The problem with Greece isn’t that they owe so much money and can’t pay it back, but rather they have no sustainable income to keep moving forward. The issue has become so overcomplicated when in fact the solution is quite obvious: Provide a way for Greece to generate revenue and collect income. There are people eating out of garbage cans and committing suicide. They could care less about debt and bonds as they struggle another day only to see more and more taken away from them. In a country with approximately 25% unemployment, the first thing that needs to happen is create jobs. This means find a way for the Greeks to have jobs and go to work. This means have a way for the Greek economy to build itself. This means instead of continuously giving bailout money, find ways for the Greeks to wake up in the morning and go to work and contribute back to their own economy.
Creating jobs is easier said than done, but let’s think about it for a moment: Greece’s biggest revenue generator is tourism and shipping. There needs to be a shift that will allow for Greek people to go to work to make money, regardless if it is the euro or drachma, and there needs to be service sectors where people can spend their money. Greece has neither in a sustainable manner.
With that being said, the EU needs to consider what kinds of jobs can be shifted to Greece. Yes, this is a long term initiative, but anything else is only bound for failure. If the Greek government cannot create sustainable jobs, no amount of money will be easily paid back. With the amount of buildings that are unoccupied as well as abandoned factories that once processed marble or even cooking oil, there is an opportunity to repurpose these and shift work to the Greeks. Repurpose the vacated buildings in the cities of Athens and Thessaloniki to create jobs in manufacturing based on imported textiles, or even ship materials to Greece and create jobs for the Greeks to assemble products. With so much automation that has advanced efficiencies in manufacturing, take a step back to implementing human integration. The Greeks are people with hopes and dreams and lives. The current bailout strategy continuously takes away from the Greek people without any structured plan to get them back on their feet in a sustainable manner.
Improve cotton agriculture development and exports as well as repurpose abandon factories into textile plants with jobs for people to go to. The EU should then offer incentives for Greek production and build up the sustainability of the Greek economy at the same time. Repurposing the abandoned facilities can be carried out by the Greek people, creating jobs almost immediately.
As people go to their jobs, they pay back into the government system via taxes. The people also provide income to local stores for goods and services, therefore creating additional demand for jobs and new goods and services. The very fundamentals of economic growth in a society is based on supply and demand. As it stands today, Greece has no demand, which means no supply. They cannot survive in such a manner.
The EU can setup oversight committees to minimize fraud and corruption as well as risk of criminal or malicious intent taking over the initiatives at Greece and the EU expense. The EU can then safely and strategically invest in the industries of Greece for the long term.
The Greek people will be expected to change previous employment behavior since time is no longer a luxury. Working an actual 8 hour day 5 days a week without the previous 4-6 week vacation, pensions will need to align with realistic expectations of the government.
While there is neither an easy answer nor quick fix for solving the crisis in Greece, the first step to resolution is to create jobs that generate income for the government without suffocating the people. The EU can, and should, help with job creation efforts rather than continuously giving and taking away from the Greek people. No matter if it is a euro or drachma, you can't keep paying out from a bank account of nothing.