Greece has enacted entitlements which assure the citizens a royal life just because they are born in Greece. For example everybody gets pension. Everybody means everybody. At the age of 57, you as a private or self employed person retire with full State pension.
There is another convenient provision- if you work in a hazardous profession, you can retire with full pension at the age of 50. There are about 450 professions classified as hazardous. One of them is hairdresser.Yep, you read that right, in Greece, hairdresser is a hazardous profession. So if you are a hairdresser, you can retire with full state pension at the age of 50.
All other entitlements- healthcare, education, unemployment benefits, housing, etc., are of course there.
With these securities in place, Greeks did what all other Europeans have done: They stopped having babies. If government is there to take care of you from cradle to grave, why go to the trouble of maintaining families and having babies?
Its fertility rate is just 1.41. (World Bank in fact put the figure at 1.29 in 2013) So there are not enough Greek nephews to take care of the old age pensions and medical care of Greek uncles.
Greeks are discovering the hard way the two inescapable facts of life:
1. Government doesn’t have infinite money
2. Government has no money of its own. If there are no taxpayers around, government earns nothing.
But uncles say,”We don’t give a damn. We don’t care how you arrange the money. Just keep our Welfare cheques coming. Otherwise we will burn down our own cities.”
The dispute right now is that Greeks want their entitlements to continue, to be paid by the rest of Europe, whereas rest of Europeans are not ready to pick up the tab. How cruel of them, those Europeans! They all profess to be socialists but are not ready to take care their poor brethren in Greece.
What is happening in Greece, and in the rest of Europe as well, is that the latest avatar of Socialism-the Welfare State- has bombed big time. It was inevitable by the very design of Socialism.
Socialists through their control of media may put any spin to it, but the fact is that their latest project of collectivising only incomes (and not means of production or property) has also ended up destroying some of the richest and most advanced countries on the planet- the Welfare States of Europe.
Once citizenry is made to believe that they are entitled to other people's money, they do not stop till bankruptcy
Absolute and mathematical laws of nature apply to us all. Just as a family can not consume for long more than what it earns, so can not a country. When human beings came out of jungle to form human settlements, they had this sacred covenant,"Who doesn't work, doesn't eat "
Leftists more often than not succeed in convincing enough people that they can, and this covenant is nothing but a cruel stratagem of the haves. If you convince enough people that this covenant is nothing but a cruelty of the haves, you may indeed seize power through votes or through violence, but no majority is ever known to possess powers to suspend laws of nature. If all 100% people vote that when you jump off a cliff, you would go up, it doesn't happen that way. The law of gravity is indeed cruel, in a kind and merciful world we should just float gently in the air. But the law is there, and we have no choice about it.
Role of populist Politics
When the Greek government asked govt employees to be content with only 12 paycheques per year, instead of 14 as is the norm now, they burned down a govt bank, along with two employees in it. Welfare State turns citizen-state relationship to that of a drug-addict and drug pusher. Once citizens get addicted to freebies, short of total collapse nothing can convince them to give them up, almost in all cases. Brits rioted when govt asked them to pay a larger share of college expenses. And politicians are like the drug pusher. He can see he is killing his client. But he can't let go of his profits.
The moral is simple enough
We can not consume more than we produce. Nor individually as a family, nor collectively as a country
.. contrary to what socialism would want us to believe.