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The reason I am interested in this debate is that the EU/IMF has insisted on the reform and opening to competition of the Irish Medical and Legal oligopolies which tend to be dominated by small, self-regulating professions charging outrageous fees.  In this limited sense the IMF/EU intervention may actually be partially progressive in challenging the local bourgeoisie's stranglehold on key economic sectors. If (for example) much of the Greek public sector is not actually very economically productive - or is actually preventing the emergence of a more productive economy - then the EU/IMF intervention might not be entirely retrogressive however painful it may obviously be for often lowly paid public sector workers. Hence my questions....

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 30th, 2011 at 09:14:07 AM EST
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Ah now I understand! There were similar measures imposed by the troika in Greece. These might have the effect of opening up things like notary services or transport to more competition although the way things are set up I suspect that it will actually decrease competition as hundreds of independent truckers say, give way to two or three national or multinational corporations. But most of these were on a slow way to opening up and the sort of dislocation they are causing during a deep depression has societal repercussions.

What they have eliminated for example, are minimum fees for lawyers and engineers, a measure that seems to have been put originally in place as some sort of obstacle to total tax-evasion. The "opening-up" of certain professions especially in this climate will only have the effect of turning them into oligopolies. They are legislating an opening up of taxi licenses for example, a reasonable measure in regular times which is fought tooth and nail right now by the owners, who fear that they will be burdened with even more costs at a time when already most can't make ends meet. Of course investors have tried already to create taxi companies that would monopolize access to airports for example, in a business agreement with the El.Venizelos managers. So so much for competition.

Much of the Greek public sector is unproductive, but I would argue that so is much of the private sector. The size of the Greek public sector is (was) pretty much average for an OECD country, and there are areas where it is understaffed and others where it is overstaffed. So a rehaul of the public system is in order. But certainly not its reduction in size. Mass and indiscriminate sackings at a time of depression (and ~20% unemployment) are unlikely to help workers in either the private or the public sector.

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake

by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Fri Sep 30th, 2011 at 10:08:21 AM EST
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