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garrigue

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  • garrigue
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        Thanks Latsida. Very rousing. No doubt goes back to the freedom from the Turks.

        Garrigue

        Compare hotel prices and find the best deal - HotelsCombined.com
        BullionVault

        in reply to: Private company has Patented the Rights of Greek National Anthem #45825
        garrigue
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            Does anyone know the words translated into English? It would be interesting to know what they are singing about.

            in reply to: Cost of Living #19379
            garrigue
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                Don’t they say that people get the politicians they deserve?

                in reply to: Cost of Living #19332
                garrigue
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                    Herby, is there something wrong with immigrants outnumbering the local population?

                    in reply to: Cost of Living #19331
                    garrigue
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                        Smack on Topdriller.

                        It’s also worth noting that at least for some and probably many their current difficult situations are do a degree a consequence of their own decisions. In many economies around the world where social benefit systems are not considered to be particularly supportive (though this cannot really be said to apply to Greece), people save for the possibility of such hard times.

                        Garrigue

                        PS: I don’t think the word save is now in the new dictionaries, so for those who don’t have an old dictionary, its meaning is "to keep safe or rescue from harm or danger" – in this case money.

                        in reply to: Cost of Living #19299
                        garrigue
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                            Latsida, costs may go up, but if your business drifts away then lower profits or losses will result. Better to keep the trade even if profits are lower or some losses are incured.

                            In fact, British exporters have yet to learn the lesson. Whenever the exchange rate goes for them and their profits rise they pocket the cash. The Germans forego the higher profits and lower the destinaton country price to encourage sales. This way they gain market share and, as we know, in certain sectors, particularly machine tools, dominate.

                            Greece has got to become competitive and remain so, ie with a stable currency and low inflation.

                            in reply to: 12/12/12 Are We Doomed? #44364
                            garrigue
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                                Many say the world as we knew it has already ended and we are on the slippery slope to fiscal rectitude.

                                in reply to: Electricity Bills to rise steeply #43972
                                garrigue
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                                    I guess its an easy fund raiser. Who can switch off? I don’t really know how prices compare with what realistic market prices would be, but I imagine eventually that will be the end result.

                                    in reply to: Cost of Living #19295
                                    garrigue
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                                        Latsida, could this be a new dawn in delivering value for money to clients. Looks great. Bums on seats (or should I say people in beds) drives profits. Fill them up.

                                        A couple of years ago in the harbour in Chania my wife took a continual train of summer visitors for a meal. As often she ended up paying she went to the same restaurant several times – I even went twice! It offered a cheap, but good value menu deal. It was always full. The restaurants either side were only busy at the peak times. They just did not get it.

                                        In the US when custom is thin on the ground they quickly reduce prices to tempt the customer to part with the filthy luka; in Greece they seem to put up prices in order to make the same income. It may work for a while, but soon fails.

                                        in reply to: Windows 8 #43324
                                        garrigue
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                                            We bought ourselves a new windows 8 toy as well. It’s got a touch screen. We changed from a traditional desk top to a telly like thing from Lenovo. Its got no wires and everything built in. So far we have done little more than switch on, admire and switch off. Still working on the old machine now. I suspect we will have our moments mastering the new technology, which I have to say looks impressive.

                                            in reply to: Cost of Living #19278
                                            garrigue
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                                                I do recall the Wilson devaluation. Remember the speech about "The pound in your pocket" and how it would be worth the same. I also recall Wilson’s "white hot industrial revolution" and how it would transform manufacturing industry. What a disaster these policies were for the UK. Wilson set the ball rolling by taking the easy option, Callaghan (can’t spell his name0 followed. Heath was another idiot. Manufacturing sadly declined and declined with the continued depreciation of the pound in those days doing little, if anything, to avert it.

                                                Only Thatcher had the balls to stand up to the Unions. Yes, manufacturing industry declined further, but at least she put in place the structural reforms that led to the 90s and early 2000s growth. Unfortunately, Blair made a mess of it all and manufacturing industry declined under him and Brown even more than Thatcher.

                                                The truth is that you cannot successfully devalue your way out of a mess. History, not just in the UK, has shown these quick fixes to fail lamentably time again. To create lasting wealth, businesses need to be built on solid foundations of innovation, efficiency and other sustainable advantages.

                                                We will clearly have to agree to disagree.

                                                Nevertheless, at least for now, the situation is that Greece is in the euro. Whilst ever that is the case it needs to make the required reforms to enable businesses to succeed, which is clearly requiring signficant sacrifice and will continue to do so.

                                                I see now for the first time Merkel has acknowledged that some more of Greece’s debt will need to be written off, but only when it has acheived a budget surplus – just as I have been saying. Eventually it will be a whole stack of money. It will not be until after the German elections next year, but after that expect the Irish, Portuguese etc to join the haircut party.

                                                I also see that Greece has put in place its bond buyback programme. I believe the expected discount is 67% ie the government will pay 33 cents on the dollar. The biggest losers are going to be the Greek bank who will make losses of about $4bn. This will deplete their capital and in a world of fractional reserve banking this means that loans to industry, commerce and individuals will take a very substantially greater hit.

                                                in reply to: Cost of Living #19270
                                                garrigue
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                                                    Hi YoMo, my presumption is that Greece will not leave the euro and so there will be no devaluation. In this scenario Greece will need to grow genuinely internationally competitive industries and services.

                                                    If Greece does leave the euro there would be a very temporary labour cost advantage that would quite quickly (2 to maybe 4 years) be eroded by rampant inflation. I cannot see the Greeks accepting massive cuts in income (drachma devaluation) or, put another way, massive rises in their living costs (due imported costs rising due to devaluation). They would surely demand and need, unless they starve, much higher wages because of the extent of drachma devaluation.

                                                    The low cost industries you speak of would take years to develop so as to replace imports.  Even that would only be if businessmen have the confidence to invest for fear of unknown high inflation and potentially unfriendly business environment. Also would lenders be prepared to lend Greece the money! There is not much chance of that after a default. The other question that must be asked is whether these industries would even then be competitive. They would in many cases be quite inefficient due to being sub-scale and maybe no cheaper despite lower labour costs – which could only be maintained by further devaluation to offset the rampant inflation.

                                                    In my view it is best to face the music now and build genuinely competitive services and industries within the stable currency, low inflation eurozone framework.

                                                    in reply to: Cost of Living #19268
                                                    garrigue
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                                                        YoMo2 I am very sympathetic to the intentions behind what you are saying. I just do not think it is very realisitic. I recall years ago the Buy British campaign. It was a failure because people were free to buy what they wanted. Generally, people buy the best and the cheapest. Given the average Greek family’s difficult financial circumstances I can’t see this changing short of statute forcing local purchases – which is not allowed under EU law.

                                                        As I said, Greece needs to develop scale industries in areas in which it has natural advantages. Tourism is one and I still regard agriculture as another.

                                                        The tourism issue is inevitably a trade off between how much development and wealth generation. It’s one for the Greek’s to decide, but if they want to maintain (or improve) their living standards then it seems to me that the barriers need to be removed.

                                                        I don’t have the statistics, but I recall two or three years ago a guy who owns one of the garden centres near Chania telling me that far too much land was out of production because it was far too fragmented to be profitable. He thought the inheritance laws needed to change and ways found to consolidate land. He said (I don’t know if he still does) he bought his plants (but probably not them all) from Sicily!

                                                        My guess is that there is still far, far too much red tape and protectionism in Greece to enable entrepreneurs to succeed. It was one of the Eurozone/IMF’s first demands that whole swaths of Greek industry and commerce be de-regulated ie cosy protectionism removed. Remember the lorry drivers issue.

                                                        I am optimistic that Greece can develop other long-term scale industries, but this will only happen if the conditions permit it. Business people and particularly innovators need to be set free and allowed to leverage off the advantages that Greece has, including a highly educated workforce.

                                                        in reply to: Cost of Living #19261
                                                        garrigue
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                                                            Whilst I personally would not recommend going back to the land I suspect that strategy would be a lot more successful (that is to say it would be much less of a disaster) than going back to basics if that means making leather bags and penknifes. The problem with forgetting about buying imported cars, fridges and TVs is that you would have to walk home, drink warm beer and contemplate your navel for the rest of the evening. Come on guys how realistic is this.

                                                            I am not surprised that boutique type shops are closing. With tourism substantially down there is less demand from visitors and the Cretans are probably saving up for the possibility of tax payments – a novel experience. I was shocked two of summers ago in Rethimno when I saw a Timberland shop selling kit (I love their shoes) at prices I would not pay in the UK. There were several other up market boutiques in that parade and it was well away from the harbour area. How can Cretans afford that kind of stuff? One other thing worthy of note is that in the UK approximately 20% of unit shops are vacant.

                                                            Greece needs to develop scale industries where it has natural advantages. Tourism and agriculture are two and they are under exploited. However, both need substantial changes in the law before they can flouish. For example, for agriculture to grow, farms need to be substantially larger to benefit from scale economies and new methods. This requires consolidation of land.

                                                            The high level of bureaucracy clearly hinders growth. You don’t seem to be able to do much more than breath without a permit. However, I guess all this regulation is necessary to preserve employment levels in government and may well be the reason government are afraid of dismantling it.

                                                            in reply to: puting up a shed #43588
                                                            garrigue
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                                                                By the sound of it, it will be illegal, so what you do about it depends on whether when you come to sell you are prepared to take it down. If you are then, as Del Boy, you probably don’t need to worry about it. If you do want to sell it as part of the property (perhaps because it cost quite a bit and it adds value) then you will need building permission for it and maybe pay IKA. I hear that some people have been building add ons without permission because it costs too much and then legalising them because its cheaper that way. That is not supposed to be done. Best ask a civil engineer.

                                                                in reply to: Cost of Living #19245
                                                                garrigue
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                                                                    Hi Topdriller, one thing they could do is get serious about tax collection. There are billions owing that are begging to be collected. I have the impression they are toying with the matter. There are too many vested interests.

                                                                    Here are a few ideas:
                                                                    1) Introduce automatic non-cancellable fines of 100% per annum for any tax not paid on time.
                                                                    2) Automatic prison sentences for anyone convicted of tax evansion of more than €100,000 starting at 6 months actual term and increasing depending on the amount.
                                                                    3) Introduce electronic tax records to assist detection of fraud.
                                                                    4) Immediately dimiss any employee of the various tax authorities who is judged to have been involved in fraud – OK I know this is probably quite a few, but think of the employment cost savings. Where proven, send them automatically to prison.
                                                                    5) Introduce incentives to report tax evaders. Payments will depend on level of tax recovery. The idea is a bit like those guys from banks who provided lists of various people.
                                                                    6) Change the legal system to substantially simplify tax cases and require them to be determined within 6 months. 
                                                                    7) Subcontract tax collection on a commission basis to accountancy firms. This would probably leave the government flooded with takers.

                                                                    It’s time to forget about politics and pride and get on with the job of mending the country and looking after its long term interests – particularly the future of the young.

                                                                    At the end of the day Greece needs to get its house in order. If it does that and sticks with it there will be a basis for a negotiated debt forgiveness in due course. 190% debt to GDP is too high and everyone knows that. Right now further foregiveness cannot be sold to the German, Dutch etc electorates, ie those footing the bill.

                                                                    in reply to: Cost of Living #19239
                                                                    garrigue
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                                                                        Quite a few commented in the past that Greece should follow Argentina’s example because of the apparent success of their default.

                                                                        I see this week that there was a massivive $1.3 bn court judgement against them in the US. This was in relation to bond holders who did not accept a compromise deal, ie the court ruled they should get the whole lot back. The ruling also required Argentina to pay those who did accept the deal – at the reduced sum I believe. The problem is that unless Argentina pays the whole lot, ie both the $1.3 bn and the sums due to the accepting bondholders, it will be judged to have defaulted again on its debts. So after 10 years (or something like that) they are still in dire trouble. They are still very largely locked out of the internatonal debt markets.

                                                                        I see also that currently in this global world of low inflation the inflation rate in Argentina is 25% pa! In the same article I was reminded that earlier this year Argentina sequestrated its largest oil company from its Spanish owner for, apparently, not investing enough! The Spaniards did not get a cent.

                                                                        I guess the trouble with reneging on your commitments, whoever you are, individual, corporation or country, is where does it stop and where does it lead you to. In Argentina’s case it looks like continued misery. In Greece’s case I think it would likely be a whole lot worse.

                                                                        in reply to: Cost of Living #19230
                                                                        garrigue
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                                                                            Hi YoMo2, you say "We need to get rid of the debt burden that has been loaded on to us". I beg your pardon, but was it not the Greeks themselves that loaded the debt on themselves! It was after all them that spent the money and already they have had a substantial debt write off. So far its been a bit like borrowing a £100 from a bank at a low interest rate and on top of that getting a £100 cash back! My guess is that eventually Greece will probably pay back about 10p for every pound it has borrowed. I don’t think anyone can complain about that. As regards kicking the can down the road, that is what the Greeks have done consistently over many years – nobody wants any change. It is Merkel and Co who are saying enough is enough, now the music stops – fix it now.

                                                                            YoMo2, how do you justify your comment "And the fact that most Greeks want to stay in the euro means nothing". Opinion poll after opinion poll during the election consistently showed a large majority of Greeks wanting to stay in the EU and eurozone. I guess they don’t say that sort of thing for entirely no reason. Perhaps they like the idea of being able to rely on something. I must say I get the impression from you and Topdriller of a going back to the land mentality. It’s just not realistic.

                                                                            I am sure you are right Topdriller that the 18% of Greece’s economy that is the Tourist industry will benefit from a move to the drachma. So lets say it grows at 10% pa (very high) for 2 or 3 years (until Greece is full). That might add 5 to 7% to GDP. I don’t think it is going to make up for the 20% of GDP lost in the recession so far or the further 20 to 30% that might be lost from a move to the drachma. Also, if Greece defaults I doubt anyone would be rushing to build factories in Greece no matter the cost of labour being cheap. Most businesses looking at overseees expansion want first and foremost be sure their investment is safe. Nobody would lend Greece anything. It would be completely devoid of the capital needed to invest in expanding its industries.

                                                                            in reply to: Cost of Living #19223
                                                                            garrigue
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                                                                                For sometime I have been of the view that there will have to be a further massive debt write-off. Now I see the press are starting to talk about the idea. It is inevitable, but it will not happen for a quite while. Last summer Merkel decided Greece was no longer a no hope case and she surely knows the debt write-off is coming. However, as she is the paymaster, she is going to make sure that Greece gets its house in order first. She or a successor has to justify it to the German electorate.

                                                                                Also, for this reason there will be no let up in the austerity. The only other option is to leave the euro and go back to the drachma. Most Greeks want to stay in the euro and, in my opinion, for good reason. Despite the current pain, most believe the move back to the drachma would be instantly catastrophic at least in the short-term and most probably for quite a number of years afterwards. Why otherwise have the “failed” centrist parties with their pro-euro policies still clung to power?

                                                                                in reply to: Cost of Living #19222
                                                                                garrigue
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                                                                                    For sometime I have been of the view that there will have to be a further massive debt write-off. Now I see the press are starting to talk about the idea. It is inevitable, but it will not happen for a quite while. Last summer Merkel decided Greece was no longer a no hope case and she surely knows the debt write-off is coming. However, as she is the paymaster, she is going to make sure that Greece gets its house in order first. She or a successor has to justify it to the German electorate.

                                                                                    Also, for this reason there will be no let up in the austerity. The only other option is to leave the euro and go back to the drachma. Most Greeks want to stay in the euro and, in my opinion, for good reason. Despite the current pain, most believe the move back to the drachma would be instantly catastrophic at least in the short-term and most probably for quite a number of years afterwards. Why otherwise have the “failed” centrist parties with their pro-euro policies still clung to power?

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