Over the past five years much has been written about the seemingly never ending Greek crisis. I won’t add to that but would encourage you to read David Davis powerful condemnation of the path taken to this mess. And then this weekend we had a referendum which was more of a farce if it weren’t so real. No one, including much brighter minds than mine, know what a NO will actually mean. No wonder; the wording of the resolution was ambiguous at best (the Euro is not even mentioned!) and voters were being asked to consider a proposal from creditors that may have or may have not actually be on the table. I have a degree in finance and can barely make head or tail of it -it seems a bit unfair to have asked the Greek populace to vote on something so complicated and with no certain outcomes.
Amidst all of this talk of bailout conditions, troikas, Grexit, etc., there is an ongoing human tragedy underway. The numbers speak for themselves, GDP shrunk by 27%, FOOD CONSUMPTION down by 29%, unemployment at 25%, youth employment nearly 60%. Against this back drop, over the past five years an estimated 2% (200,000) of the Greek population have left the country; one of the biggest brain drains to occur to a developed economy in modern times. Here in UK, we are unexpected beneficiaries of this tragedy; over half the Greek émigrés have come to our shores – we are hosts to what the Guardian termed Generation G-Young, Talented and Greek. These are the very people with the skills, talent and energy that will be required to rebuild the Greek economy. And it is not just human talent that has left; fast growing Grecian technology companies such as InternetQ and Globoq have also chosen to relocate to London. As much as I champion London’s role as Europe’s technology hub and value the diversity and depth of our talent, in this case I must wonder if London’s position as a magnet is playing a part in depriving Greece of the talent that they will surely need to rebuild their economy?
For young professional Greeks such as Yannis Pagonas, the only option is to leave Greece in search of economies, such as England's, which help young entrepreneurs, whereas the Greek govt and their appalling politicians have mainly ignored them and not addressed the problems inherent in their economy in lieu of giving out huge pensions to a minority of their population.
If you want to help out, there is a crowdfunding campaign to support Greece on going at Indiegogo. Hopefully these funds will go directly to the education of young Grecians and not line the pockets of their corrupt politicians. It’s certainly well meaning and over 100,000 people have already donated over €1.0 million –unfortunately that’s a bit short of its €1.6 billion needed to repay the IMF loan and a drop in the bucket compared to the country’s estimated €340 billion in liabilities.
By Ashok Parekh, Director of Investment Services