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EU: Sliding.. to hell
  • Greece

    Greece's deep recession has forced almost a third of businesses in the capital's commercial district to close down as shrinking incomes and frequent strikes drive Athenians away.

    Tens of thousands of small businesses, which make up a big chunk of the struggling economy, have shut since Greece secured a 110-billion-euro bailout package in 2010 in exchange for promises of painful austerity measures.

    On the capital's cobbled pedestrian shopping streets, long lines of shops are boarded shut while others have «Everything must go» signs plastered across their windows. Some arcades, once bustling with activity, are empty and enclosed by derelict buildings.

    In the city's «commercial triangle», where generations of merchants had run successful businesses a stone's throw from the central Syntagma Square, an August census by retail lobby group ESEE found 31 percent of shops had closed.





  • 17 Replies sorted by
  • Now the IMF is demanding a new round of even deeper cuts. I believe it is no longer a recession in Greece, it is a depression already, just as in 1997, the IMF demands set back Indonesia 15 years

  • We spent a week in and around Athens. It's looked liked a nightmare with no way out. Feel very sad for the people of Greece.

  • It is just good to understand that it won't be only Greece or EU :-)

    System is collapsing, in slow motion.
    Elites have two main goals:

    1. They want to control the process so it won't go out of control and kill them.
    2. They also want to keep strong independent countries from forming up.
  • It's time to back to basics , build a well, make kitchen garden, hunt with a bow ... :p

  • In a way I hope the system will collapse , but if so not only in europe, but capitalism in the whole world. I am looking forward to something new

  • I feel like in reality it's not going to be so romantic.

  • Okay true. But we are already destroying ourselves and the world and being afraid doesn't help either. So better be positive & romantic

  • I'm with jweeke, what the fuck are you talking about tommy? global anarchy will literally be worse than anything you could dream up and by the time the world recovers we will all be dead either from old age or cannibalistic neighbors. Want a visual representation of what it could be like? Take a peeksy at the VICE guide to Liberia.

    I don't like the current global political system but the future is 100% terrifying.

  • Does anyone know if people are going hungry in Greece? I read some stuff on MSN that hunger has become a significant issue in Spain. But I never see anything but anecdotal evidence.

    @Vitaliy , in your estimation, which countries potentially might emerge and become powerful?

  • I was in Argentina in 2000 just before the economy collapsed. It's frightening how quickly things can descend from order into chaos. Hyper inflation was raging and the banks shut their doors and literally stole what was left of people's savings. The President and his cronies fled the scene of the economic crime they had presided over.

    Many formerly comfortable middle class people were suddenly struggling to feed their own children after the collapse. Protesters were met with tear gas, rubber bullets and in some cases the real thing. None of us think it will happen to us. Based on where we are undoubtedly heading I wouldn't be so sure.

    Argentina was not a third world country and most Argentinians had enjoyed a relatively good standard of living preceding the collapse.

    One can only ponder the reasons for the US Department of Homeland Security recently buying up 100's of millions of bullets?

  • When I was in France early this year, there were several reports on TV about soup kitchens run by the Orthodox Church. The lines were very long in those reports.

  • All true.

    10 Bonus Points to the first to identify the idiot savant who recommended that one "Tend your own Garden."


  • @RBD

    Generally, this was not idiot :-) Your own garden will help very much. Can tell you as guy with expirience :-)

  • I did a permaculture design course two years ago. I have a vegetable garden, two 9000 liter water tanks and a wood fire stove. Am about to install PV solar panels plus solar hot water. Electricity costs here in Melbourne, Australia have risen about 75% in the past four years. Chickens are coming in the new year. ;>)

  • As for hunger in Spain I can confirm it's visible there. Been shooting at a local food bank (distributes food waste among the poor). They said over 125 000 people in Barcelona rely on their support since after the crisis began. In Madrid old people are collecting scraps of food after street markets. So it is spiraling out of control. But Greece is miles ahead of everybody else. Reminds me of Argentina in 2000. That's why we are trying hard to go to Buenos Aires to make comparisons.


    MADRID — On a recent evening, a hip-looking young woman was sorting through a stack of crates outside a fruit and vegetable store here in the working-class neighborhood of Vallecas as it shut down for the night.At first glance, she looked as if she might be a store employee. But no. The young woman was looking through the day’s trash for her next meal. Already, she had found a dozen aging potatoes she deemed edible and loaded them onto a luggage cart parked nearby.

    “When you don’t have enough money,” she said, declining to give her name, “this is what there is.”

    The woman, 33, said that she had once worked at the post office but that her unemployment benefits had run out and she was living now on 400 euros a month, about $520. She was squatting with some friends in a building that still had water and electricity, while collecting “a little of everything” from the garbage after stores closed and the streets were dark and quiet.

    Such survival tactics are becoming increasingly commonplace here, with an unemployment rate over 50 percent among young people and more and more households having adults without jobs. So pervasive is the problem of scavenging that one Spanish city has resorted to installing locks on supermarket trash bins as a public health precaution.

    A report this year by a Catholic charity, Caritas, said that it had fed nearly one million hungry Spaniards in 2010, more than twice as many as in 2007. That number rose again in 2011 by 65,000.

    As Spain tries desperately to meet its budget targets, it has been forced to embark on the same path as Greece, introducing one austerity measure after another, cutting jobs, salaries, pensions and benefits, even as the economy continues to shrink.

    Most recently, the government raised the value-added tax three percentage points, to 21 percent, on most goods, and two percentage points on many food items, making life just that much harder for those on the edge. Little relief is in sight as the country’s regional governments, facing their own budget crisis, are chipping away at a range of previously free services, including school lunches for low-income families.

    For a growing number, the food in garbage bins helps make ends meet.

    At the huge wholesale fruit and vegetable market on the outskirts of this city recently, workers bustled, loading crates onto trucks. But in virtually every bay, there were men and women furtively collecting items that had rolled into the gutter.

    “It’s against the dignity of these people to have to look for food in this manner,” said Eduardo Berloso, an official in Girona, the city that padlocked its supermarket trash bins.

  • Improvements in Greece are easy to spot:

    Care sales for August - 3.886, from January till August - 42.072

    One year ago for same month - 7.297, from January till August - 72.513

    In 2008, for August - 19.819, from January till August - 208.920

    As you can see, green shoots literally everywhere.