I listened to this the other day on BBC Radio:
Children are being abandoned on Greece’s streets by their poverty-stricken families who cannot afford to look after them any more.
Youngsters are being dumped by their parents who are struggling to make ends meet in what is fast becoming the most tragic human consequence of the Euro crisis.
It comes as pharmacists revealed the country had almost run out of aspirin, as multi-billion euro austerity measures filter their way through society.
The report is worth reading, if not a bit hyperbolic. The picture of the child in the UK Daily Mail is, indeed, a stock photo… not an abandoned child. In fact, that child is probably making money compared to some.
Greece’s inability to cope with its spending is the reason for the shortfalls, and austerity without a plan for economic growth is no plan at all. Austerity measures inevitably create that downward spiral unless the government can arrest the decline in government spending and/or peel back the socialist command economy.
The nations of Eastern Europe after 1989 have much to teach in this regard. Romania and other nations more deeply wedded to the idea of socialism as a mode of economy took their time adjusting to the European common (and relatively, more free) market, whereas nations that had socialism imposed such as Czechoslovakia and Poland were very quick to throw off those shackles.
The result? Poland thrives alongside Germany as one of Europe’s more stable economies. The Czech Republic continues to thrive as well, alongside several Eastern European economies that are emerging in the region (Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia, and even tiny Kosovo).
The lesson? The sooner you allow the old system to collapse and allow the free market to clear the muddy stream, the faster one can resolve issues of poverty and bureaucratic largess. The longer you wait, the more painful the recovery.