Greek Economic Crises History Journalism Modern Greece

TRANSLATION: On Pensions “… Straight to the grave …” by Γιώργος Δελαστίκ (George Delastik)

I thought it would be worthwhile to translate an article written by a Greek thinker on the critical scope of the Greek Economic Crisis, its vast implications, as illustrated in the imagined solution of pensions, as perceived by the EU and IMF and now their subject, Prime Minister George Papandreou.  The author, Γιωργος Δελαστικ, speaks frankly about the implications and consequences of this facet of the rescue plan to stabilize Greece.

To read the article in Greek please click on Mr Delastik’s blog here:

Many thanks to Economists Vassilis Sardounis and Litsa Sardounis for their indispensable support and attention to the nuances of language and the many hours required to translate this piece.  I have done my best to maintain the integrity of the author’s thoughts and have modified rarely those phrases which would help illuminate his position and structurally adjusted some sentences for coherence to accommodate the drift from one language to another.

Social Cannibalism

The Greek nation has fallen victim to “social cannibals” from the moment Prime Minister, George Papandreou, decided to subject Greece to the regime of human cruelty— as implemented by the IMF and EU—and slavery. Having transformed the government of Papandreou into a puppet to implement their mandates, the representatives of this ostensibly civilized EU and known professionals —”social executioners”  — of the IMF have propelled with their measures the standard of living of the Hellenic nation many decades backwards and into a chasm.  Not even the most malicious and ill-intentioned  enemies of PASOK could not have imagined what type of unprecedented nightmare would evolve for the working class through the governance of George Papandreou, who in a tragic stance remains president of the International Socialists Organization, the weak of the planet who expect social protection and an albeit somewhat more just society! To the degree … that now widows and orphans are under the scope of the savages of the EU and IMF, and they dare to cut the pensions of the dead father, even though the children are minors!  It sounds unbelievable but it is real.  The EU wants to transform widows and orphans into beggars!  This does not fit easily in the mind of people in the year of 2010.  “From work straight to the grave” is the dogma which totally steers the decisions of the cannibals of the EU and IMF on the theme of pensions.

This uncovers their decision to grant full pensions after 40 (!) years of work and to deduct 6% from a pension for each year worked less than that.  In other words, whoever experiences periodic unemployment and today collects their pension, having worked a total of 30 years, will receive a pension at 40% its full value, (i.e., losing 60% of the full pension.)*  Woe to whoever who should become ill, to whoever is a student of higher education, and therefore delays entry into the workforce, to whoever falls victim to increasing unemployment rates among youth.  Young scientists, for example, who have difficulty finding work in their fields with assurance of some form of insurance rights, and who often don’t settle into a job until around 30 years of age, and later, will have to reach … 70-75 years to get their full pension!  But what employer in the private sector is able to keep one employed until 70 or 75 years?  But also in the public sector, what can employees of this age contribute?  Will a teacher 75 years old teach the children of primary school?  We’re not talking about a few thousand whose experience as top management might have some value — though even this is uncertain since the quality of their knowledge and its value may be diminished considering the rapidly shifting trends of progress and current of thought — but hundreds of thousands of workers who will be threatened with total social wretchedness.  And beyond this though will no one be found to stop the crime being designed against the young by the cannibals of the EU and the IMF?

Will we allow the establishment of a society where the old occupy a myriad of positions in the work force, and the young will remain on the outskirts of continually shrinking  job prospects?  What kind of future does such a society have that voluntarily deprives itself of the vigor and creativity and vision of its youth, whilst parallely throws the aged into … the social Kaiada** of unspeakable poverty and suffering — once positions are vacated — and are granted a pension whose value is worthless, and will not allow one to survive with dignity?  This type of society has no future.  The diseased brains of the EU and IMF who thought these things should by no means be allowed to integrate this act of theirs.  Finally the bookkeepers should stop directing the fate of European societies before they drown us in chaos, and into catastrophe, and we tear each other to pieces.

THE DOGMA:  From work to the grave.  The representatives of the EU and the IMF would have been more sincere if they had immediately said that we would prefer to … exterminate the aged instead of giving them pensions— some type of “social Auschwitz” — since this way the deficit would shrink.  But as part of the first phase, however, they want to transform us into beggars and then we’ll see what comes next!  But in Greece we have other customs and sensibilities, thousands of years old now.  In this land we respect our elders, we love them, and we take care of them.  We consider Kaiada a form of barbarism for over 2500 years now.  The position of the EU and IMF toward pensions has immense significance for us.  Let us at least save our civilization.

*(40 yrs = 100%; 39 yrs = 94%; 38 yrs = 88%; 37 yrs = 82% … 30 yrs = 40%)

** Kaiada.  A gorge in Ancient Sparta where the weak offspring were dropped from to ensure the strength of the nation.   Also used to dispose of enemies and prisoners of war.