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Sir Harold m

Greece

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Recent stay on a Greek Island for first time in twenty years or so. Used the journey and some time to study state of buildings , infastructure economic activity away from tourist bits etc

A few things struck me . 1) not a single penny of the 'wealth' enjoyed for the heady days of 98-08 appears to have gone on buildings, roads, schools etc . Unlike Spain which I visit each year and changes for the better ( infastructure wise ) every year, Greece is TOTALLY recognisable from the early 90's

2) car dealerships are everywhere but they look decrepit and not very busy

3) everything is still fairly cheap ( although not compared to early 90's)

4) cab drivers are under the impression that the 'crisis ' on the mainland will end in jan 2014!!!!

Ok I saw an Island ( much of which may have seen tourist sell off during currency appreciation do has followed another path ) but where the hell did Greece get into debt from ( public debt that is) because it still looks second world .

If you'd knocked me into a coma in 96 and I came round today the only difference I'd notice would be amount of mobile phones .

Edited by Sir Harold m

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Recent stay on a Greek Island for first time in twenty years or so. Used the journey and some time to study state of buildings , infastructure economic activity away from tourist bits etc

A few things struck me . 1) not a single penny of the 'wealth' enjoyed for the heady days of 98-08 appears to have gone on buildings, roads, schools etc . Unlike Spain which I visit each year and changes for the better ( infastructure wise ) every year, Greece is TOTALLY recognisable from the early 90's

2) car dealerships are everywhere but they look decrepit and not very busy

3) everything is still fairly cheap ( although not compared to early 90's)

4) cab drivers are under the impression that the 'crisis ' on the mainland will end in jan 2014!!!!

Ok I saw an Island ( much of which may have seen tourist sell off during currency appreciation do has followed another path ) but where the hell did Greece get into debt from ( public debt that is) because it still looks second world .

If you'd knocked me into a coma in 96 and I came round today the only difference I'd notice would be amount of mobile phones .

I recently had a holiday on a Greek island.. I'd agree that the infrastructure seems unchanged from 1997 when I went to Rhodes, but the cost of living does seem to have shot up, far more so than in the UK over the same time period.

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I recently had a holiday on a Greek island.. I'd agree that the infrastructure seems unchanged from 1997 when I went to Rhodes, but the cost of living does seem to have shot up, far more so than in the UK over the same time period.

How can you afford to paint the town when the money has now to be spent on the basics of life?....anyway aesthetic looks mean very little it is what is lying underneath that counts. ;)

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I rememeber visiting Athens on business before the 2004 olympics and they were spending money like a drunken docker on pay day.

Clearly, for those on the islands all the problems are seen as being on the mainland. I'm told that in Cyprus they reckon it was all due to those "lazy Greeks". Everyone has someone else to blame - presumably all those car dealerships were speculative builds and no-one ever blew any money on a car on finance?

Until everyone follows the advice of Mr Micawber the result is going to keep being the same.

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The most poignant thing I heard was the belief that their 'crisis' ie austerity ends in January 2014 . The date was so specific it's like they've been sold a firm story that this is temporary . More than any other data this is going to influence my 'investment' decisions

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Guest eight

Recent stay on a Greek Island for first time in twenty years or so. Used the journey and some time to study state of buildings , infastructure economic activity away from tourist bits etc

A few things struck me . 1) not a single penny of the 'wealth' enjoyed for the heady days of 98-08 appears to have gone on buildings, roads, schools etc . Unlike Spain which I visit each year and changes for the better ( infastructure wise ) every year, Greece is TOTALLY recognisable from the early 90's

2) car dealerships are everywhere but they look decrepit and not very busy

3) everything is still fairly cheap ( although not compared to early 90's)

4) cab drivers are under the impression that the 'crisis ' on the mainland will end in jan 2014!!!!

Ok I saw an Island ( much of which may have seen tourist sell off during currency appreciation do has followed another path ) but where the hell did Greece get into debt from ( public debt that is) because it still looks second world .

If you'd knocked me into a coma in 96 and I came round today the only difference I'd notice would be amount of mobile phones .

I know they spent a fortune on their rail network (as did Portugal) but presumably that would be mainland only.

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I know they spent a fortune on their rail network (as did Portugal) but presumably that would be mainland only.

I read a while ago that it would be cheaper for the Greek govt. to pay every single person who uses the trains to take a taxi, instead.

Also seem to recall that the salary of a guard was 60,000 Euros.

We are booked to go to Nafplion (Peleponnese - sp?) in Sept. Have been several times but not last year. Will be interested to see whether things have changed much. Might also spend a couple of nights in Athens - we like the old town. Although it's spectacularly attractive Nafplion isn't really a foreign-tourist resort - you see more Greek visitors than anyone else, though you do get quite a few coach tourists on day trips since Mycenae is only just up the road. I have often wondered how all the vast numbers of cafes/tavernas can possibly make a living, esp. when people sit for ages with one Greek coffee or cafe frappe.

Edited by Mrs Bear

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Recent stay on a Greek Island for first time in twenty years or so. Used the journey and some time to study state of buildings , infastructure economic activity away from tourist bits etc

A few things struck me . 1) not a single penny of the 'wealth' enjoyed for the heady days of 98-08 appears to have gone on buildings, roads, schools etc . Unlike Spain which I visit each year and changes for the better ( infastructure wise ) every year, Greece is TOTALLY recognisable from the early 90's

2) car dealerships are everywhere but they look decrepit and not very busy

3) everything is still fairly cheap ( although not compared to early 90's)

4) cab drivers are under the impression that the 'crisis ' on the mainland will end in jan 2014!!!!

Ok I saw an Island ( much of which may have seen tourist sell off during currency appreciation do has followed another path ) but where the hell did Greece get into debt from ( public debt that is) because it still looks second world .

If you'd knocked me into a coma in 96 and I came round today the only difference I'd notice would be amount of mobile phones .

I did a driving holiday in Greece a few years ago. If you drive from Athens north into the mountains, across into the Penepolese via the Rio-Antirrio Bridge, across the Penepolese and then back into Athens via a multitude of newly formed tunnels that make the alps look like play things and you will realise where the money went - mile after mile of perfect tarmac that make the UK look 3rd world!

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I think you will find that if you visit the mainland the infrastructure has improved with the new airport

the wonderfully clean and modern underground system the suburban rail and also the motorway system that runs from Athens

Recent stay on a Greek Island for first time in twenty years or so. Used the journey and some time to study state of buildings , infastructure economic activity away from tourist bits etc

A few things struck me . 1) not a single penny of the 'wealth' enjoyed for the heady days of 98-08 appears to have gone on buildings, roads, schools etc . Unlike Spain which I visit each year and changes for the better ( infastructure wise ) every year, Greece is TOTALLY recognisable from the early 90's

2) car dealerships are everywhere but they look decrepit and not very busy

3) everything is still fairly cheap ( although not compared to early 90's)

4) cab drivers are under the impression that the 'crisis ' on the mainland will end in jan 2014!!!!

Ok I saw an Island ( much of which may have seen tourist sell off during currency appreciation do has followed another path ) but where the hell did Greece get into debt from ( public debt that is) because it still looks second world .

If you'd knocked me into a coma in 96 and I came round today the only difference I'd notice would be amount of mobile phones .

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Guest eight

I did a driving holiday in Greece a few years ago. If you drive from Athens north into the mountains, across into the Penepolese via the Rio-Antirrio Bridge, across the Penepolese and then back into Athens via a multitude of newly formed tunnels that make the alps look like play things and you will realise where the money went - mile after mile of perfect tarmac that make the UK look 3rd world!

Yeah, I think this goes for most of southern Europe then.

How they were ever supposed to pay for it all is a different matter. It wasn't unusual to see people getting around by horse and cart in some of these places 10-15 years ago.

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Some of the above have answered my questions . Looks like the islands have fared poorly at the hands of the mainland . Weird as the only econokic salvation would appear to be based on the islands .

I also noted that in Spain there were different issues but similar differences in outlook . Property prices in Menorca are not far off highs yet have imploded on mainland .

Mind you there are few places on Earth I'd like to spend more time than Menorca , wonderful little island and enjoyable at very low cost if you have food and shelter because all the best things there are free

Edited by Sir Harold m

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The most poignant thing I heard was the belief that their 'crisis' ie austerity ends in January 2014 .

Did they mention why? What do they expect to happen in January 2014?

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Ok I saw an Island ( much of which may have seen tourist sell off during currency appreciation do has followed another path ) but where the hell did Greece get into debt from ( public debt that is) because it still looks second world.

A bloated public sector paying huge wages for little to no work then retire on most of the final salary aged 50; similar pension deals for private sector workers. A tax system that collects a fraction of what is actually due and implemented by totally corrupt tax inspectors.

Basically massive corruption from top to bottom covered up for years by fictional government statistics.

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This reminds I meant to post something in the BFG thread but it passed me by. I was in Greece at the start of the month for Easter. I have been visiting Crete since 2002 seems to have more of a functioning economy than Greece in general. Less reliant on public sector bureaucracy and partly supported by tourism and agriculture. This year it felt like there was a positive change going on. No mention of turning the corner in Jan 2014 but it seemed that people were accepting the new reality and working on the basis of austerity as the norm compared to the last 2 years of long faces.

Have to disagree with a number of points in the OP for Crete. They may not be all sing all dancing road and airports like Spain but I have seen significant improvements over the last decade. The Eastern highway extension in Crete over that time is greatly appreciated. The few, short occasions I've been to Athens, it was clear they spent a massive amount of money for the Olympics. On the cost of living, adoption of the Euro brought massive retail price inflation.You only need to walk around a supermarket or a bookshop or buy some petrol to realise this. I was paying £1.50 a litre for petrol which made British petrol look cheap. The double whammy of price inflation and sterling devaluation between 2007 and 2010 did not help things from a British point of view. I'd probably say that over the past couple of years prices have been relatively steady. Supermarket prices still rising but bars/tavernas more stable. 14 euros for a kilo of baklava? Ouch. Shopping has not been taken over chains in quite the way the UK has which means that prices are mid market and higher rather than tesco and primark levels. And given it was Easter, the bar and tavernas were packed, with locals. Whatever the trouble, there is still a strong cohesive spirit in their society and they are all brought together by their religious festivals. Its what gives them a common identity.

Would agree on the second world thing though. 40-50 years ago was a very different story to now, even more so than boomer tales of tin baths and ice on the inside of windows. They have experienced a very rapid rise in living standards.

Couple of anecdotes though, I noticed sporadic appearance of roadworks around the island and when I asked, I got told that they had previously been given moeny by the EU for road improvements. The money was taken but no improvments done. Now the EU were asking for their money back, they were have to do the work.

At a local school, people commented that in the younger age classes (6-8 years old) they were surprised how many non-Greek names there were. Half could have been an exageration but it was 'a lot'.

EU grants available for tourist accomodation to upgrade bathrooms, 50% of cost re-imbursed apparently for latest 'scrappage' scheme.

Depsite the so called desperate times, someone struggling to fill low wage general purpose cleaner role. There's no UK equivalent social safety net out there despite the tales of pension generosity and yet struggling to find an immigrant, let alone a Greek to work for enough (just) to live on.

The problem is best summed up by saying Greece is poor but the Greeks are rich. And if you can't spot the parallels to the UK, I suggest you go out and get the biggest mortgage you can and move to la-la-land.

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EU grants available for tourist accomodation to upgrade bathrooms, 50% of cost re-imbursed apparently for latest 'scrappage' scheme.

EU grants Other peoples hard earned money available for tourist accomodation to upgrade bathrooms, 50% of cost re-imbursed apparently for latest 'scrappage' scheme

Corrected for accuracy.

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Recently back from the Dodecanese Islands and I can see exactly where a lot of the money went. The worst examples were:

Kalymos - huge new airport that cannot be used by larger planes because it is not aligned with the prevailing winds

Leros - a dam near the airport that has always been dry because no streams or rivers flow into it

Arki - a large solar energy farm that has never been switched because an influential islander runs the diesel generator

All these projects had signs proudly stating that they were funded by the EU. Having said that, there are a lot of younger people coming to the islands to work in tourism because there is no work on the mainland. There's a lot of private building work going on which I suspect is locals looking to quickly turn (undeclared) cash into an asset. It seems things are changing - but the real problem is that Greece is EXPENSIVE. Its currency and its cost of living have priced it out of competitiveness and whereas in earlier times they would have devalued their currency, now they have to attract more tourists while charging London prices for a Greek salad in a simple family-run taverna. Oh yes, and apparently they've suffered a drop in German tourists thanks to comparing them to Nazis for turning off the free money tap.

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the real problem is that Greece is EXPENSIVE. Its currency and its cost of living have priced it out of competitiveness and whereas in earlier times they would have devalued their currency, now they have to attract more tourists while charging London prices for a Greek salad in a simple family-run taverna.

This.

Oh yes, and apparently they've suffered a drop in German tourists thanks to comparing them to Nazis for turning off the free money tap.

:D

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Recently back from the Dodecanese Islands and I can see exactly where a lot of the money went. The worst examples were:

Kalymos - huge new airport that cannot be used by larger planes because it is not aligned with the prevailing winds

Leros - a dam near the airport that has always been dry because no streams or rivers flow into it

Arki - a large solar energy farm that has never been switched because an influential islander runs the diesel generator

All these projects had signs proudly stating that they were funded by the EU. Having said that, there are a lot of younger people coming to the islands to work in tourism because there is no work on the mainland. There's a lot of private building work going on which I suspect is locals looking to quickly turn (undeclared) cash into an asset. It seems things are changing - but the real problem is that Greece is EXPENSIVE. Its currency and its cost of living have priced it out of competitiveness and whereas in earlier times they would have devalued their currency, now they have to attract more tourists while charging London prices for a Greek salad in a simple family-run taverna. Oh yes, and apparently they've suffered a drop in German tourists thanks to comparing them to Nazis for turning off the free money tap.

Hmmm, I would have thought that they started to lose German tourism when their effective exchange rate went from 100 or so drachmas to the mark to around 40 . Remember the purpose of the Euro was for Germany to remain competitive whilst exporting inflation to the periphery .

The collapse of the euro will leave a lot of rusty German cars on forecourts

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Its currency and its cost of living have priced it out of competitiveness and whereas in earlier times they would have devalued

Nothing stopping them charging less and paying themselves less.

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Nothing stopping them charging less and paying themselves less.

True, but this is at the heart of the problem that Greece faces: is it easier to persuade everyone to take a 30% pay cut or to devalue the currency by 30%? Germany has insisted on the infinitely slower and more painful Option A.

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True, but this is at the heart of the problem that Greece faces: is it easier to persuade everyone to take a 30% pay cut or to devalue the currency by 30%? Germany has insisted on the infinitely slower and more painful Option A.

This is why moderate wage/price inflation can be a force for good.

Imagine you are an employer. Now, if wages and prices are going up 10% a year, then if times are hard you can still raise wages by 5%, gate prices by 10% (or a bit less) and increase your margin. Or if you want to reward some employees over others, there's a margin. Or if you've hired someone for more then they turn out to be worth, inflation will rain back their salary (obviously they are unlikely to leave..)

Now, if inflation is near-zero, you have problems. Cutting pay by 5% is extremely difficult to achieve - people react far more resentfully to a nominal pay cut than a real-terms one, and you are going to have to rewrite contracts, get people to sign up, etc. And with money for pay rises far more restricted, it becomes harder to reward your best employees - the end result being that they 'overpaid' guy stays overpaid and the good-but-underpaid guy leaves.

And, of course, for those employees with mortgages or other debt, there is a huge difference between a 5% pay rise with 10% inflation, and a 5% pay cut with 0% inflation, since the nominal debt remains the same.

Meanwhile, in the 'inflation' scenario the government sees tax revenues going up, and the nominal debt burden going down.

Of course, if you happen to be the person who likes to use debt as a means to control both individuals and government, inflation is bad and deflation good.

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  • 244 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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