The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has given Greece (another) iron-clad deadline to meet its debt repayment schedule – Greece must pay up by June 30th. Failure all but guarantees Greece will be booted out of the common European currency and forced to return to drachmas.
The really quick and dirty summary of the “Grexit”, as the media has dubbed it, is that Greece has a whole lot of debts to pay and doesn’t earn nearly enough money to cover them. So they borrowed from the IMF, agreeing to cut some luxuries from their budget, and are now refusing to do so. Greece does not consider their debt obligations to be “luxuries”, but rather necessities, and the Prime Minister is sabre-rattling over fairness and responsibilities and obligations – responsibilities and obligations for others of course, not Greece. The perfect social justice warrior, in other words.
The number one issue affecting the Greek budget is pensions. Greece has a mind-boggling pension obligation to over 2M citizens in a country of only 11M. Almost one in five Greek citizens are dependent on the state for an income (18%). Ostensibly, these citizens put in their hours, paid their dues, and are simply the victim of a post-war demographic that sees huge numbers of them retiring at the same time. But the story is a little more complicated than just demographics.
I think we can all agree that “retirement” in general is a good concept. In most advanced democracies, the state compels workers to set aside a certain amount of their pay to fund their last years, and matches their contributions. Older forms of pensions took the form of “defined benefits”, in which workers were guaranteed a sum of money with a multiplier to reflect the increased cost of living over time. Modern pensions have switched to “defined contribution” plans, where the minimum amount you must contribute is defined, and your eventual payout will depend on what you contributed. Unsurprisingly, Greece has an abundance of defined benefits pensions in place, with overly generous state contributions. Greek workers are expected to contribute between 6 and 9% of their pay, with the state topping that up by an additional 13 – 17%. This is fine if you have a robust economy and lots of cash coming in.
Greece has neither.
On top of their defined benefit plans, Greece permits citizen to retire and begin collecting their entitlements at relatively young ages: the average age of retirement for Greek men is 63, and for women it is 59. Greek men, on average live 77 years, and Greek women 83 years (2014). This means, on average, Greek men are entirely dependent on the state for 14 years, and Greek women for a full decade longer – 24 years.
Are you starting to see the problem? Greece, like most other European and Western nations, underwent a transformation in their labor markets with the entrance of women, en masse. And, just like in every other Western nation, those women didn’t head down into the sewers, or to the shipping yard or the steel mills or the mines. They headed for government funded, air-conditioned offices where their shoes wouldn’t get icky, their hair wouldn’t get mussed and they had an abundance of perks and benefits.
While a large percentage of [Greek] women are self-employed, a significant number of women work as full-time salaried employees. In 2008, one-third of female salaried employees worked as permanent public servants. Although women are still underrepresented in the higher ranks of the public sector, it constitutes a safer working environment for female employees since gender equality provisions (including paid pregnancy leave, parental leave and benefits for children) are respected and the wage gap between men and women is minimal. The public sector acts as a protective net for women mainly because it is the only sector in which gender equality law is implemented effectively.
And again, just like in other similarly developed countries, women work fewer hours and easier jobs with fewer responsibilities, and Greek feminists whine ferociously that women’s choices should be ignored and strict equality of outcome enforced.
Angela Daifa-Frantzeskaki, president of the Panhellenic Women’s Organization, is a prominent figure in the local [Athens] women’s movement. She firmly believes the decades-long struggle for equality has not been in vain.”Greece’s legislative framework is one of the best in Europe.”
Okay, so you have one of the best legislative frameworks in Europe, which means employers can’t really get away with blatant discrimination against women. Logically, it means the Greek labor market is reflecting women’s personal choices. Many Greek women do not believe in institutional care for their children, and women with young children have the lowest rate of labor market participation. Of all women participating in the Greek labor market, more than a quarter (28%) work part time (less than 30 hrs a week). One quarter of women don’t work at all. This situation is mirrored in Holland, with many American feminists expressing outright envy.
Though the Netherlands is consistently ranked in the top five countries for women, less than 10 percent of women here are employed full-time. And they like it this way. Incentives to nudge women into full-time work have consistently failed. Less than 4 percent of women wish they had more working hours or increased responsibility in the workplace, and most refuse extended hours even when the opportunity for advancement arises. Some women cite the high cost of child care as a major factor in their shorter hours, but 62 percent of women working part time in the Netherlands don’t have young children in the house, and mothers rarely increase their working hours even when their children leave home.
This is not a problem for Holland, because Dutch women accept the consequences of their very happy lives, and receive, on average, about half the pension money men do. While marriage stats are hard to come by for the Netherlands, owing to their very liberal policies regarding personal, long-term relationships, two separate stats suggest most Dutch women live in nuclear family units. First of all, their room/person in a single household is 2.0, which means for every person in the home, there are 2 rooms. The average Dutch home 1200ft2, strongly suggesting that nuclear families are the norm. Secondly, the Dutch consistently rate their life satisfaction, at all ages, as very high. If there were an abundance of elderly women living in dire poverty, bitter they had cast their lot with men who abandoned them (as feminists assure us men are extremely likely to do), one would expect the life satisfaction of Dutch women to be reduced.
It’s not. They are the among the happiest women in the world, and they have not ruined their economy to be so.
Let’s go back to Greece, a country that has taken an opposite approach to women’s happiness and well-being. Rather than support women’s desires to work less, enjoy life more, and remain dependent on men rather than the state, Greece has created an economic disaster, cheered on by their local feminists, who see nothing wrong with women being dependent on the state for 24 years of their life because they don’t seem to grasp that the state needs taxpayers to fund women who won’t work and retire early. In effect, Greek women are expecting German men to support them. Using innocuous terms like “creditor” disguises the fact that creditors are other taxpayers in other Eurozone countries.
Greece is the canary in the coal mine. Many Eurozone countries are on the same pathway – agreeing to fund women who work fewer hours and live much longer than men, in the misguided name of “equality” and feminism. Feminists are bad at math in general. When it comes to financial calculations, they are a complete disaster. No country can afford to allow women the luxury of making choices that result in them earning less money than men (and yes, that is a luxury), and then agree to force men to support these women en masse. The men who must generate the revenue to pay women simply don’t live as long as women (worked to death?), and it’s a pretty simple calculus.
Most full-time workers in Greece are men, and Greek men, surprise, surprise, work longer hours than any other men in Europe, but those hours do not translate into economic output. Their productivity is low compared to the hours they put in. We can claim, as many political commentators like to do, that Greek men sit at work and fuck the dog all day, which is why productivity rates are so low. Perhaps there is a bit of truth to that? Or we can look more closely at the cohort of women living off state benefits for 24 years of their life, having contributed relatively little to the income of that state.
In every developed nation on earth, men work longer hours in paid employment than women. This is the so-called “wage gap”. Gee, men get paid more because they work more? Who knew? Men are also the builders, creators, innovators, and generators of wealth. Women tend to work at jobs that consume the income men have produced rather than producing any income of their own. And women live longer than men. Gosh, that couldn’t be because having men pay your bills results in a less stressful, happier life overall?
In Greece, part of the debt crisis is related to generous pensions that are simply unsustainable. A good chunk of that money is being paid to women who do not, and have never, contributed to generating that income. And in a typical, but nevertheless astonishing, lack of long-term vision and planning, Greek women will bear the brunt of adjustments when Greece is kicked out of the European Union, because their retirement strategy has been to rely on the state as husband and provider.
Smart move, ladies.
Returning to the drachma will involve inflation (it could get ugly) and a collapse in the economic value of everything, since those values can no longer be measured in Euros. The rest of Europe will snap up Greek assets and property at bargain basement prices and Greece will have no choice but to accept. All those lush pensions will be paid in drachmas too, that will get more worthless before they start to regain value. Men only have to survive 14 years. Women will be subject to readjustments for 24 years. We can likely take it as a given that men will return to the workforce, such as it exists, and make the best of it. Women will turn to feminists to protect them and discover the stark reality that they have never, ever been independent, strong women able to support themselves. It’s all been a lie. They have always relied on men for support and income. The only women who are likely to survive in any comfort will be the ones who cherished their personal relationship with men, and prioritized a happy family and home over money.
The rest of world, with few exceptions, is headed for the same realization.
The optimistic among us might think the rest of us will learn from the example of Greece, but one need only look at the situation unfolding with the Chicago Board of Education to know that women have lived through decades of feminist entitlement culture, and their greed and lack of vision for the future, especially when it comes to their sense of deserving to be rewarded for working less, at government funded jobs, paid for mainly by men, knows no limits. Chicago is considering allowing the Board of Education to go bankrupt, and I think this is a hella clever thing to do. The Teachers Unions have been raping taxpayers for years, and Chapter 11 is just the way to break them. Pension obligations will be restructured under Chapter 11, and I guarantee that men (who teach more demanding subjects at higher levels for more years) will fare better than the women (who teach less demanding classes at the primary level). Yeah, teaching calculus and chemistry earns greater rewards than sorting crayons and wiping up glue spills.
The fact that we have allowed absurd pretenses about “equality” to dictate our finances will not go without consequences. Women, of course, will hit the polls hard to elect officials (mostly men) who will further destroy our economy in an effort to protect women from the very simple reality that they are not equal to men when it comes to economic output. Women voters and their white knights will push us closer to a Greek tragedy, but there is a kernel of hope.
The money will run out. It’s inevitable, as Chicago teachers will soon discover. The women who prize long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with men, the very relationships that result in their own long-term happiness and the happiness and well-being of the nation, tend to be conservative. I’m wary of the social conservatism – it does give me pause. But I am extremely optimistic about their fiscal conservatism. These are women that understand the concept of mutual dependency, of long term commitment, of rights with responsibilities, and privileges with obligations. You can’t sustain a long-term marriage or relationship without those things.
Women in Holland understand their beautiful lives are not free.
Why should they be?
I strongly suspect that conservative American women understand the same thing. Bankruptcies won’t hurt us as much as they will hurt women who have swallowed, hook, line and sinker, the delusion that they are strong independent women who don’t need no man. We’ll see how that plays out when the men refuse to pay another dime. If debt is one person’s liability, but another person’s asset, we are about to see a major reversal. Entitled women who feel they are owed are about to discover the tables flipped over. They are owed nothing beyond what they legitimately earned. Years of taking what they did not earn is a bill that’s about to come due.
The piper is here, and he wants to be paid.
Lots of love,