Saturday 23 July 2011

What is Greece?

Greece isn't a European style welfare state like the major EU countries.  It's an odd little middle eastern country that happens, due to its location on the European side of the Bosporus and the historical accident that it's Christian rather than Muslim (unlike some other countries physically closer to the rest of Europe), to be technically European. This Vanity Fair article by Michael Lewis is the best explanation I've seen of the utter dysfunction of Greek society:

At the moment I am in southern France, an actual European-style welfare state, where they have been doing whatever the French do for at least 40,000 years and have the art to prove it.  The day to day medical care, 
according to the Americans who own the place we're staying and spend half  of their time in Palo Alto, is so much better than US care that it's not funny.  The food is fabulous, at least if you're not a vegetarian. The roads are paved, the trains run at 200 mph, the schools teach their kids. It's not perfect, but one could do a lot worse.