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For Local Greeks, ‘Austerity’ Is More Than A Buzzword

Protesters rallied new austerity measures on the Greek island of Crete on Sunday. (AP)

Protesters rallied new austerity measures on the Greek island of Crete on Sunday. (AP)

It’s been a rough Wednesday for battered, bankruptcy-threatened Greece, as European Union Officials continue to toy with the idea of expelling the country from the EU.

To stave off that disaster, leaders of Greece’s two largest political parties pledged in writing that they will stick to a punishing package of austerity measures voted through the Greek Parliament on Monday.

Now, austerity is a word being batted around a lot, but in the context of people’s lives, what exactly does it mean? Americans are a continent and ocean away, so it’s easy to talk about Greek austerity by the numbers: 20 percent unemployment, 3-billion euros worth of cuts to jobs, pensions and services.

Massachusetts has a sizeable Greek community, and for them, austerity is not just talk – it’s tangible, terrible, and having a real impact on their families, friends, and the Greek community here.


  • Alexandra Anthony, documentary filmmaker and professor of film at the Rhode Island School of Design.
  • Stamatis Astra, (@AstraReport) Radio talk show host on Grecian Echoes and chairman of the development committee for Boston’s University’s Arion, a journal of humanities and the classics. Founder and CEO of the start-up PhotOral.
  • Christina Rigopoulos, Greek-American Emerson College student.


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  • guest

    You should have called The Greek Institute in Cambridge, MA


    • Panagiotis

       Funny that you mentioned the Greek institute. I looked at it and saw that 5-6 members on the Board have the same last name.

      When I left it few years ago there were only 3 Anagnostopoulos, but seems that the family business expanded. And of course were subsidized by the same corrupt politicians that brought Greece to this state…

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/QMDZ3LH5U2B4GAT7J2HS4TCP6E Jim

    Forget about the brain drain in this country or embarrassment felt by greek americans. the first thing is to stop corruption and tax evasions in Greece. it all starts with the Greak politicians and their policy. Stop the egregarious tax evasion in greece!


  • Stella Karavas

    In order to get Greece on track, the people need to see their politicians go to jail.  Everyone including the media has paid off to keep their mouths closed.  Why would anyone pay taxes into a government that will only pad the pockets of their politicians.  They need to put them in jail, get some qualified individuals from diaspora to run the country and completely overhaul their laws.  Right now there is no competition in Greece because this is how the politicians have positioned those most favorable to gain contracts etc.  Entrepreneurship has been completely stifled due to the high cost barriers to entry.  It takes thousands of Euros to start a company in Greece.  It takes nothing in the US but an IRS filing for an EIN.  In order to bid on grants you need to have an established company. Startups do not have the money to start companies.  Hence eliminating any possible competition.  The Olympics were a perfect example of how Greece operates.  Contracts were given to politically affiliated companies, people and relatives.  It was obvious they were all highly unqualified as they had to bring in foreign companies to mop up after these affiliated folks labeling it one of the most expensive Olympics hosted.  In Greek there is an expression that the “fish smells from the head.”  The government is exactly that head.  Looking to raise another 130B is only the politicians last ditch effort to pad their pockets before Greece defaults.  We as Greek Americans can help by outsourcing.  Austerity measures being placed continuously on those who are starving already is so unethical.  It is clearly a bandaid.  What Greece needs is major surgery – complete removal of the cancerous tumor better known as their government and then a face lift to reform laws to allow open and fair competition and entrepreneurship.

  • Vivian Goltsos

    Enjoyed Henriette’s editorial. 

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