Archive for July, 2012

I used to say Greek Americans had more pride in Greece than Greeks.

That changed a few years ago… when Greece hosted an amazing Olympic Games… and even won a giant international basketball tournament… finally, a whole bunch of sorely-needed civic pride!

Given the turmoil in Greece today, I have no idea where civic pride stands.

But I do know Greece had a huge soccer match against Germany a few weeks back… actually, on the eve of their big political elections.

In a bizarre and unexpected “sports imitating life” scenario, the Germans were greatly favored… just like in real life.

To win, the Greeks were going to need a glorious upset… just like in real life.

And, go figure, the Greeks won!

As a second generation Greek American, I should feel ebullient.

But, strangely, almost sadly, I don’t.

I know the soccer match wasn’t a referendum on Greek vs. German fiscal philosophy… but it certainly felt like it.  I felt myself rooting for the team that comes from a much more responsible place…

… said another way, I can’t cheer for the currently irresponsible way of life in Greece to win.

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I can’t find the article… but a few weeks back, when Greece was in the headlines preparing for their big elections, I read an amazing article about Latvia.

Latvia (not to be mistaken with Latveria, the country Dr. Doom rules) is a small country in Northern Europe.  They were a giant mess, just like Greece.

But unlike Greece, they did not wallow in the feeling that they were somehow being punished (i.e., the dreaded “austerity” word)…

… and instead of just rolling over and dying, they moved forward by being more responsible.

The results?

They did what everyone said was impossible.

From Business Insider:

     Latvia enacted fiscal cuts worth a massive 18% of its GDP over 3 years and cut public sector wages by up to 40%. Latvia’s GDP dropped 25% in 2009, which was Europe’s worst recession. Despite all of that, they managed to grow 5.5% in 2011.

Greece… and all of Europe… heck, even the U.S… could learn a valuable lesson here.

Three cheers for Latvia, my new favorite country in the world!

Update:  Responsibility (vs. “austerity”) seems to be working in Ireland, too!

Update #2:  Looks like Ireland is the first bailed out Euro country to come back to the credit market as well.