the CHANIA POST
November 2015, Issue No. 29 www.cretepost.gr
Three Academics from the Technical University of Crete and the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of Chania, write the truth...
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The Economic Crisis and Retardants of Growth in Greece
READ ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: 11 young people living with Type 1 diabetes “conquered” Lefka Ori p.14
ENFIA Tax Property of 2015
Bad finances are fatal to republics. A Greece free of the harmful behavior of special interest groups will resemble a teenager. Maybe she will make some mistakes, but she will leap ahead with momentum towards sustainable development. p. 8-11
10 Cretans for every dead or injured German
Nazi archives shed light on WWII atrocities in Greece p. 6
PUBLIC BUS SERVICE is the Best Affordable Way to Travel to Chania, Rethymnon, Heraklion and to all Southwestern Crete
Real estate owners in Greece started paying the Property tax (E.N.F.I.A.) of 2015 in five monthly installments from the end of October 2015. p.4
Survey records complaints of doctors and nurses in Greece’s cash-strapped hospitals
At any outpatient department in any Greek hospital you will find dozens of patients waiting to be examined and the chances of an angry outburst aimed at one of the overworked staff are always pretty likely.
Such a time is reading the work of one of the most important Greek poets of the 20th century, and a Nobel laureate , Giorgos Seferis.
called “Just A Little More” and reading “Flowers of the rock it gives a unique facing the green sea feeling when you’re with veins that reat sea and especialminded me of other loves ly from the Balkan Elpida “Hope” Katsarakis Peninsula. glowing in the slow by NEA TV Journalist fine rain, flowers of the rock, figures “Just a little more that came when no one spoke And we shall see the almond and spoke to me trees in blossom that let me touch them after The marbles shining in the sun the silence The sea, the curling waves. among pine-trees, oleanders, Just a little more and plane-trees”. Let us rise just a little higher”.
And here is what I mean..
Another poem is the one
someone comes across with this poem by Giorgos Seferis entitled “Flowers Of The Rock”.
www.gelamou.gr... only the good news !!!
In troubled times poetry and self awareness can be the key to guide us and to give us the strength to carry on.
And as Giorgos Seferis him-
self said... “You spoke about things they couldn’t see and so they laughed. Yet to row up the dark river against the current, to take the unknown road blindly, stubbornly, and to search for words rooted like the knotted olive tree- let them laugh.
Your local free paper by FTP Publications 73, El. Venizelou str., Chania, 73100 Tel. +30 6977 295075 Owner/Publisher: FTP Publlications Web: http://www.chaniapost.eu E-mail: email@example.com FB: http://www.facebook.com/chaniapost Twitter: @chaniapost Editors: Pandelis Giaitsis, Elpida “Hope” Katsarakis, Pandelis Spiridakis, Petros Chatzistavros, Giannis Kriaras, Nicos Lazakis, Miltiades Markatos, Giannis Venetakis, Giannis Xamonakis, Petros Marinakis, Antonia Tsakirakis., Giorgos Atsalakis, Stavros Tsihlis, Manolis Karpadakis, Katerina Polizou.
And to yearn for the other world to inhabit today’s suffocating loneliness, this ravaged present- let them be”.
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CHANIA POST... on the go Android Mac OS ECO friendly paper - Please recycle When you finish reading... give it to a friend Find CHANIA POST at the following points: CHANIA Municipal Market, Airport, Public Bus Central Station, Old Harbour, Municipal Tourist Information Desk PLATANIAS Central Square Infokiosk, Botanical Park KISSAMOS Gramvousa and Balos boats, Elafonissi, Falassarna KANDANOS-SELINO Paleochora Info Desk, Sougia, Kandanos SFAKIA Hora Sfakion Infokiosk, Loutro, Agia Roumeli, ANENDYK boats APOKORONAS Georgioupoli, Kavros, Vamos, Kalyves, Vrysses Also in Chania taxis, Limnoupolis Water Park and in selected cafes, businesses and shops throughout Chania Prefecture.
Live @ Love @ Laugh
Sweet November syndrom here … Knock , knock! Where on the God of chocolate sweets have you been? Are you by Pandelis Spiridakis gelamou.gr laying carpets, collecting firewood or preparing the winter sweater laundry… A loving companionship to all these winter – coming stuff is radio listening Larry King had once said “When I was five years old I wanted to be on the radio. I don’t know why…” . Larry I tottaly understand you now more than ever! So I though to check it in 3 houses …in the most cases a mother cooking with th radio on in th kitchen, the kid in the pc with his favourite radio programme on and the father at the yard making baits for fishing with an old fashioned transistor hanging from a lemon tree. ‘Pantelis Live’ is on air every day from Monday – Friday 12.00 – 14.00 at noons. If you are radio fans these are the links to listen * http://www.24radio.gr/code/station. php?station_id=409 * http://greekradios.gr/radio_play.asp?r_id=592&pl=10&ok=1 We check the day news and people with their messages tell their own side. It’s a ‘story teller’ programme.
The most beloved stories: We are calling people that sell clothes at the public market We interviewed a working grandmother student from the Night School of Rethymno. Discovering the first internet super market at Rethimno was a faboulous experience. A life full o surprises… Then we contacted Ierapetra and George Remiedakis to learn about the piece of the ancient olive tree that will travel to Unesco & United Nations Organization. Who could ever imagine it? Parents at the school of Anogia did squats, sounds unusual but they are only asking for teachers and better education The most unbelievable story was the Rethimno Bank Time : people here come over the crisis exchanging 260 products & services without giving 1 single euro. Every day starts with one song , an interview and the way people roll with their lives….all these communicating the message of achieving , sharing and learning. Besides all the things that matter who can forget the incredible moment when Robin Williams as a radio DJ on Armed Forces Radio Service was radio – calling ‘Good Morning, Vietnam’
It s then that you realise that the most important things in life…are not things! Have a nice NOVEMBER…full of love and adventure…That keeps the beast alive! JUST Yupi …the moment!
(CHANIA) Furnished ground-floor apartment close to the APTERA archaeological site, and the national Chania-Rethymnon high-way. 110 m2, on a 1000 m2 plot, large living room, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, parking, autonomous heating (oil-heated radiators), air-conditioning, view to Souda Bay and back-land, 5 minutes drive to Souda Port and 13 min to Chania hospital, Telephone (0030) 6980569733.
Real estate owners in Greece started
paying the Property tax (E.N.F.I.A.) of 2015 in 5 monthly installments from the end of October 2015. The new tax shifts the burden from small property owners to the 290,000 taxpayers, whose property assets add up to at least 300,000 euros, as the latter will also pay the supplementary tax. The ENFIA is applied to any type of property (residential or commercial building, plots, land etc). The owners of a property on 1/1/2015 are liable to pay the on ENFIA. for more news click In case that there are http://cretepost.gr co-owners, each owner is liable according to his share. Property tax up to 1 euro is not charged. The property tax of the building varies from 2.3€-13€ according the value zone price of the building location. Value zone price 0 - 500 2,00 501 - 750 2,80 751 - 1.000 2,90 1.001 - 1.500 3,70 1.501 - 2.000 4,50 2.001 - 2.500 6,00 2.501 - 3.000 7,60 3.001 - 3.500 9,20 3.501 - 4.000 9,50 4.001 - 4.500 11,10 4.501 - 5.000 11,30 5.001+ 13,00 The follow most important information is needed in order to roughly calculate
ENFIA Tax Property Of 2015
how much is the ENFIA for a house. ENFIA of home= Size in sq.m. X euro per square meter X age multiplier X auxiliary space multiplier Example: A house 80 sq.m. that is 8 years old in a small village. 80X3x1.2x1.1=316,8€ (with the previous system the tax was 384€) ENFIA of plots = Size in sq.m. X tax rate per square meter according the unary value zone price Example: A plot inside the village of 200 sq.m. in a small village that contain a house of 80 sq.m. 200-80x0,15=18€ (with the previous system the tax for the plot was zero€). So total ENFIA for the house and the plot is 316.8+18=334,8€. ENFIA of land= Size in thousands sq.m. X euro per square meter X use
coefficient X irrigated coefficient X coefficient if it contains a building. Example Land of 4 thousands sq.m. that contain olive trees it is irrigated and it has a house on it outside of the borders of village Kokkino Chorio: ENFIA of land= 4X1.3XX2X1.1X5=57.2€ Supplementary property tax Owners whose property assets add up to at least 300,000 euros, as the latter will also pay the supplementary tax according the follow tax bracket. bracket (€) Tax rate 0,01 - 300,000 0.0% 300,000.01 - 400,000 0.1% 400,000.01 - 500,000 0.2% 500,000.01 - 600,000 0.3% 600,000.01 - 700,000 0.6% 700,000.01 - 800,000 0.7%
800,000.01 - 900,000 900,000.01 - 1,000,000 More than 1,000,000
0.8% 0.9% 1.0%
The tax office doesn’t send property tax bills by post mail. The property tax bills are uploaded at tax payer’s tax files at www.taxisnet.gr. For the owners that are not tax resident in Greece the bill can be downloaded by contacting their tax representative. Tax payers, that are tax resident in Greece and have disability more than 80% and have family income less than 12,000 and the total size of the building is less than 150 sq.m. can get allowance from the property tax. The same allowance can have the families that have 3 or more dependent children. 50% discount is applied for the families that are tax residents in Greece and have family income less than 10,000€ and have total building size less than 150 sq.m and the value of the property is less than 150,000€. These notes are for guidance only and reflect the Greek tax situation at the time of writing. Due to the frequent changes in tax legislation, some of the above information may no longer be valid. It is essential that appropriate professional advice be obtained. Our office will be glad to assist you in this respect. Please do not hesitate to contact us.
news & articles
The VW emissions scandal makes niche insurance cover popular again One of the most dis-
cussed and least understood insurance products is Directors & Officers Liability by Stavros Tsihlis (D&O) insurance. Insurance & Investment Advisor Market watchers note that even some lawyers have their problems comprehending what kind of coverage the insured managers have. In simple words, D&O insurance is taken out by companies to cover claims against senior executives for the decisions and actions they take as part of their management duties.
This market has grown rapidly over the last 30 years and especially since the late 1980s when it spread from the US to other markets. Worldwide today, it commands roughly $10 billion in gross written premiums, and headlines are
full of stories about “mega claims” of several billions of dollars along with more and less informed commentaries discussing the principles of this kind of insurance cover. Insurance industry insiders now say D&O insurance is likely to see the biggest damage claims stemming from an unfolding scandal around Volkswagen’s rigging of U.S. emissions tests that prompted the German car maker’s chief to resign last month. The German car manufacturer has at least 450 million euros of directors and officers coverage, according to insurance industry sources. 8 insurers participate, among which are big names such as Zurich Insurance Group, AXA and AIG. Insurers would be off the hook for costs related to any recall of the cars affect-
ed, said Richard Leedham, partner at London city law firm Mishcon de Reya. “Given their apparent internal knowledge, it seems unlikely that VW will be able to claim any insurance for product recall or for product liability cover, so they won’t be able to pass on their losses,’ he said. Siemens had a similar case 5 years ago involving corruption, having approximately 250 million Euros worth of D&O cover, but in the end reached an agreement with its insurers, on a claim of 100 million euros. Due to the VW case, the D&O sector is seeing great demand these days, as companies realize that potential losses
could be enormous, even resulting in bankruptcy. Sources: • Reuters.com • Allianz.com • Executiverisknetwork.com
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Goodbye One Eye! You were a good cat...
They say that you do not choose a cat
– the cat chooses you. And in the case of my good cat One Eye, who died last by Giannis Xamonakis week from acute kidney failure, that apokoronasnews.gr was certainly the case. One Eye appeared from the agricultural path with his bother White one spring morning five years ago and despite my efforts to shoo him off, the determined kitten had decided to stay and fight with the other house cats for a place in the garden. He and his brother both stayed. But One Eye was wild. He spent his days and nights outdoors. When it was cold and wet he took cover in the boiler shed and on sunny days he positioned himself halfway on the stairs whacking the other cats as they were going round him. The first time he was taken to the vet to be neutered he escaped causing havoc in the surgery. He very rarely came into the house even though he enjoyed a stroke and rolled over to have his tummy tickled. Even after he was neutered he on for more news click remained aggressive and http://cretepost.gr was always involved in some howling scrap with some passing tom cat. One Eye and I eventually bonded when he got himself badly injured in 2012 and willingly got into the catbox
by himself as if asking to be taken to the vet’s to get help. At the surgery I warned the vet (a different vet this time) that the cat is a bit wild but he assured me that he ‘knows what he is doing’ – he is after all a professional. A few minutes later I retrieved the injured One Eye from the air conditioning unit and placed him back in his box. But not before he bit me a few times. The vet locked the box and attended to my wounds advising me to visit the health centre for some medical care while moping up the blood from the floor. The result was a week’s course of antibiotics for me and for the cat. That week he stayed in and became a friendlier animal who would jump on my lap and purr like a normal cat. But because I could hardly use my left hand and because he needed some form of punishment for his behaviour, I made him write the editorial for the then weekly edition of Apokoronas News. This is One Eye’s take on the events in Greek politics in that particular week in 2012. It is worth noting that the concerns, policies and rhetoric have changed very little over the last three years. “Following my unfortunate accident
resulting from a scrap with another pussycat who was much bigger than me, I spent all last week confined indoors, with nothing to do but read newspapers, watch the news and get tasty wittles laced with some nasty stuff which I spat out. Well, it was not as much fun as chasing mice and having scraps with my fellow felines and the odd sheep, but it was a useful experience that made me reflect on the life of the cat. Why, I thought we had a hard life, those of us that are homeless and have to find our food in the dustbins and sleep rough. But maybe it’s not as bad as having to watch the news with Master Yannis three times a day. Same thing over and over again. Anyway, I was moved by all the get well messages and decided to write something this week, to say thank you to all the well wishers and to give Master Yannis a break. I think he deserves it ,as he needs to rest his fingers that still hurt. I think he too had an accident last week, but I’m not sure what happened. I was too ill at the time and my memory is still hazy. What I remember – I heard it over and over and over again this week – is that these nice people who run the country have managed to save us at the last mo-
ment. They apparently spent 14 hours negotiating with a bunch of nasties, but they did not budge. They defended the interests of the people and national sovereignty and have managed to borrow more money than any other country ever before, to pay for they loans they got to pay for things. And maybe by 2020 the debt will become manageable. There are a few ifs and buts here but hey - a cat does not live that long. And if the ifs and buts work out, the debt will be repaid sometime in the mid 2040s. But that is for someone else to worry about. Some people say that there are some good things that came out of this two and a half year rescue operation. For example, charity is becoming fashionable once again. Not that many of my fellow cats have noticed – but apparently there are more and more people in this country that are homeless and rely on soup kitchens for their main meal of the day. Some reports even show people in big cities to scavenge in dustbins for food. Just like us cats, except that they have to pay taxes on top. Poverty is not an excuse for not being taxed. I hope being a cat is”. One Eye The Cat, Friday 24 February 2012 Goodbye
10 Cretans for every dead or injured German From the number of Cretans to be
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executed for every dead German soldier to advice on which brothel to use, new research is shedding light on Nazi wartime atrocities in Greece. Greece’s defense ministry on Monday unveiled its first findings from research into formerly classified Wehrmacht papers found in archives in the United States. The senior historian working on the project spoke of an “endless list” of killing, looting and burning of villages, drawn from local dispatches to the Wehrmacht high command and personal diaries. “It is an endless list of tragedy,” said Efi Paschalidou from the Greek army history department (DIS). The dispatches provided weekly casualty reports but when referring to slain
Nazi archives shed light on WWII atrocities in Greece
Greeks, they “rarely state whether the dead are women or children,” she said. Reprisal killings were referred to as “atonement measures.” They also list tons of goods seized at a time when much of the country was starving to death – including livestock, wheat, olive oil, vehicles and even wool carpets. The documents relate to a four-year period which covered the invasion of Greece in 1941, the battle of Crete, the occupation of Athens and efforts to suppress the Greek resistance movement which continued until 1944. Troops operating in Epirus, northwestern Greece, were instructed to show no mercy, Paschalidou said. “There must be no hesitation, even towards the families… suspects must be executed on the spot,” one dispatch
said, adding that weakness “would cost German blood.” Meanwhile on Crete, which managed to hold off the invasion for longest, the high command decreed that 10 Cretans be executed for every dead or injured German. And the few Cretan laborers who agreed to work for the Germans were paid less than the cost of a loaf of bread. In Thessaloniki, special brothels were set up for German troops with one dispatch explaining the need by saying most local women “have venereal diseases.” “The value of this information is that it is not coming from a Greek grandfather. It’s from Hitler’s forces themselves,” Paschalidou told AFP. DIS head brigadier Nikolaos Delatollas said German-speaking Greek soldiers,
supervised by experts, had worked long hours to translate the material, some of it handwritten and tough to decipher. It came in the form of 162 microfilms provided by the US National Archives between 2005 and 2007. Earlier this year, Greece had said it would use the information to press its claim for German reparation payments. Greece’s parliament also tasked a special committee with looking into war reparations, reimbursement of a forced war loan and the return of archaeological relics seized by the German occupation forces. Berlin has said the issue of reparations to Greece was settled in 1960 as part of an agreement with several European governments. AFP
The Economic Crisis and Retardants of Growth in Greece
Assistant Professor George Atsalakis, Economist, Technical University of Crete, Financial Engineering Laboratory, Data Analysis and Forecasting Laboratory
Prof. Dr. George Baourakis, Director, Mediterranean Agronomic Institute of ChaniaCIHEAM, Visiting (Affiliate) Professor at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Stewardship of Nyenrode Business Universiteit;
Professor Constantin Zopounidis, Academician, Royal Academy of Economic and Finance Sciences of Spain, Technical University of Crete, Distinguished Research Professor, Audencia Nantes School of Management
news & articles
ABSTRACT Small interest groups have disproportionate organizational power of collective action (demands). Large groups such as the poor and unemployed, despite being composed of many members, do not have selective incentives to enable them to organize themselves to achieve demands or to face their exploitation from the lobbies of small interest groups. The reason is that any benefit resulting from organized demands will be split among too many members so the benefit of each member is infinitesimal. Unlike the few large companies or the few wealthy individuals and small professional groups etc., although they comprise on for more news click a smaller number of people, they can organize themselves http://cretepost.gr as a lobby with relative ease since the benefits for each team member can be quite significant. The activity of special interest groups can be detrimental to economic growth, full employment, prudent governance, equal opportunities and social mobility. The development of special interest groups may alter the structure of incentives and the direction of a society’s development. Governments are systematically influenced by special interest groups, the demands and pressures of small groups which are able to organize themselves rather quickly and efficiently. The slowdown in the adoption of new technologies, the non-adjustment of the economy, and the focus on the distribution of the “pie” rather than the enlargement of the “pie” due to the activity of the interest groups lead to a certain rigidity in society, a lack of reforms and a lack of competitiveness, which altogether have resulted in a progressive decline of society and the economy. Any attempt to change, reform and adjust society fails because of the strong resistance of these lobbyists until the inevitable occurs for both society and the economy. Awareness of the perverse role of interest groups by more and more people, but mainly by public policy makers, will significantly reduce the losses suffered by society from their activity. This is an expectation of all who espouse a society that will gradually minimize economic and social inequalities. The unveiling of the role of special interest groups and the removal of privileges will transform Greece into both a healthy society and economy. 1. Introduction There are growth retardants in some countries, and some time periods impede economic growth, while the dissolution of these retardants or their absence in other countries push them rapidly towards economic growth. These retardants are private special interest groups such as: similar ventures (cartels), lobbies (even without formal recognition), trade unions, professional associations, agricultural organizations, labour unions, etc., which are struggling to achieve favorable changes and legislation that protects their interests, in order to prevent legislation that reduces their privileges, and to enforce a higher price or wage for their members at the expense of the societal whole (Olson, 1982). Interest groups can be found at any level, but those who can profit either through a lobby or through a cartel at the national level are usually those small groups of important businesses or some rich and powerful individuals. It is taken for granted that if everyone in a group of individuals or businesses has a common interest, then the group will try to promote this interest. The paradox is that large groups, at least those composed of rational individuals, will not act in the interests of their group. This paradox is the logic of collective action. This is the behavioural paradox of a large group (Olson, 1971). Groups with a large number of members, like the poor or the unemployed, or taxpayers, do not have selective incentives that enable them to organize themselves to deal with their exploitation from the lobbies of small interest groups. The reason is that any benefit resulting from organized demands will be split among too many members so the benefit for each member is infinitesimal. However, a few large firms or a few wealthy individuals, or small business groups, despite comprising a small number of members, can be organized in a lobby with disproportionate orga-
nizational power, since the benefit for each member of the group can be quite significant. The greater the number of individuals or companies that would benefit from a collective claim, the smaller the share of the benefits from the activity for the collective interest that would arise for the individual or business that takes action. Thus, the lack of selective incentives, the motivation for group activity, declines with the size of the group; therefore, large groups are less able to act on their common interest than smaller ones (Margolis, 1982; Lohmann, 2003; Trumbull, 2012). Because of the lack of selective incentives, there is greater inequality in the opportunity to create interest groups than there is in the inherent capacities of individuals. This inequality of opportunity results in large groups such as, for example, the unemployed being unable to organize themselves to form their own interest group and to ward off the damage suffered due to other organized groups. This explains paradoxical phenomena such as ‘the exploitation of the bigger by the smaller’. Society will not be able to achieve efficacy because some societal groups (which represent the majority of society) - due to a lack of organization - are too weak to prevent changes that are detrimental to them, or to process negotiations with others in a mutually beneficial way. With some groups being excluded from the negotiations, the results will certainly be biased in favor of other groups (Olson, 1966; Sandler, 1980). The small groups that can organize themselves or participate in collusion will have different interests in different countries at different time periods. At a certain time they may be oligarchic landowners, at another time they may be manufacturing enterprises, and at others bureaucratic groups, etc. In one country they may have a legitimate interest in exports, in another it may be the substitution of imports, in yet another it may be the prevention of the creation of new businesses, and others it may be the selective access to public expenditures etc. The logic of the collective assertion of special interest groups is not immediately obvious to those who have not studied the topic. The reason for this is that the average person has no incentive to spend a lot of time studying many of the choices concerning collective demands. Governments are systematically influenced by special interest groups, the demands and pressures of small groups that are able to organize themselves rather quickly and hamper the work of prudent governance. The slowdown in the adoption of new technologies, the non-adjustment of the economy, and the focus on the distribution of the “pie” rather than the enlargement of the “pie” due to the activity of the interest groups lead to an inelastic society, a lack of reforms and a lack of competitiveness, which altogether have resulted in a progressive decline of both society and the economy. The great difference in productivity among countries is due to the role of these groups (Olson, 2000). Unemployment is rising, social inequality is widening, prudent governance is being prevented. Even when some temporary economic growth is achieved, it is accompanied by high unemployment. Any attempt to change, reform and adjust society fails because of the strong resistance of these lobbyists until the inevitable occurs for both the economy and society. Special interest groups are detrimental to economic growth, full employment, prudent governance, equal opportunities and social mobility. 2. Special interest groups are detrimental to economic growth The development of special interest groups - motivated by conquering a larger share of the national income - the increasingly more complex regulation and the influence of state action which the groups promoting special interests encourage, combined with the increasing negotiation and complexity of the perceptions that these groups create, postpone the incentive to reform and the direction of societal development. The activity of interest groups has resulted in the incentive for production to decline while the motivation to pursue a higher income share via protection laws increases. Instead of developing healthy competition for the production and satisfaction of customer needs, perverse competition is developed with legal protection and income distribution through protective regulations for group members. The reward that comes from the pleasure of those to whom goods or works are sold decreases, while the reward for avoidance or exploitation of measures, policies and bureaucracy, together with the demand for the enforcement of rights through negotiation or complex concepts, becomes greater. These changes in the structure of incentives in their turn divert the direction of the development of a society. Each society, regardless of institutions and governmental ideology, gives greater rewards to the most appropriate - the most qualified for that society. What is required to be favouritised varies from society to society, but no society rewards those who are poorly placed to
prosper under its reforms. If a society primarily rewards production or the ability to meet those with whom one engages in free exchange, it stimulates the development of productive features. If the accumulation of special interest groups increases the incentive for a distributive struggle, magnifies regulatory complexity, encourages the domination of politics, diverts negotiation and intensifies the complexity of perceptions, then it encourages the development of different trends and properties. What we vaguely call intelligence or inclination to learn will probably be favored as much, or even more than before, because those who are capable of expressing themselves clearly, together with the well-educated, have a comparative advantage in reforms, in politics and in complex perceptions. This, in turn, may restrict the extent to which intellectuals are opposed to the development of interest groups since most people would belong to some such group. The competition for the distribution of income isn’t better than the competition for production or customer satisfaction. Thus, life is not more moderate due to the lobbyists; it is instead less productive, especially in the long term. Private interest groups retard the ability of a society to adopt new technologies and to redistribute resources in response to changing conditions, and for that reason, they reduce the rate of economic growth. In addition to changes in consumer preferences, resource discoveries, etc., the most important sources of change today are technological breakthroughs which the advance of scientific knowledge gives us in the form of innovations and production methods at a lower cost. A healthy economy must adapt to these changes if it wants to maintain its efficiency and exploit opportunities for economic development. Otherwise it will stay dormant and counterproductive, so that it would not be able to survive because it will lose its competitiveness. The environment in which lobbyists operate is also changing because of the incentives in innovation which businesses related to the economy are facing, particularly companies in sectors that are not influenced by cartels or lobbies. In a country when there are markets without restrictions, this means that there is normally no entry barrier in an industry or economic sector and there is also no obstacle in copying any profitable activity model, provided however that there is no agreement on cartels or government intervention due to lobbies or other factors. If there are greater than normal profits or returns of any kind in an industry or sector of activity, there will be an incentive to enter this sector, and this motivation will be maintained until enough resources enter the sector, so that the profits will no longer be higher than normal. If interest groups are absent in any market, abnormal long-term gains or performance cannot be secured; hence unreasonable economic disparities will not be created (Schmalensee, 1981). This avoids the accumulation of wealth in the hands of just a few individuals. Free entrance also implies that no business will be able to avoid a Darwinian struggle for survival, so nobody can remain dormant or be counterproductive and continue to survive. Free en-
trance eventually neutralizes all the refuges and monopolist profits, but does not need to create perfect competition (product differentiation may remain), nor does it need to secure perfect (according to Pareto) efficiency. The absence of entry barriers and replication actually ensures that every product or service which creates abnormal profits will attract entry or replication, so that at the very least there will exist some very close substitutes for this product or service; with such very close substitutes, the degree of monopolisation and the extent of any ineffectiveness in terms of resource allocations will be limited. Entry barriers are imposed by tariffs and restrictions to foreign companies or the creation of new domestic businesses, which interest groups have reasonably elicited among the existing domestic companies. If there were no such obstacles, there would be an embarkation point for excess profits by multinational companies. For a certain period, there are above-normal profitability rates for some businesses, even in industries with free entrance. The reason is that it may take some time before the opportunity is discovered as to how to acquire ‘supernatural’ profits by entry or replication, and an even longer period of time may be required for someone to learn the ‘tricks’ of a new field of activity and to purchase or generate the capital required for this. But what gives rise to these temporary gains? This comes mainly from innovations of one sort or another – discoveries of new technology in previously unmet consumer requirements, lower-cost production methods, and so on. The larger the extent of the profits due to entry and replication difficulties, the greater the reward in innovations, which mainly explain economic growth and progress! Indeed, barriers to entry, which are created by interest groups, interfere with the ability of an economy to adjust to change and to produce new innovations and, therefore, to actually reduce the rate of economic growth. If an innovation that saves costs is available to a company, the use of this innovation will mean that the difference between revenue and production costs will grow, so that there is more money to share between the company and the workers. Special interest groups also slow down growth by reducing the rate at which resources are distributed from one activity or sector to another in response to new technologies or conditions. An obvious way to do this is by demanding government guarantees on debt redemption for businesses in recession, delaying or preventing the transfer of resources to areas where they would have higher productivity rates (Hicks, 1983). Increasing productivity means that resources should be reallocated if they are to maintain economic efficiency, and society should fully exploit the rise in productivity. Required resource reallocations will be prevented or they will be delayed by entry barriers. Even if there is no accumulation of special interest groups over time, barriers for reallocation of resources that are created by such groups would reduce the growth rate and the absolute level of income. The slower adoption of new technologies and entry barriers can often remove a lot more from the total production capacity of a society than that which the special interest group removes, particularly in the long term.
legislation they bring about, would behave to a great degree in the way that the less cautious monetarists and balance theorists claim that all economies behave. When an economy reaches the point where special interest groups are ubiquitous and the fixed price sector (where prices are not decreasing due to cartels) is large in relation to the flexible price area (where due to the absence of cartels, prices subside), the macroeconomic situation will be different. Unexpected deflation or a deflationary policy would result in widespread losses and suffering from the forced displacement of the fixed price sector to that of the flexible, due to falling prices in the flexible price due to the unemployment of those who cannot or do not want to move on, from the increases involved in the cost of searching and waiting in queues, and simultaneously substantial losses in actual demand, which further aggravate the problems because, due to maintaining high prices and shrinking disposable income, the purchasing power has decreased for that particular society. The economy which has a dense network of narrow special interest groups will be vulnerable to recession or stagflation during periods of deflation or a deflationary policy. When the 1929 crisis appeared in the US, a barrage of measures followed, which were designed to intervene in markets by adjusting prices and wages to supposedly “fair”, “reasonable” and “full cost” levels. In fact the arrangements favored only special interest groups. Greater quantities could not be sold at lower prices so that additional workers could be hired. In short, the event of a recession led to the official promotion of business and labor interests in legislation and regulation that banned to a greater extent unemployed workers and other resources from drawing up mutually beneficial contracts: more and more workers, consumers and businesses were prevented from concluding agreements among themselves In this way, the recession continued and worsened for four more years until 1933 (Chandler, 1970). If the markets of the entire economy are dominated by special interest groups and the government constantly intervenes on behalf of their special interests, there is no macroeconomic policy that can fix things. The inevitable becomes a fact. In Greece a large number of interest groups prevent prices from liquidating at levels that are mutually beneficial for both sides. The prices of many products and services are not adjusted accordingly to reduce salaries with the result that consumers buy smaller quantities of goods, and businesses have to produce smaller quantities; thus they only maintain the staff necessary for decreased production and lay off excess staff. But if prices and wages were directly adjusted, consumers would buy the same amounts as before the crisis, with the result that companies would require all their employees to produce the same quantities as before the crisis; hence, they would not lay off staff and there would not be the high levels of unemployment that there are today.
4. Special interest groups are detrimental to prudent governance Just as special interest groups lead to unequal distribution of resources and divert attention from production to distributional conflict, in this way creating political instability, they divert funds - which would otherwise have been allocated to productive long-term investments - towards forms of wealth that are more easily protected, or even to capital flight to other countries with more stable environments. Characteristically, unstable countries are often ruled intermittently by unstable non-democratic governments, with democratic breaks or at least some relatively pluralistic governance. An unstable society will have fewer and weaker mass organizations than stable societies, but small groups can participate in collusion more easily, enabling them to promote their common interests more easily. Groups can be of any level, but it is usually the case that those which can profit either through a lobby or through a cartel at national level are small groups of important businesses or some rich and powerful individuals. The more unstable a society, the more a government can be systematically influenced by the interests, appeals and pressures of small groups that are able to organize themselves rather quickly. The economic policy of such countries resembles a leaf that is blown by the wind, as each gust can suddenly turn in any direction, but over time, gravity will pull it to the ground. In unstable societies, for someone to understand a systematic element of economic policies, the general interests of the small groups that are capable of timely collective action must be understood. In most developing nations the largest companies and wealthiest individuals are involved in the production of import substitutes and goods for more news click on which foreign companies can http ://cretepost.gr also provide. In other words, they produce goods and services that are available at a lower cost on the world market or that could be provided more economically by local branches of foreign companies. In companies involved in import substitution in some developing countries, heavy industry is included, but other countries may simply manufacture textiles. Often, the more affluent families will own banks or insurance companies that provide services which could also be provided by foreign companies. And of course, these businesses and families will also tend to be located in large cities with easy access to the government. When the most important companies belong to the import substitution sectors and the replacement of foreign firms, a peculiar syndrome of irrational policy develops in society. The key to this policy syndrome is clearly that of disproportionate power among small groups in unstable societies. Large companies and wealthy families in the above-mentioned situations have an obvi (continued on p. 10)
3. Special interest groups are detrimental to full employment In the case of an unexpected decline in demand or due to unexpected deflation or some other unexpected blow, because of the slow rate of decision-making, hyper-loaded agendas and overloaded negotiating tables, considerable time may be needed in some societies for prices to change to newly adjusted levels, which this difficulty will bring about. The result is a reduction in demand for goods, labor and other production factors throughout the economy: in other words, there is a recession or a crisis. The outcome of cartels by the special interest groups increases price inelasticity, over time, in a stable society, with the result that there is more unemployment and greater production loss for any given reduction in overall demand. In addition, in cases of a reduction in aggregate demand, many prices, especially in manufacturing, will not decrease immediately or in proportion to the reduction in demand because of the cartel. Indeed, statistics show that while rural and other flexible prices subside dramatically, the majority of prices, especially in consolidated and organized industrial areas, decline slowly and relatively less. Special interest groups intervene in markets by adjusting prices and wages to supposedly “fair”, “reasonable” and “full cost” levels - that is, to levels that would be profitable for businesses and employees that were already safely established on the market, but would render as unprofitable the hiring of additional workers or the sale of additional goods that would bring back factories to full production levels and the economy to a state of prosperity. If in the event of a reduction in aggregate demand, it were directly possible to reduce prices and wages by the same proportion, the consumers would then continue to buy the same quantities of goods, so the factories will still produce the same quantities of goods, with the result that the same number of workers would be needed. So redundancies would not need to be made;
hence involuntary unemployment would not be increased. But special interest groups hinder the immediate adjustment of prices and wages. Involuntary unemployment can be explained only in terms of the interests and policies that exclude mutually beneficial negotiations between those who have work or other goods to sell and those who would benefit by buying what is offered. The core group that may have an interest in preventing mutually profitable transactions between the involuntarily unemployed and the employers is the workers with the same or competitive skills. They are the ones that have a substantial interest in preventing such transactions, because their salaries would have to be reduced since additional work will push down the marginal income of a product. The employed can prevent mutual beneficial transactions only if they are organized into cartels or lobbies or (as often happens) if they informally, in one way or another, exercise collusive pressure. The only other group that could have such an interest would be a cartel or lobby of employers, which would hinder mutually beneficial transactions between individual employers and workers in order to keep wages below competitive levels. According to the theorists of imbalance, such as Edmond Malinvaud (Phillips, 2015), the price that does not liquidate the market (ie does not complete all the mutually beneficial transactions) in a specific product market may also contribute to the unemployment of the workforce or to overcapacity in other product markets. The more extensive the special interest groups are and the non-liquidation of prices for the market brought about by lobbies and cartels, the greater the fluctuations in the rate of return for similar workers and for capital. Those prices which are determined by special interest groups at monopolistic levels and above the levels at which the market liquidates before unexpected deflation or an unexpected blow will now tend to be even higher than before, not only because of the direct effects of deflation or shock, but also because of a reduction in demand in real terms due to the effects of the general equilibrium which have been highlighted by Clower (1964) and other theorists of imbalance. This in turn makes long-term investment risky, so the cost of investments can also quickly subside, resulting in a lack of job creation (Clower, 1954). Each one of these developments will aggravate the other, so there may be a dangerous downward spiral, despite the trend of special interest groups and cartels to adjust their prices to the new situation, and it will eventually offset the forces that reduce the real outflow. In general, it is the additional unemployment that is caused by the reduction in the amount of goods purchased on the product market due to prices that do not liquidate the market, which in turn reduces business demand for work and multiplies employment losses because wages are above market liquidating levels. In other words, an economy that does not have special interest groups, and the procedures and
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Greece has a large number of special interest groups which have developed various entry barriers; they slow down the adoption of new technologies, particularly in the public sector, and have diverted the development of incentives in society. The prices of many goods and services are very high compared with other European countries due to a lack of healthy competition. Interest groups have altered the development of Greek society, making the dream of every young person to get a highly paid position in privileged state companies with the main privilege being early retirement. It is no coincidence that in Greece, because of early retirement which special interest groups were capable of demanding, one employee corresponds to one pensioner (there are 2.7 million employees in the productive economy and 2.7 million pensioners), while in progressive European countries there are four employees for every pensioner.
ous interest in protective legislation against imports and discriminate against foreign or multinational firms with which they compete. Cartels use the coercive power of governments to impose restrictions that protect them from competition. This increases prices for consumers, but consumers belong to latent groups that are unable to organize themselves so that their voice could be heard. In Greece the existence of many strong interest groups put pressure on the government to impose coercive force in the form of restrictions on competition in order to protect their interests. For example, the de-industrialization of Greece was due primarily to the banking cartels, which granted loans with more than double interest rates compared to other European countries. Thus, domestic enterprises with expensive money costs could not compete with other foreign companies in the export trade. The interest groups use their power to present their often exorbitant privileges as being socially beneficial. They prevent the use of experts in the creation of laws, so that the legal paragraphs that favour the special interest groups are not disclosed. They have ensured that any business initiative requires excessive time and costs, both legal and illegal. These costs comprise the revenues of the lobbyists, who are defended in any which way and with great passion. They interfere with the decisions of the state concerning distribution, subsidies, grants and any other state provision, ensuring that special interest groups receive the lion’s share. They on threaten and politically ‘kill for more news click off ’ politicians who are liker t.g os ep http://cret ly to reform their privileges. Politicians who work with interest groups are richly rewarded with long lasting political careers, with immunity from prosecution often provided to them by the slow and flexible operation of the judicial system. In this way, they hinder prudent governance which should protect the majority from the damage imposed by the actions of lobbyists (Mitsopoulos, 2009).
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5. Special interest groups are detrimental to equal opportunities It is well established - both among economists and the general public - that competitive markets create a considerable degree of inequality. It is further suggested that government action - or in some versions, the operation of unions, professional ethics, and so on - is necessary to reduce inequalities generated by the market. The orthodox case of both the Left and the Right, that the market creates more inequality by the government and other institutions that “mitigate” the effects, are the opposite of the truth. In fact, inequality in the markets and economic inequality enforce the actions of the government when it succumbs to the demands of the special interest groups. Most countries in the world are unstable developing nations and in most of these cases, their policies on international trade, foreign investment and many other issues make their societies generate huge inequalities and inefficiency. Current entrenched beliefs of both the Left and the Right assume that nearly all of the income redistribution that is noted is inspired by balancing incentives, and that it goes from the non-poor to the poor. In fact, many, if not most of the reallocations, are inspired by completely different motives, and most of them are the result of quite arbitrary rather than equalising effects on income distribution - in many cases, revenue is redistributed from lower-income people to higher-income brackets. Much of the activities of governments, even in developed democracies, offer no special assistance to the poor, and many of these activities are actually harming them. For example, the contribution of freelancers and the government in the healthcare system helps mainly health providers, most of whom are wealthy, without improving the provision of health services. There are laws for the minimum wage and compensation scales for union members, which prevent employers and workers from concluding labor contracts with lower wages during periods of recession, resulting in increasingly broad segments of the population being unemployed, especially in times of recession. The result is that the unemployed do not have equal opportunities to access the labor market. There is greater inequality in the opportunity to create special interest groups than there is in the inherent capacities of the people. Almost all large enterprises are represented by trade unions, with liberal professions being represented by professional associations, etc. However, large groups such as consumers do not have selective incentives to organize themselves and make demands. Thus they are deprived of opportunities to organize themselves and prevent the losses suffered by the strength of small organized special interest groups. If the accumulation of capital is not hindered, and if policies do not bestow so much power on special interest groups, the return on capital will subside as more capital is accumulated, and la-
bour wages, which capital is connected to, also increase. It is no coincidence that salaries are higher in countries that have enjoyed maximum capital accumulation due to direct investment from abroad. If economic nationalism does not prevent capital to bypass national boundaries, more and more capital will have an incentive to move to areas with lower wages and thus significantly increase the wages of the poorest, so that the unemployed will have the opportunity to work. The opportunity for a wage increase is prevented by special interest groups which prevent the accumulation of capital. Unfortunately, regimes, policies and institutions that retard growth are the rule rather than the exception, and the majority of the world’s population lives in poverty. This ignores the fact that nowadays the poor nations can borrow the technologies of more developed nations, some of which will be directly adapted to their environment and improve their production technologies very quickly. Great Britain, during the Industrial Revolution, could improve on its technology only through inventions that occurred at that time which required long periods until the new technology become a marketable product. Accordingly, most highly developed nations today can improve their technology only if they exploit the current progress in technology, something which takes time to research, etc. The poorest of the developing nations can collapse the cumulative technological progress of centuries to just a few decades, simply by introducing readily applicable technology. It is not just a simple obvious possibility – it actually occurs in countries such as Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. The nations of continental Europe and Japan were lagging behind significantly in terms of technology compared with the United States at the end of the Second World War, but they borrowed American technology, developed much faster than the United States, and nearly caught up with the delay in both their technology and their per capita income in less than twenty-five years. Interest groups, by hampering the borrowing of new technologies, hinder the ability of their citizens to escape poverty. Imports and foreign companies are normally a source of competition because they have lower costs. Since those that could initially become organized sooner were in fact the more affluent, private individuals and larger companies, and since the mobilization of large amounts of capital and the acquisition of scarce specialization implies wealth, in most cases, protection clearly favors the wealthy. Wealthy owners – which, in every developing nation, involve the poorer workforce - not only deny access to cheaper imports due to protection measures, but also receive a lower price for their work as well as for the products they have to sell. In Greece opposition to special interest groups against foreign direct investment by protected cartels has deprived the opportunity for unemployed people to find work in their own countries, which would create companies coming from abroad to set up shop in Greece. The result is that the unemployed migrate as they do not have employment opportunities in Greece and often work abroad in the same companies which could have created jobs in Greece if domestic cartels were not reined in. Furthermore, interest groups, by hindering the arrival of foreign investments, deny the opportunity for increasing salaries due to the increase in demand for work that foreign investment will bring. They deprive the ability to sell domestic products at increased prices due to higher demand. Moreover, interest groups, by preventing the introduction of new technologies, condemn Greece to a lack of competitiveness, under-development, endless bureaucracy, job losses and loss of national income. 6. Special interest groups are detrimental to social mobility Trade unions bear upon themselves the telltale signs of a cartel: in other words, participation restrictions, tariff arrangements, restrictively long apprenticeships from which are often excluded the offspring and relatives of members, and rules limiting production and innovation. Protected markets which enjoyed a period of stability acquire a cartel, at least if the number of firms in the market is small enough to allow each company to receive a significant share of the benefits of the collective action. The political leader Nehru (1944) in his book «The Discovery of India» explained the disintegration of India by way of the “static nature of Indian society that refused to change in a changing world, because every culture that resists change declines.” He concluded that “perhaps this was the inevitable result of the increasing rigidity and exclusivity of the Indian social system as represented primarily by the caste system.” The caste system, he wrote, was a “fossilization of classes” that “gave rise to depravity” and constitutes “a burden and scourge.” Beyond the impacts on efficiency, the caste system is a source of profound inequality, both in terms of opportunities as well as the results. One of the most famous cases in the creation of the caste system is that it emerged
from unions or similar organizations: most castes take the names of professions - there are data for guilds in early Indian history. Traditionally, however, the castes were not only primarily professional, but they exhibited all the characteristics of cartels and other special interest organizations. They controlled entry into occupations and business activities, they made a secret of their art, they determined monopolistic prices, they used boycotts and strikes, and they frequently traded as a group rather than individually. The caste system has many features that one would expect from interest groups. One of these is that a change in social status refers to the group rather than the individuals. A caste that enjoys prosperity will rise gradually to a higher social status and perhaps even decide collectively to adopt more restrictive ceremonial rules, rising in this way under the terms of the religious concepts of purity and contamination. Morality, in other words, is not determined in a universal manner but in terms of obedience to the rules of the caste or someone’s position – it is therefore similar to the professional ethics that exclude competition in a free profession. The promotion of prejudices about race, ethnicity, culture and inter-group differences in terms of lifestyles make interest groups work better. The exaggeration of these prejudices will increase the chance of members voluntarily following the inbreeding rule and strengthening selective incentives, interacting socially only within the group. This prevents social mobility, precluding the introduction of new members to already privileged groups. In Greece we encounter numerous settings that block entry to new members in gainful occupations and jobs. Several provisions promote inheritance rights so that these remain among the members of the family. 7. Addressing special interest groups 7.1 Transfer of decision-making centers to a higher level The Common European Market, in ‘uniting’ territories, created an extensive area in which there was such a concept of approaching free trade. It allowed for unfettered movement of labor, capital and business within this region and transferred decision-making powers on tariffs and other specific issues from the capitals of each of the six nations in the European Economic Community as a whole. Considering these characteristics, we realize immediately that the creation of a new or larger country instead of many smaller territories involves exactly each one of these three fundamental characteristics: unfettered labor movement, capital and enterprises. The founding of the United States of America by thirteen independent former colonies presupposed the creation of an area of free trade and mobility of production factors, as well as a change in the governmental decision-making institutions. Indeed, the adoption of the Constitution cancelled the tariffs that New York had established for specific imports from Connecticut and New Jersey. We also know that the creation of efficient territories in Western Europe resulted in the commercial revolution, and the Industrial Revolution in Britain. In all cases where a much broader area of free trade was established, a correspondingly broader range of relatively free entry was created in terms of production factors and the taking of at least some decisions in terms of economic policy shifted to a new institution, to a new place. The consolidation of territories also means that political decisions are now taken by different people in a different institutional framework in a place that is potentially located far away from the local decision makers. Additionally, the amount of political influence policy required to change the policy of the unified domain will be significantly greater than the amount required previously based on parochial domains. Generally though, special interest groups lost both monopolistic power and political influence, when local jurisdictions were replaced by economically integrated, nationwide territories. Since the commercial and industrial revolution took place during and after the remarkable reduction of trade barriers and other restrictions of special interest groups, occurring mainly in new towns and suburbs relatively free from guilds, it seems that there is a causal relationship. Each cartel or lobby in the United States before the 20th century had to face the fact that significant new areas were constantly being added to the country. Competition could always come from these new areas, despite the high tariffs at national level, and the new areas even increased the size of the administrative state, so that they would need even larger clusters to create or cartels or lobbies. Extensive migration also worked against the cartelization of the labour market. In addition, the United States, like all border areas, could make a fresh start without a historical past of special interest groups and rigid social classes. Hence, a union of provinces or regions or countries weakens special interest groups that are detrimental to society. This weakening comes from the non-participation of interest groups in decision-making as the center is moved to another level which group members cannot access. This
brings about a collapse of any kind of morally unacceptable privileges acquired in the past. 7.2 Reform policies with a social consensus Smart solutions for the problem of societal decline due to the perverse role of interest groups may arise from the withdrawal of favorable laws that gave interest groups the socially and morally unacceptable role of distributing income dividends to their members at the burden of the rest of society. At the same time the implementation of strict laws is required against cartels and collusion, which use their power to achieve prices or wages above competitive levels in the economy. This will halt the cumulative loss that is created by special interest groups in society and the economy. These solutions require no financial cost to implement; all that is needed is smart and decisive public long-term policies on the role of interest groups, which could effectively address the exclusion of young people in labor markets, stagflation, unemployment, reduced growth and social inelasticity. Alone, they bring about significant social and economic development in whichever country they are applied. The withdrawal of protective legislation should be made by common accord at least among most political parties. The broadest consensus should be guaranteed so that there are no political parties that will promise to restore privileges in exchange for votes. Parties which openly or surreptitiously support special interest groups should be revealed and denounced by citizens. Citizens should be informed responsibly about the real benefits of the reforms that will remove the privileges of special interest groups; at the same time, the privileges of special interest groups, which their propaganda mechanisms misleadingly present as socially beneficial, should be revealed. 8. Discussion In Greece there is a high number of special interest groups in operation, which have “diverted” from their real role and turned into covert income redistribution organizations for their members at the expense of the entire society, particularly against those groups that, despite having many members, cannot organize themselves into one single group to protect themselves. They have gained such a strong foothold in passing favorable legislation that, even in the present deep economic crisis, they are still pushing “weak” politicians to pass laws that protect and increase their income at the expense of society and the economy. They consume time and money in influencing politicians (who may in fact be members of their group) and the public administration to vote in bills that favor the creation of new revenue streams, which are indeed “legitimate” but are also morally reprehensible. Special interest groups have formed a significant number of protected and semi-protected markets that create distortions and rigidities in every type of market in Greece, such as the purchase of goods and services, the labor market, the tax system etc. They force the state to intervene with extensive regulations that limit competition in the markets and impose taxes on third parties, which in reality constitutes indirect income for their members. The key to economic prosperity in a society as a whole is free access to all markets, even to its weakest citizens, so that neither private nor public groups in the form of oligopolies and monopolies can be created. Behind all obstacles to free access is a privileged interest group that is being protected. In Greece hostility thrived against entrepreneurship, because the only enterprise that citizens had experienced was a state-fed diet, protected from free competition, which created monopolistic gains for some interest groups. That is, an entrepreneurship where wealth was earned by selling low quality products at high prices. An important role in this was played by the hostility of the banking cartel which granted loans to companies on the basis of political entanglement with a questionable capacity to operate and to repay the loans. Interest groups misinform society so that their privileges are not revealed. The most popular tactics used to conceal their privileges are to devise an “enemy”, especially an “enemy” that cannot easily be understood, nor can it be “beaten”. All blame has been heaped on this vague enemy, for any damage the society suffers, to ensure that citizens are not worried, and will not realize how much they have been damaged by the treacherous plans and privileges of special interest groups. Current action prevents the Greek economy from adapting to new circumstances and becoming a competitive economy with equal opportunities for all citizens. Other countries that have adapted rapidly to the changes have gone ahead of Greece in competitiveness (Greece’s position is 96th in 144 countries) and attract investment. Moreover, these powerful interest groups essentially “govern behind the scenes” and do not allow the state to exercise prudent governance in order to create a rule of law that will defend the interests of the whole society against these special interest groups. They act behind the scenes before every act of new legislation, pushing for the adoption of favorable laws or regulations or
Special interest groups were not content with the squandering and unfair distribution, in a privileged and destructive way, of taxpayers’ money. Their greed squandered European subsidies and aid, and further led the country to outrageous borrowing. Amounts of about 120 billion euros in European funds in the last 40 years were squandered as special interest groups interfered with them and redistributed them to their members, creating customer relationships rather than creating infrastructure for exports of goods and services. The public debt of 320 billion (or 450 billion before the 2012 “haircut”) was largely created by the pressure from the demands made by special interest groups for the redistribution of income to the benefit of their members. Hence, they were not invested in productive infrastructure but eventually they were put into imports and more significantly in job creation in the countries from which the products were imported. The relationship between the banks and the government also contributed to the financial overburdening of the state, when banks lent lavishly at high rates to the state, in exchange for state protection of the banking cartel from free competition. Nobody could resist the greed of the special interest groups for privileged access to public money. They never allowed the establishment of an independent authority of a council for auditing the state’s finances, which could have protected needy citizens from the squandering of public money and prevented waste of state revenues which, if utilized appropriately, could have turned Greece into one of the most remarkable European economies. The privileges of these groups are now supported by a political party; in this way, interest groups are not revealed in the foreground, so it is difficult for the ordinary citizen to understand that the strategies of the party on a number of occasions are to protect the privileges of lobbyists who have joined the party and influence its management and strategies. Many times, when it becomes impossible for the party to promote or protect their privileges, they leave that party and join another one which they believe will soon be in the seat of government. This role of political parties should be disclosed to the public and should be denounced in all manners because as long as there are political parties that foment and advocate interest groups, their devastating damage to society and the economy will grow. 9. Conclusions Different approaches to economic development such as Olson (1982) suggest the withdrawal of any legislation or regulation that enables special interest groups which, having gained privileges, prevent the adoption of changes, liquidate high prices through cartel proceedings, abuse their power and harm society. This could reduce prices in order to compensate for reductions in wages, and to recover quantitative purchasing power in society. The economic disparities will also be reduced, the exclusion of young people from work and society will not occur and the economy will
adapt by implementing the changes that have to be made to balance the genuine productive capacity to become more competitive and start attracting investments. Such investments alone can reduce unemployment, the most painful consequence of the economic crisis. Special interest groups should be excluded from any lobbying action aimed at eliciting high prices for their members. They should turn to the development of the competencies and skills of their members to increase their contribution to the real productivity of an economy, thus reaping a share of the profits in the overall development of the economy. It is now a well-known fact that lobbyists slow down growth. The economic crisis is an opportunity to restore the accumulated loss created by the above-mentioned groups which in turn created the economic crisis. Special interest groups have crept across the spectrum of political parties and even influence the strategic decisions of the parties. Today parties compete among themselves as to which one better protects special interest groups in their destructive work against society, in exchange for their votes. These parties must be reported by revealing the groups that are being protected. Responsible governments should put aside interest groups for the benefit of the entire society, and change the incentives of the development of society through the development of production and the reduction of economic inequality in society. They are required to tell citizens the truth about these interest groups and the political parties which protect them. Only in this way will the numerous weak large social groups be protected from the exploitation of small powerful interest groups and only then will the state ensure a sense of fairness for all citizens. In this way, according to Nobel Laureate North (1986), the operation of the rule of law will enhance the security of property rights, and therefore economic growth, by reducing transaction costs. Obviously, interest groups will resist the revocation of privileged special interest legislation and policy enforcement against cartels, which deprive them of monopolistic profits that give them the ability to create cartel markets and to ensure privileges. They will relocate to other political parties which, for demagogic reasons, promise protection of their privileges in exchange for their votes and influence. In this way, political parties will not exercise political weakening in the power of interest groups because they will now have become their voters. In some cases, in order not to be criticized for protecting trade unions, political parties will attack those guilds, verbally at least, that rival political parties are protecting, but they will continue to protect the unions that voted them in. The limited impact of the economic-financial education of the past suggests that interest groups often achieve their aspirations for preferential redistribution of incomes in favor of their members. According to the above-mentioned, special interest groups are detrimental to economic growth, full employment, prudent governance, equal opportunities and social mobility. Interest groups in Greece have led to the inelasticity of society, the lack of reforms and the lack of competitiveness, which have resulted in a progressive decline of both the economy and society until the inevitable occurred. Citizens should be informed that excessive government costs and waste have been created by small but powerful special interest groups which distributed gains preferentially to their members at the expense of unsuspecting citizens. Excessive government costs created government deficits. In the past government deficits were covered mainly by borrowing. Excessive borrowing to cover deficits led the country to the brink of bankruptcy. Now that the country cannot borrow, excessive government spending is being paid for by the over-taxation of citizens. Markets do not trust Greece to lend to her, because the country has such excessive government costs and so much government debt. We can only obtain more loans from other EU Member States but they require the reduction of excessive state expenditures as a percentage of GDP, which means reducing the privileges of special interest groups. For this reason these groups want loans to continue to enjoy their privileges but without commitments. For citizens to be alleviated from the burden of over-taxation, excessive state costs need to be reduced, so that the taxes citizens have to pay will also be reduced accordingly, in order to stop state debt from increasing. But privileged interest groups, which are protected by the respective government, even after six years of being in recession, still do not allow the reduction of state expenditure. They continue to create excessive government waste, since other unsuspecting groups pay for the costs; thus they prolong state borrowing and the over-taxation of citizens. This over-taxation becomes even more unfair as some groups pay more taxes than what should be accorded to them because of the existence of tax evasion. Over-taxation and borrowing reduce the individual freedom of citizens and the sovereignty of the country; all this is happening because some interest groups, because of the protection
afforded to them by some governments, continue undisturbed to harm both society and the economy with their outrageous privileges. Moreover, citizens should be aware of the fact that political parties should not have access to the management of their bank savings and deposits. Political parties cannot build customer relationships with special interest groups with citizens’ savings, and then promise to grant favorable loans or present loans as gifts in order to get votes putting bank deposits at risk. So here too, special interest groups are involved, creating over-taxation and over-indebtedness to replenish savings. It is reasonable to expect that scholars and those who draw up development policies become increasingly aware of this fact over time. This knowledge will eventually spread to ever wider sections of the population. This wider awareness will greatly reduce the losses in society from lobbyists, ie special interest groups. This is an expectation that concerns everyone espousing a society that will gradually minimize economic and social inequalities. If this is achieved, the fastest growth will occur in societies which have not recently experienced upheavals but are expected to see stability in the near future. We hope the recent and upcoming transformation of the structure of society and the economy will be successful, to remove the retardants of development and to lead Greece to sustainable and stable economic development, free of the economic and social inequality that interest groups create behind the scenes. Public administration and other institutions can be reorganized on the criterion of being beneficial to society, and not by the pressure of lobbying for preferential treatment. This will also improve the state’s finances. Bad finances are fatal to republics. A Greece free for more news click on of the harmful behavior of spehttp ://cretepost.gr cial interest groups will resemble a teenager. Maybe she will make some mistakes, but she will leap ahead with momentum towards sustainable development. References • • • •
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Chandler, Lester. America’s Greatest Depression, 1929-1941. New York: Harper and Row. Clower, Robert (1954). An Investigation into the Dynamics of Investment, American Economic Review. 44(l), pp. 64-81 Clower, Robert, (1964). Monetary History and Positive Economics, Journal of Economic History, 24(3), pp. 364-380. Hicks, Sir John. (1983), Structural Unemployment and Economic Growth: A ‘Labor Theory of Value’ Model”, in D. C. Mueller (ed.), The Political Economy of Growth. New Haven/London, Yale University Press. Lohmann, Susan (2003). “Representative Government and Special Interest Politics (We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us).”. Journal for Theoretical Politics vol.15: 2009319. Margolis, Howarth, Selfishness, Altruism, and Rationality. Cambridge at University Press, 1982) Mitsopoulos, Michalis and Pelagidis Theodoros (2007). Rent Seeking and Ex Post Acceptance of Reforms in Higher Education. The Journal of Economy Policy Reform, 10 (3) pp. 177-92. Mitsopoulos, Michalis (2009). Envy, Institutions and Growth, Bulletin of Economic Research 61 (3) pp 201-22. Nehru, Jawaharlal, (1946). The discovery of India. New York : The John Day Company. North, D. (1986), The New Institutional Economics. Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, 1 (142), pp 230-37. Olson, Mancur. (1971). The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups (Revised edition ed.). Harvard University Press. Olson, Mancur (1982). The Rise and the Decline of Nations. Economic Growth, Stagflation and Social Rigidities. Yale University. Olson, Mancur, (2000). Power and Prosperity: Outgrowing Communist and Capitalist Dictatorships, Oxford University Press. Olson, Mancur and Richard Zeckhauser, (1996), An Economic Theory of Alliances. Review of Economics and Statistics, 47, pp. 266-79. Phillips, Peter, (2015), Edmond Malinvaud: a tribute to his contributions in econometrics. The Econometrics Journal, 18, 2, p.p. A1–A13. Sandler Todd, ed., (1980) The Theory and Structure of International Political Economy. Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press. Schmalensee, Richard (1981), Economies of Scale and Barriers to Entry. Journal of Political Economy, 89,pp. 1228-38. Trumbull, Gunnar (2012). Strength in numbers: the political power of weak interests. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press. Tullock, G. (2005). Public Goods, Redistribution and Rent Seeking. Cheltenham. E. Elgar.
employees of whom 350 thousand are part time workers. On the other hand, pensioners amount to 2.7 million. The ratio between pensioners and workers is one to one, compared to Europe’s ratio where pensioners are one in four. Civil servants number about 700 thousand, while the unemployed come to 1.2 million. These ratios, apart from being unsustainable, create more social injustice and more economic inequality. Interest groups have pushed for increased expenses by the state in relation to GDP to redistribute them as benefits to their members. In 2009 state expenses amounted to 70% more than state revenues. In 2015 state expenditure as a percentage of GDP was about 53%. These excessive state costs led to the financial crisis and bankruptcy. They were the cause of all four previous bankruptcies in the country during the drachma period in the last 195 years. Excessive government expenditure destroys states, which is equivalent to a national disaster. Excessive government spending is the reason why excessive taxes are imposed, which citizens are ultimately unable to pay. In the past, overspending led to excessive government deficits covered by excessive taxes, which led people to rioting. World history is filled with examples of revolutions due to over-taxation, while ‘fair’ expenses promote countries. This ratio was achieved by the perverse role of interest groups pushing for continued preferential treatment towards early retirement with the effect that the majority of employees were retiring prematurely with only a small minority who had not managed to organize themselves into a group reaching the higher retirement age. Early retirement costs are mainly responsible for high social security contributions and taxes in Greece. According to a recent OECD report, the cost of taxes and contributions amounts to 43% of a salary compared to 26% which is the EU average. This is a serious deterrence in attracting investment; the unemployed are still left without employment prospects and the already employed lack a decent salary which they could receive (increased by a minimum of 20%) if contributions and taxes were set at European levels.
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to avoid arrangements that do not favor them, all of which are usually “morally unacceptable.” The lack of transparency, the systematic reduction of the accountability of their members in the legislature, and the executive and judiciary powers enhance the power of interest groups since they recruit board members to preserve and expand their privileges. In most cases any new legislation favors an interest group to the detriment of the majority of citizens. Decisions are not taken on the basis of what is fair for the whole of society but by the pressure of a privileged group. Sometimes privileges may be ‘illegal’, and take the form of corruption. Due to systematic undermining of fair and prudent state operations, interest groups may consider illegal proceeds as being just as attractive as legal ones. Thus, benefits can be obtained by morally unacceptable blackmail and raw deals by both legislative and executive powers (Tullock, 2005). Essentially these groups managed to change the course of society by changing society’s incentives, with the result that instead of engaging in its productivity and improvement, they engage in the covert unproductive demands of ‘small group’ interests at the expense of the majority of society. They consume the greatest part of their time and the influence they have available to them on defending their significant income, which they guarantee, without providing work commensurate with income in quality and effort. These groups, even though some of them have lost a small part of the wealth they acquired through the recent economic crisis, still enjoy favorable regulations while society continues to be impoverished. Using the coercive power of the government, they seek a state that interferes with the functioning of the market, in order to extract policies that favour their privileges. They work in various ways against the interests of unorganized unprotected groups in society, making income distribution more unequal. They have managed to distribute the rewards and the various state benefits not on merit but on the basis of participation in various groups which are intertwined with the political establishment to create customer relationships. Furthermore the idea of individual responsibility is significantly degraded, while every problem is due to the vague notion of the “State”. It is noteworthy to mention the damage that interest groups have brought about in education. Education does not equip society with the necessary knowledge so that people can take advantage of opportunities or cope with the threats that exist in an open and globalized competitive environment (Mitsopoulos and Pelagidis, 2007). Special interest groups have led to unequal distribution of resources and focused attention from production to distributional conflict, towards forms of wealth that are protected more easily or even to capital flight to more stable environments abroad; such resources would otherwise have been allocated to productive long-term investments that would have made Greece able to withstand the pressures of international competition. Essentially redistribution, complicity and corruption ensure success, which should have been assured by honest hard work, skills and talent. Passage of legislation without any control and lack of transparency does not disclose the amounts that these groups collect without any effort or business value. Neither does it reveal the burden that these amounts put on the entire community to the benefit of the members of the favored interest groups, ensuring them a comfortable and easy life. Protecting the privileges of these groups increasingly strengthens them, restricting fair competition and requiring the consumer to pay high prices for goods and services, while excluding in particular young people from work. The intervention of the state in favor of these small interest groups results in the already excessive costs of the government, distributing income without any transparency, which is being paid out as royalty income to certain interest groups, with the result that the state provides poor-quality services to citizens and no money for investment and development of infrastructure that could stimulate entrepreneurship to create jobs for young people. Interest groups have succeeded in pushing Greek governments for more preferential benefits, increasing general government expenditure to 53% of GDP (data based on a 3% recession rate for 2015) compared to 39% for Ireland, 43% in Spain and 44% in Germany. Greece, with a very small tax base, almost no export companies and no multinational companies which in other countries bring capital from around the world and pay the greatest part of the taxes, should not have more expenses than Ireland which hosts a large number of huge multinational companies. Citizens cannot afford to pay so many taxes to cover the state’s excessive expenses, while receiving poor-quality public services. The production base in Greece is too small, consisting of just 2.7 million employees. Of these 2.7 million, about 600 thousand are self-employed farmers, and about 700 thousand are self-employed in SMEs, 80% of which on average employ up to 5 people. The remaining 1.4 million workers are private
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Behavioural Ecology and Wall Lizards The science of ecology is in effect the
science of Nature. It used to be defined as the scientific study of the distribution and abundance of organisms and the interactions that determine the distribution and abundance; basically scientific natural history. Unfortunately the word ecology has been corrupted and we now hear about ecological enterprises for instance, when what is meant is the enterprise has considered environmental issues. While I was studying ecology I became interested in a lesser-known discipline, that of ethology. Ethology was the study of behaviour; what causes the behaviour, how the behaviour develops as the animal matures, useful consequences of the behavior and how the behaviour has evolved. I suppose that behaviour is affected by the animal’s environment, habitat and other species in the same area. It has evolved into Behavioural Ecology and together with Evolutionary Ecology they have become a very important disciplines of ws for more culture ne ecology. Nature is unepost.gr der threat from so many click on http://cret sources (most, if not all, have been created directly or indirectly by humans). Thus interactions and understanding behavioural traits has become very important in determining how to conserve and protect species and much Behavioural Ecology research has taken place in recent times. Some of the findings have been astonishing and some revealing and a lot can be seen in human behaviour. As an example of a behavioural link between animals and humans let us consider reactions to a section of society that was considered threatening. Back in the early days skinheads were considered by many to be a danger and threat. Your personal consideration of the threat would probably depend upon your circumstances at the time. If you were walking down, say Regent Street in London on a busy Friday after-
requirements of different species (this is important for their conservation), the interaction with humans and transmission of disease. Of great interest was the section dealing with the way that insect eating bats locate and catch their prey and the associated vocalizations. The second book is ‘Lizard Ecology’ by Reilly, McBrayer and Miles. Lizards are much easier to watch and identify and this book covers a whole range of topics on their ecology. Two of the most interesting sections concerned hunting methods and movement. There are two different methods of hunting and different species are adapted to one or the other (this is also true for most reptiles and many animal species). The foraging methods are known often as active foraging and ambush foraging: for the first method the animal hunts for prey, whereas the latter sits and waits for prey to pass close by. Concealment is essential for the ambushers. I am sure you will have seen images of a camouflaged chameleon sitting on a branch of a tree and thrusting its long tongue at high speed towards an unsuspecting prey victim. This is possibly one of the best examples of ambush. The active hunter requires a body that will take it long distances at certain times and requires the associated stamina. The body shape and structure is different for the two types of hunter and generally so is the type of food. Active foragers can be more specific with their prey whereas the ambushers need to accept a wide range of prey – almost anything that passes close. Wall lizards are so called because they live in and around walls and can be seen climbing quite steep walls (they do not have the adaptations that geckos have allowing them to walk on ceilings). The body, tail and head of wall lizards are adapted to provide additional help in climbing almost vertical walls. For example, the heads tend to be slim and flat – a large protruding head would provide a large gravitational pull. Ignoring geckos and the Ocellated skink
there are two species of lizard present here on Crete. One is the large and bright green lizard the Balkan green. The other is Erhard’s wall lizard. The lizards at the east of the island are slightly different to those on the west, but I am not sure they are considered separate subspecies. Returning to Behavioural Ecology, there was a recent paper in the Journal ‘Behavioral Ecology’ that detailed investigations into the colouring of Erhard’s wall lizards in the Aegean area1. As with blue tits, the females like more showy males but more colour (even if slightly cryptic) make the males more obvious to avian predators (buzzards, kestrels and crows for instance). Thus male lizards are somewhat adapted for this problem. Usually female lizards are on the same level as the males and so the brightest colouring of the male is on the flanks, whereas the colouring on the back is subdued and more adapted to their environment. On the islands, there seems to be some evolutionary movement similar to Darwin’s finches. The wall lizards do not swim so the isolated populations on the islands are slowly evolving and adapting to their particular environment. If you return to this earth and you have a choice I would suggest you do not opt to be a lizard here on Crete. Feral cats will chase anything and lizards are on the diet of so many animals (weasels, beech martens, snakes and many bird species, for example) and cars also account for many deaths. So for our lizards there are dangers everywhere. Behavioural ecology is a fascinating subject. I wish I had time to read all the papers that are produced. Also many investigations include human behaviour. As you will understand from the blackbird example we have similar traits to many species. I suppose because we are indeed animals that is not surprising. 1. “Wall lizards display conspicuous signals to conspecifics and reduce detection by avian predators” by Kate L.A Marshall and Martin Stevens
11 young people living with type 1 diabetes “conquered” Lefka Ori
August 27, 2015 an international team of 11 young people living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) from Brazil, Canada, India and 8 European countries successfully completed the T1D YOUTH Challenge. Previous year’s T1D Challenge teams have taken on Mount Kilimanjaro and Machu Picchu but this year’s team was solely composed of people living with type 1 diabetes aged 15–20 years to advocate the importance of self-empowerment and emotional support in the management of diabetes during adolescence and early adulthood. The T1D Youth Challenge aims to raise awareness and give hope to other young people with T1D and demonstrates that it is possible to go beyond diabetes and make the most of each opportunity. To support the T1D YOUTH Challenge, Sanofi Diabetes, SWEET e.V. ‘Better control in Pediatric and Adolescent diabeteS; Working to crEate CEnTers of Reference’ and World Diabetes Tour joined forces for the first time. Supported by an experienced medical team from SWEET centers, and two mentors who both participated in the previous T1D Challenges, the 11 young trekkers began on August 24, 2015, with a 4 day arduous hike which took them through the Samaria Gorge on grueling terrain under hot temperatures, before ascending Gingilos Mount to reach the summit 2,080m above sea level. The trek conditions were challenging for the young people, but all of them completed the trek while successfully manag-
noon, and there was a group of about 5 or 6 skinheads on the opposite side of the Street you would not feel any fear. Transfer the location to a quiet village. As you turn a corner if you came face to face with the same group you may have become terrified. Your perception of the same ‘threatening’ group of people is different when you are alone. (I apologise to all who were skinheads reading this and were gentle people). There have been studies on the reactions of birds to perceived threats. One of these studies concentrated on blackbirds and their timing of fleeing a situation. The research was carried out on blackbirds in parks and it was found that if the park was full of visitors the blackbird waited much longer before fleeing. If the park was empty the blackbird would move away very early. The blackbirds’ perception of threat was determined by the amount of activity in the local area. Both humans and blackbirds perceive danger in a similar way. In many species the males are much more colourful than the females. This is found in many bird species and especially ducks where the male is much more decorated than the drab female. The male of the Cleopatra (butterfly), which is found on Crete, is much brighter and this colour difference is found in many other types of animal (e.g. fish). These colours are used to attract females and intimidate other males (perhaps there is a similarity with humans where some men use highly decorated clothes or tattoos). But these enhanced colours can also come at a price. If you are a female blue tit your preferred mate would have very intense blue of on the top of his head and the colour would include a lot of ultra-violet. For the male the more vivid the top of the head the more obvious he is to predators. A very difficult balance for the male blue tit! About 3 years ago I purchased two large books. The first is Bat Ecology, which is a very interesting book and there are large sections, for example, on the roosting
by David Capon
ing their blood sugar levels, demonstrating to people living with diabetes that their condition doesn’t have to stand in the way of achieving their goals and aspirations. Watch their inspiring story and help the young team spread the positive message that when striving for control, anything is possible. “The trek was extremely challenging for the young team this year. Most of the team had never participated in a trek such as this before, let alone managing their blood-glucose levels during periods of high physical endurance and high temperatures. All the team demonstrated a positive attitude towards managing their diabetes, great teamwork and all completed their personal goals on the challenge. It was
a pleasure to work with everyone – and of care, criteria for certification, internademonstrate to the world that if you strive tional guidelines and quality control, infor control of diabetes you can dare to cluding peer review and data collection, dream!” said Prof. Olga Kordonouri, Pe- sharing and benchmarking. diatric Diabetes Physician at SWEET and The World Diabetes Tour is a patient assowho accompanied the team on the trek. ciation who promotes a positive attitude SWEET is an international network of about T1D and seeks to help people with Centers of References for pediatric and T1D and raise awareness of the condition. adolescent diabetes. Initiated with support of the EU Public Health Program in 2006, the SWEET - Books - Oﬃce supplies Stationery - Gis group has over 6 -- Consumables - Photocopies years of experience in creating and sustaining a high quality professional Popi Loupassaki-eodoraki Crossroads to Galatas network based on Old National Road Chania-Kissamos agreed standards Tel.: +30 28210 32359
Home Projects for Optimal Fall Entertainment Space
by Petros Chatzistavros Civil Engineer (T.E.)
Similar to the spring, the fall season marks an active time for home sales. It’s also a time when many Americans are sprucing up their outdoor spaces and enjoying cooler weather with friends and family. In both cases, we’re squeezing in home projects, entertaining, and even maintenance before the changing of seasons. It’s important we keep in mind that fall should be an enjoyable time and not a scramble. While time is always a concern with home projects, a new report from Liberty Mutual Insurance found that money is also at the forefront of our minds when starting a DIY project. Most Americans (78%) are choosing to tackle fall home maintenance the DIY route, but if you’re considering this approach, test the waters first so that you know what you’re getting into. While 72-percent of those surveyed have never owned a fixer-upper before, 41-percent of those would never consider purchasing one with top concerns being that renovations would be too costly or stressful. Indoor and outdoor projects alike can certainly spiral out of control unless you take baby steps. As a DIYer, there are many projects you can take on to optimize the way you entertain at your house this fall. Take it Outside With outdoor spaces, always build from the ground up. For example, you can add a hardscape patio to your backyard as a solid foundation for dining and entertaining, and it will reduce the maintenance necessary to keep your yard or lawn looking manicured. You can also try adding features to control the outside temperature yourself such as heat lamps for the cooler fall months or large-scale, exterior-grade fans for the summer. If you’re looking to start with an easier project, one of the simplest DIY facelifts for metal outdoor furniture is to give it a good scrub with a wire brush to remove debris and rust. You can then use a metallic, rust-resistant spray paint to give existing pieces a
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whole new look and finish. Add an In-Between Zone As brisk weather begins to set in, I also recommend a flexible indoor and outdoor space. Areas of the home that connect indoor and outdoor rooms are becoming more and more popular. Extending spaces off of frequently used rooms like kitchens, family rooms, and basement recreation areas to the outside with a planned design that spans the two spaces can add versatility to your existing space. This can be achieved through non-permanent structures like a rental tent, which can be lit with hanging lanterns—just make sure your power cords are suited for outdoor use. Master the Art of Illusion If you’re unable to connect rooms to the outside, there are still ways to create the illusion that your space is bigger than it actually is. Easy DIY fixes include moving your existing furniture around to accommodate a group of people, as well as placing chairs in a way that encourages one-on-one conversations. Also, designate more than one serving station for holiday get-togethers so that guests are almost forced to walk around the space and not stay isolated to one area. Create a Blissful Bathroom No matter how beautiful your home looks, an outdated bathroom can taint guests’ opinions of your home immediately. If you have a ground floor bathroom that feels too cramped, lacks
privacy, or needs upgrading, consider a renovation. If space is feeling a bit tight, be sure to choose elements that open up the room. For example, rather than a curtain, install a glass door for your shower or tub. Creating a visual focal point—like paining a brightly colored accent wall—is another way to make the room feel larger than it really is. Additionally, you can add a mosaic tile pattern to the walls of your bath. This will create the illusion of a larger space without encroaching on the existing footprint. Final Thoughts Whether you choose to take on a DIY
project or hire a professional, the options to reinvent your existing space for fall entertainment are endless. Just make sure you don’t try to take on more than you can handle. Before starting any project, break it down and make a series of shorter lists with achievable deadlines, organizing to-dos by week or month—don’t make a mile long list. Also, keep in mind that in some cases, large projects can qualify for special savings on your home insurance if completed by a professional contractor—so sometimes there are perks to enlisting help. doitourself.com
Clear the clutter, make room in the
10 Steps to the Ultimate Guest Room
closet, and freshen the sheets and blankets! The holiday guests will be arriving before you can blink an eye. But those are just the usual things you do before your overnight guests arrive. How about making it an experience they will never forget? Here are ten ways to do just that. Step 1 - In this day and age of smart phones and tablets, it is always useful for your guests to have access to your wifi code. Rather than verbally giving the code each time a new guest arrives, think about making a print out of the code and framing it. You could hang it on a wall or place the framed code on the nightstand.
Step 4 - Having a night light available for guests to find their way in the dark is always a nice addition. A clock radio could pull double duty by providing some light and soothing music to fall asleep by. Step 5 - Sometimes people need just a little time alone, so proving a reading lamp and a few magazines is a nice way to make them feel comfortable. Step 6 - Provide some water bottles in a visible location. Your guests may wake up in the middle of the night thirsty, and having some water available to them can save a trip to the kitchen in the dark. Step 7 - I know several people that are more comfortable with a fan running while they sleep…even in the winter. If there is no ceiling fan in the room, provide another fan. Air circulation can be necessary any time of year. Step 8 - You made room in the closet
Step 9 - Extra bath towels and blankets are a must for any guest room. Make sure they are fresh, clean and folded. Or, roll them up and arrange in a basket for a hotel feel. Step 10 - Last but not least, provide a local map and ideas of fun things to do in the daytime hours. Every town has a Chamber of Commerce that provides brochures about such activities. Even though you may have lived in your town for many years, there is always something the Chamber can provide that you didn’t know about. Make your guests’ stay a good experience for both you and them. Think ahead about what they may need as individuals. There will be less stress for you and more comfort for them.
are more soothing than a clutter of unfamiliar things. On a bedside table, place a single flower bloom in a simple glass, a nice clock, and a selection of books suited to your guests’ tastes. Outfit the Bed Make up a double bed with four ample sleeping pillows -- two medium or firm, and two soft -- as well as two smaller pillows to prop up the head when reading. Use cotton or linen sheets, starched and ironed for hotel crispness. Provide both light and heavy blankets, as well as a lightweight throw for afternoon naps. Closets and Drawers Make sure there is adequate closet and drawer space. Supply a variety of hangers -- at least a dozen good wooden or metal ones -- that will hold trousers and jackets, flimsy dresses, and heavy coats. And make certain there is a fulllength mirror.
Creating space for guests in your home involves more than providing a comfortable place to sleep; it’s an opportunity to make people feel welcome and ensure that their time spent with you is memorable. Ideally, a guest room is a bedroom with a bathroom attached. It should be inconspicuously placed, so that guests don’t need to cross the busiest parts of the house to get to it; for privacy, it shouldn’t be next to a child’s room.
Bathroom Essentials If the bathroom is shared, clear space in it for guests’ toiletries. Stock it with new toothbrushes and toothpaste, a plush robe, and a supply of clean cotton towels (two large bath towels, two face towels, and a washcloth) for each guest. Supply a few luxuries that one might not find at home: a beautiful soap, an unusual cream, a special shampoo, or a small bottle of perfume or cologne. If your guest has allergies, provide a hypoallergenic soap and moisturizer. After you’ve provided the basic necessities, consider some of these extra touches to make guests feel at home.
Decorate Sparingly In a strange room, comfort and space
Sitting Area Space permitting, set up a comfortable
Preparing for House Guests (by Martha Stewart)
chair or settee with a pillow and throw, an adjacent table, and a good adjustable-brightness lamp. Assemble a small personal library, including some magazines and a daily newspaper (useful for local listings like concerts). A radio for morning news and quiet evening listening is a thoughtful addition; you might also include a portable CD player with a selection of music. Desk Supplies Provide a small desk or a cleared tabletop, and stock it with pens and paper, note cards, envelopes, and stamps. Compile a list of some favorite local places -- restaurants, cafes, museums, antiques shops, movie theaters -- and provide timetables, if appropriate, for buses, ferries, or trains. A telephone in the room is a convenience, but not a necessity. Extra Warmth If the room has wood floors, place a small rug beside the bed. For visitors during the coldest months, think of providing a hot-water bottle in a soft slipcase -- a soothing amenity your guests won’t have expected to find. Food and Drink Consider your guests’ food preferences: If one is a vegetarian, or allergic to fish or dairy products, be sure your menus include options and that your pantry and refrigerator are appropriately stocked. Show guests where to find snacks, drinking glasses, and utensils, and encourage them to help themselves. Leave a pitcher of spring water and a glass on the bedside table in the guest room.
Step 3 - While you are making the above basket, think about making a second basket that could include a mix of sweet and salty snacks. Most guests are too polite to ask for a nighttime snack. If you have it all ready for them, they can choose what they want without feeling like a bother. Line with a stack of napkins.
earlier, but did you remember to leave a dozen or so empty hangers for your guests to use?
do it yourself
Step 2 - Even though most folks bring their own toiletries, there is always something that someone forgets. How about making a little basket that could include small bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, toothpaste, pain reliever and a (new) toothbrush. The basket could be lined with a fresh clean hand towel and wash cloth. Add a ribbon to make it classy. Place a box of tissues neat the basket for a finishing touch.
Discovery of Asthma Subtypes Suggests New Therapies A
health & nutrition
new understanding of different subsets of patients with severe allergic asthma may pave the way to developby Miltiades Markatos ing biologic therapies that effectively Pneumonologist target the specific inflammatory responses a particular patient exhibits, a new study suggests. David F. Choy, from Genentech Inc, South San Francisco, California, and colleagues recently published the results of the translational and preclinical work in Science Translational Medicine. Although the vast majority of patients with asthma can manage their condition with inhaled therapies, including inhaled steroids, the approximately 10% of patients who are resistant to inhaled steroid treatment consume the greatest healthcare resources, said study coauthor Joseph R. Arron, MD, PhD, director of Immunology Discovery in Research and for more health news Early Development at click on http://cretepost.gr Genentech. “These are the patients that turn up in [the] emergency room with really bad asthma attacks and have the most morbidity from their disease”, Dr. Arron told. “This is the target population for these new biologic therapies.” The new therapies will cost more, but treat the patients already requiring the most care. The only current biologic therapy approved for asthma is omalizumab (Xolair, Genentech/Novartis), a humanized antibody to immunoglobulin E, but Genentech and other companies have been working to develop a second generation of biologics for asthma that target specific inflammatory pathways. “Nobody has gotten any of these approved yet, but we’ve all reported clinical trials where a subset of patients benefits from a drug and a subset of patients doesn’t benefit from the drug”, Dr Arron said. “It’s in these patients that we’re really trying to understand what’s going on.”
the Th2 pathway,” writes Anthony K. Shum, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco, in an accompanying commentary. “We thought maybe it’s kind of like whack-a-mole,” Dr Arron said. “If you knock down the Th2 response, the Th17 pops up, and if you knock down Th17 with something else, then the Th2 will pop back up. It may be oscillating between those two states.” And that is exactly what a subsequent experiment in a mouse model showed: inhibiting the Th2 response increased the Th17 response, and vice versa. “When we inhibited both, that really suppressed the inflammation in the mice to a greater extent than either at one time,” Dr Arron said. The next step is to find out whether inhibiting both pathways might treat the subset of patients who do not respond to the Th2 inhibiting drugs in development. Previous research has already established the use of blood eosinophils or levels of the protein periostin as biomarkers to identify increased Th2 inflammation in the airways, so biopsies would not be
necessary to identify the patients who could benefit from these therapies. “These Th2 cytokine inhibitors, such as anti-IL-5 and anti-IL-13 drugs, seem to provide significant clinical benefit for a lot of patients with severe asthma,” Dr Arron said. But in those patients who do not benefit, it may be that IL-17caused inflammation is driving their severe asthma, on its own or due to suppression of the Th2 cytokines. “It will be interesting in the future to determine whether perhaps if we block both of these cytokines at the same time, we might have even greater efficacy in patients with severe asthma.” The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health, Asthma UK, the UK’s National Institute for Health Research, and Genentech Inc, which is developing several biologic therapies for asthma. Nine authors are currently or previously were Genentech Inc employees, and two other authors received funding from Genentech for this research. The other authors and Dr Shum have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.
EOF warns of serious vaccine and cancer drug shortages in Greece
The president of the Medicine Short-
age Committee of the National Organization for Medicines (EOF) Dimitris Kouvelas argued that there are many shortages in vaccines and cancer drugs. Mr. Kouvelas, who spoke to the Praktorio 104.9 FM radio station attributed the shortages to the problems caused
The new data provide clues to what is going on and may point the way toward more effective biologic therapies. Two adaptive immune responses that target extracellular pathogens include T helper 2 cells (Th2) and T helper 17 cells (Th17). Th2 cells target parasites and involve cytokines interleukin 5 (IL-5) and IL-13, whereas Th17 cells target simple pathogens, such as bacteria and fungi, and involve IL-17. “An aberrant Th2 response has for many years thought to underlie asthma and allergic disease,” Dr Arron said. Patients with asthma show an inappropriate Th2 immune response to environmental stimuli such as cat dander or dust mites. But research published about 6 years ago, Dr Arron said, revealed that only about half of patients with severe asthma show Th2 inflammation, which explains the limited success of several unapproved Th2-targeting biologics still in clinical trials. The drug furthest along, with positive phase 3 results, is mepolizumab, which targets IL-5. Another drug, reslizumab, also targets IL-5, and three others (lebrikizumab, tralokinumab, and dupilumab) all block IL-13. By analyzing biopsied lung samples from 51 patients with asthma, researchers in the current study discovered three distinct groups of patients: those with a Th2 inflammatory response in their airways, those with a Th17 inflammatory response, and those with neither. No patients had both Th2 and Th17 inflammatory responses simultaneously. “All of the patients with an IL-17 signature had previously been exposed to steroids, suggesting that steroids might have a contributory role in promoting a TH17 signature in these subjects, either directly or through inhibition of
by the introduction of capital controls earlier in the summer, as well as the policy of big pharmaceuticals abroad, due to competition. According to Mr. Kouvelas, many pharmaceutical companies are turning to creating and manufacturing new and expensive drugs, abandoning traditional practices due to the major competition from firms focusing on
the manufacture of generic drugs. Greece is not the only country to face such shortages, with Mr. Kouvelis noting that the vaccine problem affects many countries in Europe. The problem in Greece is “very serious” since cheap drugs are not being imported in Greece. Mr. Kouvelis revealed that there no cough medicine has been imported in
A life changing visit to our pharmacy can make you change the way you see life and put your body and mind in harmony. Have you ever visited a pharmacy to taste health? A different pharmacy in the centre of the old town of Chania is waiting to share with you secrets of well being and longevity. Taste the biolo gical honey, the royal jelly, tea from plants carefully chosen in therapeutic recipes, high concentration and purity juices of pomegranate, cranberry, aloe. Orthomolecular nutrition with suggestions on detox programs and a carefully selected range of supplements, vitamins an gluten free products from all over the world. In the same premises you can find a live homeopathic lab with 6.000 homeopathic remedies in stock and the ability to produce any kind of homeopathic form i.e. pills, granules, solutions etc Evangelia Sakka is the pharmacist in charge who has created that special pharmacy and will be happy to introduce you to that fantastic world but also suggest whatever will be more settable for you. Our philosophy doesn’t stop on food and supplements but we want you to think of your mind and body as well. That’s why we have created next to our pharmacy the Green Care SPA. A SPA that helps to uplift your mind and body with biological face an body treatments, reflexology, reiky, su jok and moxa treatment, Bach flower remedies, homeopathy sessions, bowtech as well as nail therapies. We are waiting for you to restart your life at Daskalogianni 43 - 45, SAKKA Pharmacy www.my-pharmacy.gr / www.greencarespa.gr
five years because it contains codeine and there is no interest. In concluding his interview, Mr. Kouvelis underlined that the shortages in more serious medication, such as cancer drugs, must be addressed immediately with fast track procedures to approve the imports. To Vima
Survey records complaints of doctors and nurses in Greece’s cash-strapped hospitals
pect as being “very positive” and 26.3 percent as “quite positive.” Only one in six, or 15.2 percent, of respondents were against the idea. The percentage of those who would consider starting their own business was also high, at 54 percent. Approximately half the women who participated in the study said that they didn’t feel they were given the same opportunities as their male counterparts when it came to specialization. Specifically, 31 percent said that they could have had more opportunities and 17.2 percent clearly stated that they were discriminated against because of their gender. In the department of surgery, gender discrimination seemed to be even worse, with just 28.8 percent of
female respondents saying they had the same opportunities as their male colleagues. Meanwhile, one in three men (34.2 percent) and two in five women (42.2 percent) said they had experienced bullying and intimidation in the workplace. On the issue of sexual harassment, 34.2 percent of female respondents said they had been victims, compared to 9 percent of the men, while 58.6 percent of the women said they had been the subject of malicious gossip, compared with 50.4 percent of the men. Humiliation and ridicule was identified as a problem for 35.4 percent of the women and 30 percent of the men, while 34.5 percent of the female
Greek hospital you will find dozens of patients waiting to be examined and the chances of an angry outburst aimed at one of the overworked staff are always pretty likely. Hospital staff also face other pressures at work that are not related to patients but arise from the tension of the job and working in close proximity with other colleagues, often leading to cases of bullying and malicious gossip, with one in two saying they are unhappy at work and would like to get a job abroad. The difficulties of working at a Greek hospital were the subject of a recent survey on the Greek healthcare system conducted by the Greek Medical Association UK in cooperation with researcher Efi Simou from the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Greece’s National School of Public Health. A total of 1,339 respondents – doctors, for the most part, and nurses – filled in electronic questionnaires between December 2014 and March this year. Of the sample, 33.1 percent were working at private hospitals, 31.9 percent at public hospitals and 25 percent at university hospitals. A worrying 44.3 percent of the respondents claimed that they were not at all or only a little satisfied with their career prospects, followed by 44.2 percent who were “quite satisfied” and 11.5 percent who were “very satisfied.” At least half were positively inclined to seeking work abroad, with 30.3 percent saying that they saw such a pros-
respondents said they felt excluded by their colleagues, compared with 28.5 percent of the men. The study clearly indicates that Greek hospitals have inadequate support mechanisms for staff, with just two in 10 respondents saying they had received some form of support following for more gardening news victimization and the click on http://cretepost.gr remainder saying that they had received support only occasionally and most often from other colleagues. Commenting on the findings of the study, the head of the Greek Medical Association UK and a PhD candidate at Imperial College London, Gregory Makris, said that “gender discrimination and bullying should not be tolerated in any work environment and particularly in a sensitive and important sector such as that of healthcare, where such behavior between colleagues could easily be passed on to the doctor-patient relationship.” Makris noted that they survey was aimed at detailing the magnitude of the problem and said he believed that “it can and should act as a wake-up call for the Ministry of Health and medical and nursing associations so that they further investigate these issues as part of a broader need to improve working conditions and training at Greek hospitals. “Anything less would show that they are simply indifferent or in part responsible for a situation that is an affront to all of us.” ekathimerini.com
health & nutrition
At any outpatient department in any
November Is Senior Pet Month: Consider Adopting an Older Pet Attention
animal lovers: November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month, and we’d love for you to consider giving a home to an older cat or by Giannis Venetakis dog in need. Animal shelters across Zoo Technician the country are full of animals of all shapes, sizes, breeds and ages, but senior pets are typically the most difficult to place. We’ve found that while puppies are adorable, when you choose to adopt an older pet, you know what to expect. Senior cats and dogs are fully grown, their personalities have developed, and many are already trained. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t teach an old dog new tricks! In our experience, senior dogs are often easier to train than puppies due to their calm demeanor and prior interactions with human companions. Older pets can be great matches for seniors, or those who enjoy a less active lifestyle. We’re on the brink of for more pets news click the holiday season, and on http://cretepost.eu we can’t think of a better time to provide a home for a shelter pet. Why Adopt an Older Dog 1. What You See Is What You Get
pets & vets
donkeys and mules have been used in Cretan agriculture since Minoan times. However, times change and due to technological advancements and urbanisation, equines are kept and used less and less every year. Exact numbers of equines in certain areas were acquired, however, the information dated back as far as 2001. We found these numbers no longer useful or accurate as they have, in reality, decreased tremendously. The Equine Outreach Project began originally as a joint action with the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) as part of an anti-hobbling project in 2002. Head-collars and information was provided for the owners of the working equines. Greek Animal Welfare Fund (GAWF)
Older dogs are open books—from the start, you’ll know important things like their full-grown size, personality and grooming requirements. All this information makes it easier to pick the right dog and forge that instant love connection that will last a lifetime. If you’re not so into surprises, an older dog is for you! 2. Easy to Train Think you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Hogwash! Older dogs are great at focusing on you—and on the task at hand—because they’re calmer than youngsters. Plus, all those years of experience reading humans can help them quickly figure out how to do what you’re asking. 3. Seniors are Super-Loving One of the cool parts of our job is reading stories from people just like you who have opted to adopt. The emails we get from pet parents with senior dogs seem to all contain beautiful, heartfelt descriptions of the love these dogs give you—and those of you who adopted dogs already in their golden years told us how devoted and grateful they are. It’s an instant bond that cannot be topped!
4. They’re Not a 24-7 Job Grownup dogs don’t require the constant monitoring puppies do, leaving you with more freedom to do your own thing. If you have young children, or just value your “me time,” this is definitely a bonus. 5. They Settle in Quickly Older dogs have been around the block and already learned what it takes to get along with others and become part of a pack. They’ll be part of the family in no time! 6. Fewer Messes Your floors, shoes and furniture will thank you for adopting a senior pooch! Older dogs are likely to already be housetrained—and even if they’re not, they have the physical and mental abilities to pick it up really fast (unlike puppies). With their teething years far behind them, seniors also are much less likely to be destructive chewers. 7. You Won’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew There are those who yearn for a doggie friend of their own, but hold back because they worry what might
happen in their lives in the years to come. And they are wise to do so—a puppy or young dog can be anywhere from an 8- to 20-year responsibility, which is not appropriate for the very elderly or those with certain longterm future plans. Providing a loving home for a dog in her golden years is not a less serious commitment, but it can be a shorter one. 8. They Enjoy Easy Livin’ Couch potato, know thyself ! Please consider a canine retiree rather than a high-energy young dog who will run you ragged. Not that older dogs don’t require any exercise—they do—but they’re not going to need, or want, to run a marathon every day. 9. Save a Life, Be a Hero At shelters, older dogs are often the last to be adopted and the first to be euthanized. Saving an animal’s life offers an unparalleled emotional return on your investment, and you’ll feel the rewards every day you spend together. 10. They’re CUTE! Need we say more?
Helping the working donkeys in Crete
and the Donkey Sanctuary funded in the following years a visiting team of specialists including an equine vet,
dentist and farrier. Within the Heraklion and Lassithi areas’ CAWS organized their schedule.
In 2009 CAWS decided to make these specialist-team visits more frequent and therefore has since organised two self funded visits per year (April & October) with the support of Cretan Donkey Care Foundation. Our Equine Outreach Project aims to improve the welfare of working equines in remote areas of the island and to provide the local, and usually elderly, owners with a service essential to their livelihood. We are continuously expanding our working area and an average of 70 donkeys per visit – among other animals such as goats and horses – receive treatment. This brings our project costs to approx. €18 per animal helped – a small price to pay for such an essential service to the animals and the community! crete4animals.gr
The November flower is the Chrysanthemum
Not so slowly now, the remains of the
last season are making their way back to earth. Cast your eye up and newly bare branches reveal the sky while, at our feet, the leaves are browning. These are the first few weeks of winter and I use my time carefully, letting the last of the autumn run its course and targeting energies to set things up for the months ahead.
RAKE’S PROGRESS Only collect leaves where absolutely necessary. Don’t leave them too long on the lawns or they will kill the grass underneath. Where they have fallen in the beds and have not drifted too deeply, leave the earthworms to pull them into their burrows and to rot on the surface. This is not laziness but necessary to keep the cycle replenished. However, where leaves have drifted deeply or are smothering smaller plants or silver Mediterranean herbs and perennials, clear to keep the plants dry and airy. Sweeping leaves off paths and terraces is all you need to keep the garden looking cared for and covers for a wealth of disor-
and are used in funerals and placed on graves. In China, Japan and Korea lamentation or grief are the symbolic meanings attached to the white chrysanthemum while they represent honesty in many other countries. The chrysanthemum is given to mothers on Mother’s Day in Australia and a festival celebrating the flower is held annually in the Chinese city of Tongxiang. And the name of the ancient Chinese city of Ju-Xian means ‘chrysanthemum city.’ In Japan the position of a Japanese emperor is called the Chrysanthemum
Throne and the emperor awards a Japanese honour known as the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum. The official flower of the city of Chicago, Illinois is the chrysanthemum. The designation was made in 1966 by Mayor Richard J. Daley. It is also the official flower of the California city of Salinas. The sorority Sigma Alpha has adopted the yellow mum as their official flower as has the pharmacy fraternity Lambda Kappa Sigma while the white mum is the official flower of the Triangle Fraternity and the mum itself is Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia’s official flower. King Tut (Tutankhamen) was said to
Gardening jobs for November
der in the beds.
PERENNIAL QUESTION If you are tidy-minded, it might go against the grain to leave the perennials standing, but in a month’s time you will find that certain plants have made fine winter skeletons and can be left until February or March. Fennel and miscanthus, verbena and teasel make good hibernacula for beneficial insects and their seed keeps the birds going in the cold periods as well as providing winter interest. TOP OF THE HEAP If you have the room, create a separate leaf heap rather than simply adding leaves to compost, as leaf mould is a luxury soil improver if you are growing lilies in pots. The fibrous nature of leaf mould retains moisture and enables free drainage, which means it also makes a fine mulch for woodland treasures such as trillium or wood anemone. A leaf heap can easily be constructed using chicken wire and posts, or you can bag your leaves and put them in an out-of-theway corner. Make sure you puncture the
bags to prevent them from becoming anaerobic, as the bacteria that turn them to leaf mould need air to flourish. A leaf heap should take a year to rot down so empty now to make way for this year’s fall. LOVE ME TENDER In the colder parts of the country, first frosts will have blackened the dahlias. If you haven’t done so already, move tender perennials into the shelter of a cool greenhouse, frame or garage and water less to bring on a state of semi dormancy. In colder districts, tuberous-rooted cannas and dahlias should be dug up and stored in just-damp compost in a cool, airy place. In warmer areas, an ample mulch of compost or leaf mould should protect them and they can stay put. IT’S A WRAP For those growing exotic plants outside, protect the “hardy” bananas (Musa basjoo) and tree ferns by wrapping their trunks and crowns in straw or bubblewrap and hessian. Melianthus are at their best this late in the season, so work straw around the base of their stems and allow the frost
to blacken the tops in time. CUT AND DRIED The window between now and the end of the year is the best time to take hard-wood cuttings. As soon as the leaves have fallen, take cuttings at pencil length and pencil thickness. Make a clean cut immediately below a bud and a sloping cut above to tell top from bottom. Plunge to half their depth in compost or a trench in open ground if you don’t have a frame. Vines, cornus, willow, buddleia and fig will be rooted by spring and ready for potting by mid-summer. GONE WITH THE WIND If you live in a windy area, roses and buddleia can be topped by a third to prevent wind-rock, which can undermine stability over the coming months. A clean cut is advisable, but more accurate pruning can follow on the other side of winter when the sap is rising. Save the prunings for a welcome bonfire and enjoy the end of the day with chestnuts in embers and the last of the season’s potatoes. Guardian
called the ‘mum’ and symbolizes cheerfulness and love and bloom in colours ranging from pink and red to white and yellow as well as mauve and orange. Chrysanthemums were first cultivated as a flowering herb in China in the 15th century BC with over 500 cultivars in existence by the early 1600’s. The flower is symbolic in many cultures including the Chinese and East Asians who consider it one of the Four Gentlemen in art and it has a great deal of significance during the Double Ninth Festival. In Japan, the chrysanthemum was adopted as the official seal of the Emperor following its introduction in that country in the 8th century AD. The Japanese Festival of Happiness is a celebration of the mum. The flower was introduced to Untied States in the late 1700’s when an imported variety identified as Dark Purple arrived from England courtesy of Colonel John Stevens. The incurve chrysanthemum is symbolic of death in France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Poland, Hungary and Croatia
have been buried wearing floral collars of chrysanthemums and insects are repelled by resins of the plant. A certain type of fireworks shell is named a chrysanthemum because they produce a pattern which happens to resemble the flower. Ancient Chinese medicine points to chrysanthemum tea as offering longterm benefits related to blood and weight. for more gardening news Chrysanthemum tea is click on http://cretepost.gr a medicinal use of the plant and has been for many years. The drink is said to cool the body, clear the liver, support immunity, reduce high blood pressure, relax the nervous system and slows aging. Combined with other herbs, they are said to increase in potency and assist with dizziness and eyestrain as well as improving vision and comforts the eyes. Another health benefit in the use of chrysanthemum tea is that it is believed to lower cholesterol. The secret meaning of the mum is “You’re A Wonderful Friend.”
plants and gardening
This mostly perennial plant is also
Let’s talk about Cretan cheese by Antonia Tsakirakis Cook
The consumption of cheese in Crete
is the highest in the world! Maybe the Cretans are right. The don’t regard food as a medicine, they know how to enjoy its taste. And the taste of the Cretan cheese (gruyere, kefalograviera, kefalotiri,
on for more news click r t.g http://cretepos
sweet or sour mizithra) and the rest of the dairy products is unsurpassed! An important source of proteins of high biological quality, cheese plays a central role in the Cretan diet. It is said to be a source of saturated fats but the Cretans who eat it do not have high levels of cholesterol, probably the combinations of the Cretan nutritional model provide the ideal balance... The Cretan diet is an impressively balanced diet of natural products that offer exactly what the hu-
Traditional Cretan Taverna
man needs to remain healthy. Recent scientific studies associate dairy products with the prevention and treatment of breast and prostate cancer! In Crete and France extensive studies are being conducted to develop new methods of treatment of the disease based on these scientific findings! Our cheeses contain a lot of vitamins (Α, Β1, Β2, Β3, Β6, folic acid), as well as basic minerals and aminoacids. Sheep and goat keeping in Crete dates back to the myths of the antiquity. It is said that the milk products of Crete were the food of the great God, Zeus, who was born in a cave. His company and nurse was a goat called Amalthea. Since then animal farming in Crete has not changed. It is based on small animals
Drakona, Kerameia (20 km from Chania)
“Tzaneris & Archontissa”
Tel.: +30 28210 75997
Spiced Pumpkin Pie
(goats, sheep) while cows are few. It is also based on the free grazing. No animal farming business keeps its animals imprisoned for a long time, the animals of Crete are free throughout the year on the maintains or pastures and feed almost exclusively on wild plants, the incredible Cretan herbs and bushes. This traditional form of animal farming is based on centuries-long experience. The only essential difference to the past is the processing of the milk, that now takes place in modern factories, strictly following the safety of food regulations and the traditional methods of cheese-making. The Cretan graviera cheese offers a surprising taste, like the rest of the cheese varieties of the island (kefalotyri, kefalograviera, anthotyros...)
Mob.: +30 6973 210487 / +30 6973 786747
by Marilou - Chief executive chef at Marilou Cupcakes and more - email@example.com
Pecans add a delightful flavour and texture to this pumpkin pie. • • • •
0:30 To Prep 1:15 To Cook 15 INGREDIENTS 8 SERVINGS
Ingredients • 2/3 cup Coles brand Australian pecans • 1 1/2 cups plain flour • 2 tablespoons icing sugar • 90g cold butter, chopped • 3-4 tablespoons iced water • 1 egg white • Cream, to serve Filling • 1 1/2 cups mashed butternut pumpkin, cooled • 2 eggs • 1 cup brown sugar • 1/2 cup cream • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon • 1 teaspoon ground ginger • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
food & wine
Preparation • Process the pecans in a food pro-
cessor until ground. Add flour, icing sugar and butter. Pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Pulse in water until dough just comes together. Turn onto a clean work surface. Shape into a ball. Reserve one-quarter. Roll out remaining pastry on a sheet of baking paper to fit a 3-cup, 23cm (top measurement) pie dish. Line dish with pastry and trim excess. Roll out reserved pastry on a
sheet of baking paper until 3mm thick. Use small leaf cutters (see tip) or a small sharp knife to cut leaves from the pastry. Brush rim of pastry shell with egg white, and attach leaves. Chill for 20 mins. Preheat oven to 180C or 160C fanforced. Place the pie dish on a baking tray. Line pastry with baking paper, and fill with pastry weights or rice. Bake for 15 mins, then remove the paper and weights or
rice. Bake for a further 15 mins or until dry and light golden. Cool. To make the filling, whisk all ingredients in a bowl until well combined. Pour into the pastry shell. Bake for 45 mins or until just set, covering edge with foil if necessary to prevent overbrowning. Cool, then serve with cream.
Rethymno Cretan Kings Basketball Club
For more info visit http://www.agor.gr
B.C., is a Greek professional basketball club that was founded in Rethymno, Crete in 1986. The club is also commonly known as Rethymno B.C. The parent athletic club was founded in 1965. The team was previously known as Rethymno Aegean B.C. The team’s greatest accomplishment occurred during the 2006-07 season, when the team qualified to play in the final of the Greek Cup, after defeating the top division Greek League teams PAOK, Panionios,
Sporting, and Kolossos Rodou. Rethymno was finally defeated by the Euroleague powerhouse Panathinaikos, by a score of 87-48 in the championship game of the 2007 Greek Cup, but nevertheless, Rethymno secured a new strong place in the Greek pro leagues after the team’s showing. After originally being named Rethymno Aegean, the club changed its name to Rethymno for more spo rts news Cretan Kings in click on http://cretepost. gr 2015.
sports & leisure
Rethymno Cretan Kings
That’s how we call... basketball on Crete
November's issue of Chania Post is here, with an exclusive article for the... reality in Greece, written by three academics.