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It sounds absolutely mad. How else are you to deal with a bloated public sector?

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 02:50:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greece has never had such a problem to deal with, so I guess we don't know.

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.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 03:00:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
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.

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.

by Starvid on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 03:06:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
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.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 03:23:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't find the sources, sorry. I think our Greek ET members could tell us what the true state of the Greek school system is.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 03:29:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No. Greece has neither the most bloated public sector (see link in the main post above where cutting P/S jobs are mentioned) nor a bloated school system.

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

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 06:44:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From what I understand, when Sweden had a significantly smaller public sector it was the same here (except not in the constitution). Fast tjänst back then meant employment for life.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 03:23:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Only if you were a military officer or university professor or a judge.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 03:30:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One reason such laws are installed is that frequently such jobs are below the paygrade for one's qualifications. This is how it works in the USA. A government job typically means you are trading income for long-term stability, and that your decision to enter the government workforce means you are practically exempting yourself from work in other sectors (obviously, in cases such as the IRS or political positions, this is not the case).
by Upstate NY on Tue Feb 21st, 2012 at 10:54:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Apparently, per capita, it is not at all bloated with respect to EU norms.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 03:27:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm pretty sure I read that it was actually one of the smallest -per capita of course.

Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Gandhi
by Cyrille (cyrillev domain yahoo.fr) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 05:56:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which is why it needs to be reduced.

tens of millions of people stand to see their lives ruined because the bureaucrats at the ECB don't understand introductory economics -- Dean Baker
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 06:02:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually you read it at the top of this page :-) I relink and requote:

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%.


The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Mon Feb 20th, 2012 at 06:48:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well if there's fire under all the smoke about corruption in greece, where exactly is it?

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Feb 21st, 2012 at 10:41:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Transparency and accountability will get rid of corruption. And if that's in the troika's program, I must have missed it.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Feb 21st, 2012 at 10:59:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Transparency and accountability will get rid of corruption.

I would argue that it is most probable that this is deliberate and that the whole program being enacted is just a control fraud that operates through the control of EMU governing apparatus for the corrupt benefit of client bankers and wealth holders. If German citizens think that this vacuum cleaner will not come to their assets when returns from foreign operations diminish they need only look at the USA.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Feb 21st, 2012 at 02:05:08 PM EST
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