I am interested in this forum and this subject because I have family in Greece.
I lived in Greece when it was an exporting country and I'm not talking about olives or olive oil. Before the Euro, Greece was competitive in textiles and clothing and probably many other products.
I know this because I exported Greek underwear and clothing to the U.S. and I knew many manufactures and agents in Greece that worked with the major retailers in the U.K., Germany, Scandanavia and other regions of Europe and shipped large quantities of clothing to these areas.
Because of the Euro Greece is no longer a viable exporter of basic goods that are easy to produce. Because of this Greece has become an import country instead of an export country. Because of this, the Eastern Block is the 'go to' region for inexpensive product.
Tourism could double, possibly triple if Greece went back to a Drachma that was based on local values and not values established in Germany, France, and other wealthy countries in the Euro zone.
I visit Greece every year and the price of clothing, mostly now imported, is unrealistically high and frankly, I don't know how people making a normal wage can afford them or even a cup of coffee.
Greece has paid a very heavy price for wanting to be considered a Eurpoean nation. It is no more Europe then Turkey or Afganastan and I never understood what the attraction or advantage was.
For many years poor Greek people came to Europe and the U.S. to work and send their money back to Greece. In many cases, if they sent the money back for real estate they received a hugh tax benifit. There was a financial incentive which does not exist any longer.
It would be a painful re-entery to the Drachma but it will make Greece a viable exporter again and there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. Now, there is only intimidation and embarassement for a proud people who have been around longer than most civilizations.
Message posted by Viv D on 24áSeptemberá2011 at 8:59am - IP Logged
I agree with much of what you say and I distinctly remember importing hand-made bathroom tiles individually painted from Greece and that was 30 years ago.
I think in the battle to make all countries equal that Greece lost much of what it had to offer the rest of the world and whilst I think it inevitable that the expansion of Europe will continue unabated, that there should still be room for individual countries to maintain their independence within it. Its why I think the UK should persevere with its resistance to EU policies and certainly not adopt the Euro.
If the EU didn't have the desire to turn every country into a TESCO clone we would all be the better for it.
Message posted by doug on 25áSeptemberá2011 at 5:36am - IP Logged
I wish that it would be so simple to get Greece back on it's feet.
Most European countries have lost their industries due to cheap labour in places like China and I could not see any of the European countries being able to compete in this modern world.
Although the Drachma would make it could for tourism it would make it hard on the country to purchase goods from outside especialy oil/petrol etc.
Message posted by sue avrio on 25áSeptemberá2011 at 12:03pm - IP Logged
Agree Doug. It is mainly the older generation who wish to return to the 'good old drachma' and they generally do not understand that they are heavily reliant on imported goods now. They seem to think that everything will become inexpensive again. Will my builder drop his fees, would be great but I doubt it. The drachma will be another currency to trade against the euro. Agree that it could be good for tourism particularly if it brings down costs in tavernas etc due to locally produced goods!!!
Message posted by Sid Ari on 25áSeptemberá2011 at 12:19pm - IP Logged
It looks like 'the good old Drachma' will be back. It has been decided by the EU/G20 that Greece WILL default and leave the eurozone. So what will this now mean? What will the Drachma be worth? Will domestic prices dramatically drop? Will tourists flock back in their millions again? Or will Greece become the Zimbabwe of Europe? What do you think?
Message posted by LESK on 25áSeptemberá2011 at 12:32pm - IP Logged
I don't think its right that the older people want to 'return' to the drachma because historically it was a good currency, I also think its a little patronising to say we don't understand that things have changed... quite the opposite I think in that older people have the farsight to understand that things CAN and DO change, and sometimes for the better but often for the worse.
Yes, there is no going back, but there is always the ability to go forward and a NEW drachma and a NEW independence to find one's own way specific for Greece's needs is a far better option than being tied to a yoke and forced to grind relentlessly around on a wheel pumping up water from a well for others to enjoy.
As for things becoming inexpensive again, well! actually they might.. not within Greece but certainly without in that the EU and úSterling will be external stronger currencies and will be seen as desirable to hold and therefore favourable on exchange rates.
This will then drive their export market (where there is currently NO incentive to buy from Greece) and also bring in much more tourism. I quoted earlier about buying tiles from Greece 30 years ago... I couldn't afford to do that today because the Euro prices are prohibitive in comparison.
I believe that leaving the Euro will save Greece in that it should have never entered into the Euro in the first place because it was never going to be a fair and level playing field.
Message posted by Sid Ari on 25áSeptemberá2011 at 12:50pm - IP Logged
Some good points LESK however Greece HAD to join the euro and lied about the fact it was nearly broke anyway. On joining the eurozone under false pretences the Greek government began to splash the cash again thanks to their new found handouts. One main issue is that Greece has no longer got any major military or geo-political significance anymore - there is no reason for any imperial or coldwar patron to bail them out of the financial hole they are in this time - these were the reasons for British, Western European and American financial rescues before. They had the chance to start afresh before but blew it by not getting their house in order and thinking that the EU was a bottomless money pit and they could carry on partying no matter what. It now seems the party is over.
Message posted by sue avrio on 25áSeptemberá2011 at 12:59pm - IP Logged
My post was not intending to be patronising and what I mean't was that many of the elder greeks do not understand how reliant they are on imported goods, not a slur at the older generation in general. Gosh I am no 'spring chicken'either. I love the Greeks which is why I am building on Corfu and I agree that they should never have entered into the euro in the first place. Let's hope that any change is for the better.
Message posted by LESK on 25áSeptemberá2011 at 1:11pm - IP Logged
The only winners in this will be Germany and France who it has become clear have been protecting their own interests at a cost to everyone else including Greece. Just like the change from the Old money to the New money in the UK, prices increased by at least 2.5 times what they were and the same has happened in Greece since joining the failed Euro but prices have increased much more.
Message posted by tully on 25áSeptemberá2011 at 3:27pm - IP Logged
Greece defaulting and going back to the drachma has its good points and bad points.
The good being tourism, more appealing to business to base themselves there, thereby creating a stable economy
The bad the years in between for the people in the villages, where every day staples increase and pensions decrease.
But she has to do something to keep her dignity and taking the hit of a few bad years against a lifetime of being controlled by the other member states. Lets hope she makes the right decision and gets whats best for Greece.
Message posted by razaker on 25áSeptemberá2011 at 4:02pm - IP Logged
If Greece goes back to the drachma and becomes more competitive in industries that are already well established such as tourism, it will help it on its way to a new start. Compared to the old days of the drachma, the population is now much better-educated and some of the younger people, at least, have the potential to compete in new technologies such as solar energy.
As the imagination displayed in the opening to the Olympics and the beautiful new museums e.g. the Acropolis museum, Greeks are capable of rivalling Italy in the design field. And Korres is an example of a company that has prospered in the competitive beauty industry by highlighting the use of natural products produced in Greece.
But they have got to to get rid once and for all of the old system of patronage and nepotism that has sapped creativity and entrepreneurship!! Greeks are hard workers and high achievers outside Greece, but inside the country are hobbled by corruption, bureaucracy and closed professions.
Let's hope this painful period will lead to a rebirth of the Greek economy and enable the country to get back on its feet and take pride in having overcome this huge challenge.
Message posted by Susanna on 25áSeptemberá2011 at 5:24pm - IP Logged
I still believe that, no matter what we hear on the news, Greece will stay in the Euro. I'm not convinced that it will be a good thing, but am fairly certain that a return to the drachma would be a disaster, mostly because I do't think there are ANY cash reserves to fall back on, so the state would literally be unable to pay salaries/pensions/unemployment, etc.
Stuck between a rock and a hard place, in other words!
Sid Ari, I think you are absolutely right about the way Greece has been squandering its EU hand outs, but many many of us have been well aware of this for years and quite unable to do anything about it. Politicians are horrendously corrupt and when the "top" is corrupt it lends a helping hand for the bottom to follow suit. You cannot fully blame the man-in-the-street for fiddling his taxes when he knows full well that the bosses are doing just that and worse. You seem to be particularly upset about the situation that you are having to live with, but it might be worth considering that most of us (and I do think of myself as Greek having lived here for so long) feel very much the same. It isn't fair, it isn't right, but we have to deal with it or leave! You, at least, do have that option. In the long term your house will not lose its value, whatever happens to the euro or drachma. You can afford to sit it out. Lots of us do not have that luxury.
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