Does the Average Greek Citizen Understand the Causes of The Country’s Financial Crisis?

BY Business Desk  August 20, 2010 at 4:57 PM EDT

Question: Does the average Greek citizen understand the causes of their dilemma? Do they know that the average American citizen also has and largely still is spending more than they bring in?

Paul Solman

I don’t know. But the most convincing exchange I had on the subject was with cab driver “Evgenios” from Cameroon, who came to study in Greece 37 years ago and stayed. Here it is:

PAUL SOLMAN: But do they [the Greek people] take responsibility for the fact that THEY borrowed more than they were earning?

EVGENIOS: Greek people, no. All they say about that is it’s the responsibility for the government.

>PS: Do the Greek people understand that part of the fault is theirs for having spent more than they earned?

E: No. Definitely not.

PS: Why?

E:: Because you know what we call ‘victory’ is a child with many fathers. The defeat is always an orphan.

PS: An orphan?

E: Yes. They blame someone else.

PS: And who do they blame here?

E: They blame the politicians, I mean the government, the government who made all those things.

PS: Who’s taken out the loans?

E: Yes.

PS: But half the people in Greece work for the government.

E: Of course [laughs]. Of course they work for the government. But they are people executing orders. It’s not their fault.