January 29, 2016

"A man grasps a bag of tangerines..."

"... as people receive free produce, handed out by farmers, during a protest over the government's proposal to overhaul the country's ailing pension system in Athens, Greece, January 27, 2016."

Caption to a photograph worth seeing and contemplating.

27 comments:

Michael K said...

Zorba !

Limited blogger said...

Ask Bernie Sanders if he knows how tangerines get to store shelves.

rehajm said...

Without question as the result of that contemplation the wrong conclusions will be reached, though I'd like to make a case for 'eventually you run out of other's people's money.'

kerani said...

I note the rings and painted nails, and the nice sweater behind the old man, whose hat has been knocked askew...and I'm trying to not judge the people tugging at the old man's bag of citrus. But that's a lot of work for a Friday morning.

(It's also worth noting that tangerines come in plastic bags from the farmer, and not in burlap or orange boxes. Because progress. And I wonder which farmers/farm corporations are distroing produce, and why.)

tim in vermont said...

They stopped paying this guy his salary! How is he supposed to help the economy grow? One day they will invent robots that can consume stuff so that this man can finally retire from his role in helping the economy by getting a check and spending it. Robots that handle the demand side of the economy. That will be a sweet day that only his children can realistically dream of.

tim in vermont said...

BTW, I think that Bernie believes that everybody wants a job and to pay taxes and his supporters believe that nobody who doesn't want to should have to work, and only those who do want to work should pay taxes. Hence his platform:

"A job will be guaranteed, but not mandatory."

tim in vermont said...

I wonder if Althouse really believes that her rabidly pro government employee union readers will understand that this is the result of losing control of pension and retirement schemes?

wendybar said...

Coming to America if they elect Bernie!!

dwick said...

Contemplate what exactly?
Part of the reforms being protested would double income tax payments from 13% to 26%.
Contemplate what life in the US would be like after 4 years under President Bernie Sanders?

Or this is what happens after generations of public sector employees retiring at age 55?

"There is little doubt Greece’s pensions system needed reform. The EU’s most expensive, at about 17.5% of GDP, it was made up of more than 130 different pension funds and hid widespread abuse: a pension census ordered in 2012 as part of the country’s bailout conditions turned up more than 90,000 entirely bogus claimants – mostly the relatives of long-dead pensioners – and 350,000 more inconsistent claims.

Greece also had a remarkable 580 professions deemed hazardous or strenuous enough to qualify for early retirement: firemen and construction workers, certainly, but also hairdressers (because of the chemicals), wind instrument players (gastric reflux) and radio presenters (microbes in microphones).


http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/17/greece-pension-crisis-people

[Actually, you'd get much the same scene as shown here handing out free food in poor, working class urban neighborhoods anywhere in the world...]

EMD said...

This is what Big Government looks like.

wildswan said...

The social welfare state becomes a Ponzi scheme if population collapse happens in such a way that there are many more old people on pensions than young people paying into the pension scheme. But people don't direct their attention to demographic facts so they buy into the state-run Ponzi system known as pensions. And end up fighting for food. There are answers to the problem as Scott Walker showed but Democrats, progessives and SJW are happy gullibles and work as unpaid true-believer salesmen in these government Ponzi schemes which makes reform difficult. And that goes for you too, Bernie Sanders. You aren't guaranteeing an end to poverty; you are guaranteeing endless poverty.

Gahrie said...

The social welfare state becomes a Ponzi scheme if population collapse happens in such a way that there are many more old people on pensions than young people paying into the pension scheme

It's even worse in places like Greece, because nobody pays their taxes in the first place.

JAORE said...

Oh, but it can't happen here.


Time to inventory the ol' ammo pile....

Original Mike said...

First thing I thought of was Sanders. Truly. Looks like I wasn't alone.

Quaestor said...

... as people receive free produce, handed out by farmers, during a protest over the government's proposal to overhaul the country's ailing pension system...

Ailing? That's like replacing an obituary notice with an "away from my desk" memo.

Birkel said...

And of course the farmers are distributing their produce. It's not like they can find buyers before it goes bad.

I wonder if some Cruelly Neutral Greek blogger is going to write a "how socialism lost me" post.

coupe said...

Funny, that woman has two gold rings and she wants food!

John A said...

I see a couple of comments about the woman's hand. I do not see it as trying to take the bag - note it is open - but as belonging to a person putting the bag in the man's arms as he grabs it desperately.

averagejoe said...

When Black Friday comes...

Johnny Sokko said...

It is Anthony Quinn!

Beach Brutus said...

The concept of retiring and pensions developed in the early 20th century, when the overwhelming majority of workers were either farmers or industrial drones -- all of which engaged in hard physical exertion six days a week. Bodies wore out and broke. When Social Security was created, actuarially, a man who retired at age 65 was only expected to be on SS for about 24 months.

Now, farmers do not push a plow behind a mule as my grandfather did, they have air conditioned tractors and combines. Automation has reduced the number of people required to feed the world and in our country fewer than 2% of the population are farmers. Factory work has likewise benefited from automation and computerization. Most people now are in service jobs requiring little raw physical drudgery.

Hasn't this made the concept of retirement somewhat obsolete?

JCC said...

Apparently, in Greece, farmers are included in the government pension system, and they face a 20% increase in their contribution and at the same time, will have to work longer - can't easily find how much longer is being proposed - to qualify for a pension. The government pension system is facing a huge shortfall this year, more than the bailouts offered by other Euro nations, to meet pension payments for 2016. So, forget about long term solvency, just to send out checks that don't bounce, the Greek government needs to up contributions, increase the number of people paying in, and decrease the number of people retiring - all in this fiscal year, just to balance the books short term. This assumes Germany and the others won't just write Greece a blank check for the difference.
The alternative, of course, is for Greece to default, abandone the Euro and go back to printing dramas (or pixie-dollars, whatever).

As noted, it's the free lunch program, taken to its logical finale.

rehajm said...

The alternative, of course, is for Greece to default, abandone the Euro and go back to printing dramas (or pixie-dollars, whatever).

Greece defaulting on its loans doesn't mean Greece must change currencies.

chironNYC said...

This is what happens when people practice socialism rather than capitalism. Very sad.

People aren't poor and starving only if someone works and creates value. The more productive, the less poverty.

Gahrie said...

Greece defaulting on its loans doesn't mean Greece must change currencies.

There is no way the EU can allow Greece to default and stay on the Euro. That's why Germany has spent so much money already trying to rescue Greece. If Greece defaults and stays, Spain and Italy will default too.


Germany's problem is that Greece has no intention of reforming, and is just riding the wave out.

Gahrie said...

Taken from today's Wikipedia entry on Greece:

Greece is a democratic and developed country with an advanced high-income economy, a high quality of life and a very high standard of living.

This is why you can't rely on Wiki.

mikee said...

That photo was captured in stone carvings in Cambodia's Angkor Wat centuries ago. One stone panel shows a begging monkey being given a piece of fruit by a woman. The next panel shows a horde of monkeys despoiling the woman's home, taking all she has.

The lesson is a hard one, but seems to be relearned every generation.