Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I know you asked Talos but reading anecdotal reports from the Greeks, even they have racialized and internalized the tax evasion and corruption issue. I know about the history of tax evasion and corruption (for instance, there's a mountainous region of Greece called the Agrafa which means, the Unwritten, and that literally refers to the fact to collect taxes because this huge swath of land was lawless, ungovernable and dangerous). So, going back to the Ottoman days, and a totally unfair tax policy of the Ottomans (based on ethnicity) the tax problem is supposedly ingrained. Couple that with split governments during the early part of the 20th century, wars, juntas, etc., and you don't have an actual market economy or polity established until 1981. Ironically, that's the start of the debt woes. Prior to that, Greece was at 25% debt to GDP for ages.

I don't buy this form of racialization that's been internalized even by Greeks. In the modern world, attitudes can change quickly, and they should have already in Greece. This isn't ingrained by any means (although I do allow that some of this is caused by the many mom-and-pop businesses and VAT, and that a proportion of the population in every country will play these games when in position to).

In order to get to the bottom of this tax evasion question, you'd have to look at the Greek tax code. I don't know much about it but Talos mentioned receipts. I've also read about other Greeks wanting to colelct receipts for taxis, so that they can enumerate on their tax all the taxes paid to VAT, which are then supposedly deductible.

For an American, this seems crazy. With a standard deduction, most Americans do not itemize, and we don't keep receipts either. So, for Greeks there may be an incentive to ask for a receipt from the cabbie, while in New York City, I jump out of the cab, slip a $10 to the cabbie, and off I go.

by Upstate NY on Fri May 14th, 2010 at 10:16:14 AM EST
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