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Thread: Greeks who will survive the economic meltdown

  1. #1
    GuncoHolic Black Blade's Avatar
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    Default Greeks who will survive the economic meltdown

    Pensioners turn back to living off the land

    By Tania Georgiopoulou



    Here you can go a week without spending a single euro over here,” says a man who moved back to Crete two years ago to live in the village of his birth. “You get fresh food from your farm and if you need something extra, like olive oil for example, you can get it from a fellow farmer. You only need money to pay for your gas and bills,” he says.

    He is not alone. For the first time in years, Amari Valley in the island’s Rethymno district has turned green again as fields have been cleared and put back to use as farms.

    Recent data on farming in Greece show that the number of jobs in the sector has gone up by 38,000 between 2008 and 2010. This increase is in stark contrast to the grim statistics regarding rising unemployment across most other sectors.

    However, a closer examination of the data shows that these born-again farmers are for the most part pensioners trying to make some extra money -- particularly by cutting down on their cost of living. Between 22 and 32 percent of those who have taken up farming in the past couple of years are aged between 45 and 64 years old. Some 70 percent of the latecomers in the Epirus region in northern Greece are over 65.

    Giorgos Christonakis, a former employee at Hellenic Petroleum, lives between Athens and Amari. “After I retired, I went to look for a house in the village. I have since planted vegetables, I have my own olive trees and I plan to grow wheat so I can make my own bread,” he says. His children, he says, are not too keen on moving to Crete, so he has to travel between places. “But if the state breaks down and I end up losing my pension, what will happen then? At least we will have an alternative; we won’t starve to death.”

    A friend of his, 60-year-old Pandelis Zoumboulakis, grows beans and tomatoes in that same valley. Zoumboulakis, a former municipal employee, retired two years ago but has yet to receive his first pension payment. His housing loan installment cannot wait, however. “I get an 800-euro advance on my pension each month. We are lucky my mother chips in to help,” he says.

    His children are now independent, and the couple have returned to their family home in Crete to work the land. “We’re not doing it for the money; but at least we know what goes into our stomachs,” he says. “More and more people are coming back to the village to do the same,” Zoumboulakis says. His cousins from Athens recently visited the island to plant some trees. “When they retire in a few years, they plan to move here too,” he says.

    On the island of Chios, the collection of mastic from gum trees, an age-old tradition, is experiencing a revival and production last year rose by 20 percent.

    Lefteris Karakatsanis, 74, migrated to Germany in 1963 before trying his luck in the United States. In 1994, after he retiremed, he returned to Chios to live with his wife. In the early years, his pension was enough to afford them a decent life. As the euro rose against the dollar, it became harder for them to get by. “At least I make some mastic and we manage to earn some extra money,” he says.

    “Mastic is a very good product,” says Giorgos Avdeliodis, 57, who used to work for the Public Power Corporation (PPC). He cultivates mastic trees, but also breeds animals. “Goats, chicken, pigs -- mostly for our own consumption,” he says.

    For many people on Chios, mastic collection is for pocket money, says Christos Koukouris, a retired naval officer and member of the island’s mastic production board. “But it’s still a tough job.”

    http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_wsite6_20217_05/09/2011_404495


    Black Blade: Greece is already in meltdown. Some are finding that they can live off the land and they are much better off than others. We all aspire to becoming self-sufficient but before it is essential for survival.
    When you're born you get a ticket to the freak show. When you're born in America , you get a front row seat. - George Carlin


  2. #2
    GuncoHolic Sprat's Avatar
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    not greece but right behind "Ireland"

    my cousin called today from Ireland, he asked about the nappy heads speech, I told him this and that and that unemployment was extended for 50 or so weeks on top of 99 weeks. he said they got to eat?????
    the conversation turned to Irish economic's seems the pubs are empty and resturants empty, little work and hardly any pesky american tourist. I asked about the farm the family farm ( my farmily farm) the demand for beef and lamb is thru the roof, milk is also more valuable than gas ( petrol), seems the farm he wanted to sell a few years back is the only thing making money and lots of it

    things to come if we don't get rid of this guy get this country back on track

    sprat
    Sprat and sprat1 are one and the same.

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    GuncoHolic Black Blade's Avatar
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    Battered by Economic Crisis, Greeks Turn to Barter Networks

    By RACHEL DONADIO

    Snippit:

    VOLOS, Greece — The first time he bought eggs, milk and jam at an outdoor market using not euros but an informal barter currency, Theodoros Mavridis, an unemployed electrician, was thrilled.

    “I felt liberated, I felt free for the first time,” Mr. Mavridis said in a recent interview at a cafe in this port city in central Greece. “I instinctively reached into my pocket, but there was no need to.”

    Mr. Mavridis is a co-founder of a growing network here in Volos that uses a so-called Local Alternative Unit, or TEM in Greek, to exchange goods and services — language classes, baby-sitting, computer support, home-cooked meals — and to receive discounts at some local businesses.

    Part alternative currency, part barter system, part open-air market, the Volos network has grown exponentially in the past year, from 50 to 400 members.

    It is one of several such groups cropping up around the country, as Greeks squeezed by large wage cuts, tax increases and growing fears about whether they will continue to use the euro have looked for creative ways to cope with a radically changing economic landscape.

    Continued: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/02/wo...pagewanted=all
    When you're born you get a ticket to the freak show. When you're born in America , you get a front row seat. - George Carlin


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    Gunco Regular SouthTexasGuy's Avatar
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    Hey Blade,

    Thanks for that article, it brought back some memories. I had a chance to visit Chios while I was working in Turkey (its not far off the coast of Turkey). Apparently it used to belong to Turkey but Greece snagged it during a war.

    One could certainly find a lot of worse places to ride out the ole Greek economic meltdown than Chios.

    I love the barter system. While technically taxable in the U.S., bartering is practically impossible to tax/regulate. I guess that why them one world killjoy types always wanna give someone a mark on thier head or hand!

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    THE 9mm ADDICT MUSIBIKE's Avatar
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    Greece, just the way it will wind up here.

    U.S. close to faltering, Fed ready to act: Bernanke | Reuters
    M U S I B I K E

  6. #6
    Gunco Regular Rocster's Avatar
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    Yup, feels like we are getting close to something big happeneing, but I dunno what. The way the stock market keeps see-sawing, and economists keep saying we are pulling out of a recession is such doublespeak.

    Food prices just keep going up, and now there was reports of armed unrest in Saudi Arabia last monday. If they go like Yemen/Syria with protests it is going to get ugly fast in world oil markets. Might want to invest in a few gas cans or two...or a plug-in hybrid if you can afford it.

  7. #7
    THE 9mm ADDICT MUSIBIKE's Avatar
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    Might want to invest into at least 10,000 rounds of ammo for your primary weapon and some food plus, water stores!
    M U S I B I K E

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