The Public Sector in Greek Society
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It is nearly impossible to calculate the actual size of the public sector in Greece, whether in employment3 or, more so, output or expenditure terms.4 This should not be surprising. Accurate information presupposes transparency and good management. Both have been conspicuously absent from the Greek public sector. The reason, at least in part, is deliberate: more often than not, obscurity has allowed governments and individual politicians to employ people in the broad public sector, or divert funds to political friends or ‘social’ purposes, without due process of law, or accountability. The Greek public sector is a huge, sprawling and amorphous affair, intertwined with the rest of society through umpteen intricate interconnections, fed by expedience and convenience on the part of politicians, administrators, and ‘subjects’ alike. Many would add that the Greek public sector is ineffectual and incompetent. This criticism, however, might be misplaced: the Greek public sector has been relatively successful at discharging its raison d’ etre, namely, to distribute jobs, grants, subsidies, and favours here and there, calculated to buy votes and/or secure apathy.5 On top of that, public procurement practices6 and the allocation of public works (see Chapter 8) often secure for politicians and public-sector officials lucrative pecuniary benefits in addition to political kudos, whilst lower-level functionaries have to make do with smaller bribes.
KeywordsPublic Sector Greek Government Greek Economy Greek Society Greek State
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