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Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.
But people do, eventually, retire from the service. With 40 year careers, you'll have an average yearly turnover around 2½ %. If you want to shrink your government faster than that, then I guess you're SOL. My heart bleeds for you.
Sweden had a bloated public sector in the 70's and 80's. The 90's crisis dealt with that problem. We shed people far quicker than 2.5% per year in those days.
But we did have a floating currency, a strong social safety net and a strong demand for our export products. People who lost their jobs in the public sector had somewhere to go, and they were sheltered while they switched to new jobs. It didn't work perfectly, but here we are 20 years later and it seems it did work.
Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
Greece has the most bloated school system in Europe IIRC, which is still so bad that lots of kids get private tutoring on the side.
Wanna back up that claim with some actual data?
I see lots of derping about Greek government bloat, but every time I look up some actual data, it turns out that all the indicators are well within two sigma of the Eurozone average.
There is a relatively small pupil to teacher ratio which becomes smaller at the secondary level. Yet this coexists with large average class sizes. The only reason for this dicrepancy I can think of is that there is a huge number of high-schools with 1-20 children in total, in islands and mountainous areas. These have a small standing population but have to have a complete set of high-school teachers nonetheless. Also there is a huge number of part-timers of teachers paid by the hour, a trick to fill in the big gaps that existed in the school system. In real cities class size was ~20-25 pupils per class and is nearing 25-30 as parents are abandoning private schools en masse.
I think the relevant measure is public expenditure on education as a % of GDP. This does not show that Greece is spending too much on its teachers. The meme that Greece has too many teachers was started by a neoliberal politician named Stephanos Manos, who I really doubt knows a single person who sends their children to public school, so he has no first-hand experience. He saw some numbers somehow and was shocked that the plebes might be spending too much... My children go to a quiet suburban elementary school, where class size shot up from 19 to 23 this year. First grader numbers were up at ~25+ IIRC...
As for the quality of the school system. At primary level it isn't too bad, from there on it deteriorates, not least because Lyceum (the three years before one can take exams to enter the University) has been degraded to prep-school for higher education, and because the methods an strategies used are idiotic. Also because preparatory private schools have usually a much smaller pupil to teacher ratio and because it is a national neurosis. That would have been a separate diary but right now I don't expect that there will be much of a school system left after the cuts. Many schools already can't afford heating. Most schools haven't received the textbooks they are supposed to be teaching. At our children's elementary school the parents chipped in to buy soap and toilet paper. And things are getting worse.
BTW Sweden's public sector is now much, much larger than Greece's ever was as a percentage of total workforce...
The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
Greece has one of the lowest rates of public employment among OECD countries, with general government employing just 7.9% of the total labour force in 2008. This is a slight increase from 2000, when the rate was 6.8%.
can at least a microsopic part of these austerity policies do some good (devil's avocado), or are they 100% unremitting (heh) evil they seem?
if it's like italy, there's a lot of tax evasion, but when people see their tax money going to give emperor lifestyles to the politicians and little good services to the public they take the risk of not paying, justifying it by saying when they see tax money being spent better they'd be happier to pay taxes.
is it like that in greece?
corruption is so relative... in italy you'd get in serious trouble if you tried to bribe a cop for a traffic violation, in costa rica you'd get in more trouble if you didnt.
but everyone knows corruption is alive and well in the high echelons of italian state, organised crime and the MIC, utilities, energy companies, down to the local councils.
that book is being written every day. if austerity got rid of that, rather than teachers' salaries, pensions etc, we'd be out in the streets celebrating instead of protesting.
'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
Transparency and accountability will get rid of corruption.
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