Spyros’s last job in Greece was tending bar for sub-minimum wage.
In the last year and a half, Greece loses at an accelerated rate her educated young people and there is no end in sight.
The catastrophic “bailouts” enforced by the EU and the IMF have devastated the Greek economy beyond recognition and are now rapidly dismantling Greek society in a ways that are not reversible. During the first five months of 2011 more Greek young filled out CVs with Europass than those during the entire 2009 -- and their number is expected to continue to inexorably swell through 2012 and the following years.
Even before the current crisis struck, Greece was not a friendly place for young graduates. I have personally met scores of them who, after completing often highly prestigious degrees abroad, returned to the home country to experience the dilemma of “either a government job or permanent underemployment.” The disaster that is now consuming Greece has provided the most powerful incentive possible for this educated youth to look elsewhere for a future; leaving Greece, for the majority of them, will be permanent.
There is little, if any, hope that Greece will be able to bounce back without its best and brightest. No country can hope to extricate herself from the chaos that now surrounds Greece without an educated vanguard that will man the front lines of real growth. Every young applied scientist, economist, medical doctor, teacher, and health professional that departs is a keen manpower loss for a country that has been governed and directed for decades by the worst and the stupidest.
Is there any way to reverse this trend? Unfortunately, there isn’t. The combination of EU-IMF austerity madness and the complete bankruptcy of the Greek “governing elite” robs Greece of any meaningful chance to recover within the foreseeable future. If Greece wishes to press ahead (and this is open to debate) she must tend her human capital, find investment for the creation of jobs, and apply an alternative political system based on meritocracy and actively seeking to promote, develop, and safeguard the collective national interest.
One thing is for sure: the current crop of “leaders” represented by our parliamentary membership won’t be offering the kind of proactive leadership and innovation required by these dire times. It is indeed remarkable that some of these current “leaders” actively sought to offer Greece to the IMF wrapped in piece of paper and almost all of them have spent their personal time since as co-signatories of every German demand and additional shackle prepared for this country.
The departing Greek young are wise in perceiving this enormous national survival gap and voting with their feet. As Spyros succinctly put it as we both sat in the departure lounge “if the choice is between certain professional and career suicide and leaving, I’ll take the latter.”
How can I argue with that?