In a country where we cannot even hire enough doctors and nurses to meet our most pressing needs, Public Order Minister Vyron Polydoras has heralded the recruitment of rural police officers with «environmental responsibilities.» This would be a nice idea in a country like Luxembourg which has a...

The pros and cons of decentralization

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In the past, one of the most pressing demands of Greek society was decentralization and academic institutions proved to be an effective tool for implementing this goal. The institutions contributed to the economic and social development of many regions. Those familiar with provincial towns before...

The cost of a gray economy

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The findings of a recent Eurobarometer poll, published in Thursday's Kathimerini, are disturbing. They are troubling not so much because they reveal the pessimism of most Greeks regarding the fate of their country and their restrained optimism about their personal future. It is the contrast...