The willing victims of profiteering?

on . Posted in English texts


According to the unspoken consensus of TV news bulletins, the country is divided into two groups: a minority of profiteers and the broader public evidently victimized by the former.

Even so, we can see that there is something rather illogical about it all. Successful profiteers also require another group that is prone to do the opposite, namely, squander its money.

Given all the TV reporters who have dedicated themselves to exposing widespread profiteering, the country's citizens are surely aware of this phenomenon. Indeed, they appear to know that certain circles are profiteering at their expense but still insist on buying tomatoes at exorbitant prices and patronizing mediocre cafes where the coffee costs what it would in New York's Waldorf Astoria hotel.

In other words, these citizens continue to go against their own interests; indeed, they seem to want to make a loss.

How else can one explain the fact that, despite our poverty (we are said to be one of the poorest nations in the developed world) we retain the most expensive clubs and bars in Europe? And how can we explain the fact that we have such an expensive real estate market, even in run-down areas? How is it conceivable that a long weekend in the Aegean can cost the same as a week at a Spanish resort? How do we explain the recent spike in car purchases (and particularly of high-consumption vehicles) when the price of petrol has tripled? There is no shortage of such questions but no real answers.

Most rational humans cut back on purchases of a certain good when it suddenly rises in price; otherwise they substitute for something cheaper. Why then is it that we in Greece stubbornly insist on buying the same product, harming our own interests and lining profiteers' pockets?

KATHIMERINI English Edition, 11/07/2006