Greece is a Capitalist Country Under Austerity Conditions By Vicki Nikolaidis


This personal report is coming to you from the coast line of the gorgeous Mediterranean Sea. Economic pressures and forced austerity conditions demonstrate the tenacity of a culture to survive the domino effect from the global financial crisis. Greeks have a lot of tenacity and the system of democracy, so far, is also withstanding the stress.

There are many odd things about the international media coverage of Greece’s economy but the oddest is the insistence that Greece is a Socialist country. The United Kingdom and Denmark for example fit the description much better simply by comparing their health care systems to Greece. The UK and the Danes both enjoy a socialistic style health care system which means that they can access medical assistance without pay.

In Greece a variety of choices are available similar to the USA. Civil servants (bureaucrats, state university professors, etc.) have a particularly type of insurance coverage. Money is taken out of their pay each month and put towards their health care insurance. People in the trades have another insurance coverage. When a family does not have coverage there are several insurance companies vying for their business. Co-pays for doctor’s visits, medicines and x-rays and other services must be paid. Somehow that does not sound very socialistic. In fact since it sounds like the same system as in the United States, perhaps the Greek system is also a capitalist system.

The electoral system of Greece is a parliamentary system. When the media says ‘Greek government fails’ in reality that means that a coalition cannot be formed between the political parties because of voting patterns in the general elections. Greece is not in chaos and the government is still intact.

Parliamentary systems have more political parties involved in elections and in the Parliament. The Parliament is the voting body of the government that passes legislation (on good days). So a parliament is similar to the U.S. bicameral Congress in the way the representatives of the citizens initiate, discuss, pass or vote down new laws. But the difference is that more perspectives on issues are aired in the Greek Parliament.

A Personal View from Greece will continue… please add any comments or questions and I will be in touch.

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