Desperation or taking a chance in the Greece crisis?
Greece is saved. The latest rescue package of 12 Billion Euros from the European Partners and the International Monetary Fund stabilises Greece’s and Europe’s financial markets and the euro-zone. At least for the moment . Seen from outside of the ever more indebted Hellenic country one might say that the decision of the socialist majority of the Greek parliamentarians from Wednesday 29 June 2011 was a rational and good decision for the Greek people. If only the desperate violent acts of the Greek population around the Hellenic Parliament and the Syntagma square would not exist. Their desperate behaviour demonstrate a slightly different attitude. The agglomerated violence, the aggressive fights, the arbitrary destruction and teargas on the streets show us the tremendous dissatisfaction of the people with the consequences of the bail-out.
But let´s be frank: Wouldn‘t you go out on the streets too, if your healthcare-system, your children´s education system, the pension system, wages and other elementary pillars of a social-welfare state are affected? The measures include new taxes, cuts of public expenses and the privatisation of state-owned major companies during the next five years. All these will have a considerable impact on the economic and social development of the country. The Minister of Finance Evangelos Venizelos himself remarks, that the measures are harsh and even unfair. Unfair especially because the greek average citizen did not cause the actual crises. But they will have to pay for it.
Why should the average Greek citizen accept only the negative consequences?
Let’s assume, that this rescue programme with all it’s presuppositions was absolutely inevitable for Europe and for Greece – upon which we may agree or disagree. Let us accept this for now and focus on the next steps, on the chance which the actual critical situation is giving and elaborate a social plan, let’s design a more just social society and wealth distribution, from which a relevant part of the Greek people can profit! One option is the participation of employees and citizens in the privatisation process by implementing employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) and general stock ownership plans (GSOPs).
The privatisation plan is not elaborated yet in its details, the process is not clear at the moment. But it will include among others the selling of the greek telecom OTE, shares of the major airports, 2 ports (Athens and Thessaloniki), gas companies, the public water company in Thessaloniki (supplying a basic commodity), the state lottery OPAP and others. Privatisation is expected to generate revenues of 50 Billion Euros to the treasury, which are earmarked for repaying the loans and for social expenditures.
So why not giving employees access to productive capital and put them in the position of being more independent by letting have shares in productive capital. This would make them less dependent from the grants or „generosity“ of the state. Rather than to sell 100% of the concerned enterprises to private (foreign) investors, let citizens and employees take a share of at least 10-20%. Since the privatisation process is not totally elaborated at the moment, this is the chance for the people on the streets to make their voice and their demands to be heard.
Greeks, do not let them to make you participate only in sharing the losses, risks and the public cuts! Claim your fair share in the action!
Tags: bail-out, EFP, Employee Financial Participation, employee stock ownership plan, ESOP, euro-crises, financial crises, general stock ownership plan, Greece, GSOP, privatisation, privatization, Social justice