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Proteus 55

Very true, Wildartist. The problem is much greater for the couple of generations that have lived away from the countryside and the more self-sufficient way of life. Until before the 1980s, most people in Greece lived in very poor conditions and many had emigrated to other countries at various times this century, seeking a better life (as a lot of them lived in squalor but on the other hand, were eager to work hard for a better future). The collective move to the cities (mostly Athens) caused huge issues as several people abandoned the countryside and the farms/fields, opting to work in the city. Work opportunities were cited… the same deal with the reasons of emigrating. Nowadays there’s plenty of incentive for moving back out to the countryside, but there are no more opportunities as they are clueless of how to work the land or sustain a farm, their bodies are not used to manual labor due to work in the city, and also there are limitations / restrictions to cultivating certain things as members of the EU… the land itself in the fields is no longer arable and would require extensive work with machines and other methods before it’s usable. The reason for this is two-fold; one is the long period of inactivity that roots and forests moved in, and now the owners are not allowed to cut it unless they get special permit; the other is that the soil in Greece is rocky with only two notable exceptions: Thessaly and Messenia. These are where the majority of agriculture takes place. All other places are problematic and allow for very small production. The same issues go for cattle ranches or goats/ sheep etc.

The problem now is lack of opportunity; a huge number (over 1 in 3) is currently unemployed and there simply are not a lot of jobs available. On top of that, due to the austerity measures, a large number of people are sacked each month, as well as minor businesses are no longer sustainable. After WW2, Greeks invested in higher education (both in the country and those that went abroad). However, it reached to a point in the 1990s that there was an over-abundance of degrees and diplomas and very few job posts in comparison. So that meant: a) those that could, left Greece to work in another country as skilled workers utilising their education. b) those that stayed, were forced to work on other fields, essentially not using their education (for example a physicist could work taxi, or a molecular biologist worked as a grocer), c) those with the financial capability got into post – grad diplomas and doctorates etc, but even that wasn’t good enough after 2005; the work market was saturated with overqualified people. So as you can imagine, there was a second round of people leaving Greece after the beginning of the economic crisis on 2008. Those who stayed either couldn’t leave due to financial difficulty or some other attachment that forced them to stay, and there were those who managed to find work settling for much less and working long hours while being paid peanuts; but they stayed in order to survive. Nowadays even this group is found jobless and hopeless due to this mess.

Lack of opportunity is the main reason why they are shocked and stunned; they feel hopeless as they no longer trust any politician’s lies regarding improvement in the foreseeable future.