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Is education the first thing that a country in crisis(such as Greece) should change or is the reform of its economy more important at first?

Do you believe that education is much more important to change in order to change the structure of the society in the long-term or is the economy the first thing that we need to change in order to get prosperity? Some people say that education needs good funding in order to change, and some others that economy needs great education and knowledge so as to change. Are they really that connected with each other? What is your opinion on this?

Thank you,
Pavlos,17

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    Apr 6 2013: Economy. Start bartering. I personally do not believe education needs good funding. Education needs good culture.
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    Apr 6 2013: There is no reason not to undertake several strategies at once to improve people's well-being. If education is focused on rote learning now, which you- actually being in school- would know better than the rest of us, a shift toward critical thinking is in order and not, I think, more expensive to deliver. Literacy continues to be important, including being able to read and do some basic math, even though those may have some rote aspects to the degree that codes are involved. I have not checked, but I would assume the literacy rate in Greece is already extremely high. (Okay, checked- 97% among adults and 100% of kids in school).

    In the absence of economic reforms that create opportunities for people to use there skills, though, I would expect young people in particular to try to migrate to countries that do offer better opportunities.
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    Apr 6 2013: Pavlos, did you want more time on this conversation? Hit "edit" to add more time.
  • Apr 6 2013: Maybe Greece doesn't have as many problems as you believe. Except for the EEC and the Euro maybe things can be fixed. Why do you want to pretend to be a bunch of Germans, Frence, or Northern Europeans? That's fine for them, but no one dreams of being Zorba the German or Dutch Zorba. Some people relax and are happy, and others are stressed workaholics. The per capita income will be lower in Greece, but do you really care?
    If so don't listen to me.
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      Apr 6 2013: Your reply really moved me George. I totally agree with you. People should not need all this wealth in order to live fine. Relaxing by the sea and living simply is a great thing. However, today as you can see from the recent news with North Korea, the US and the rest of the world, we must never be relaxed about our future and therefore we must have some sufficient educational background (and of course sufficient will) in order to face all these remixes. It is really controversial. Unfortunately this is where 21st century and the human nature brought us to.
      To recapitalize, I believe that somebody should first reserve the basics, and then and only then dream of being Zorba the Greek; which is rather desirable I come to you, George.
      • Apr 7 2013: I see what you are saying, and I don't completely disagree. I didn't want to be rude to people who live anyplace. Different countries have different cultures. We should all maximize the right values and efforts like America is not doing now. Deindustrialization is crazy for us. What is right for Greece, I don't have a clue. Neither do the Germans, nor the Greeks in regard to what taxes the Germans should pay. In short, I agree with the English in that the Euro was a bad idea as implemented. God bless us each and everyone, but destroying economic growth in Greece is only good if the Greeks want it. I can't believe you would want the economy the bankers want for you.
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    Apr 6 2013: Greece has a structural and cyclical economic problem. To resolve the crisis of sovereign debt, there must be economic reform
  • Apr 7 2013: Education is very iimportant of course. But in the short run this will not be out of crisis for Greece because eduction for knowledge economy is a long term process. Here in USA, there are many people of Greek origins who are scientists , engineers and other professional. I think it would make sense for Greece to make a special effort to reach out to Geek Americans particularly to help people here to do good in Greece as they are able to connect that is meaningful and does good for Greece and good for America.

    I have a special project alled the Greece Ambassador, and hope to connect ths project with a Trade plus Culture delegation that connects our community here in Fairax , VA via the Sister Cities International that links Athens, Greece and Los Angeles, CA for many years for community to community link and people to people link. I am not a Greek but I appreciate and value the gift of classical Greek cutlure to humanity and America's Founding Fathers. I have created a brief utube video on the Greek Ambassador under the "unlisted channel" to share with our community people who are interested and link with people in Greece later via the Sister Cities Program via City of Los Angeles and Athen . Makes sense ?
  • Apr 7 2013: Let me give you a somewhat similar, but not exactly same situation in the possible "recipe" for reform from an economic crisis. Your neighbor in the North; Finland, had an economic crisis. They suffered, but endured, for a number of years to recovery. That was a relatively impressive recovery. At the same time, their education system also improved so much that they are the most envied in the world. I have no proof that it was related to the economic recovery, but at least these two changes are parallel, if not causal. So in my opinion, education reform should be emphasized hand-in-hand with the economic reform. Also a well educated population would be more understanding and tolerant on the economic difficulties you must go through in the coming years.
  • Apr 6 2013: I think the changes are more related to economy than education.

    Greed, corruption, and lack of long-term planing seem to be at the root of much of the trouble. Sadly, good long-term planning decisions do not get politicians elected.

    Like any other problem, the first thing to do is to identify the problem and trace it to the root causes. Start you change there. In the mean time, government leaders need to be responsible and make sure the basic needs of the people are not sacrificed during the changes. Lifestyles may suffer a bit, but the people need to feel like they will survive the crisis and that life on the other side will be better as a result of the sacrifice in order for them to adopt the changes.
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    Apr 6 2013: A culture is built over generations. What you have is a cultural problem and it is loaded with memes that are hard to change.

    These videos give some idea of what is involved:

    http://www.ted.com/talks/niall_ferguson_the_6_killer_apps_of_prosperity.html

    http://www.ted.com/talks/yasheng_huang.html

    http://www.ted.com/talks/matt_ridley_when_ideas_have_sex.html

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Juu-nkWewU
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    Apr 6 2013: Pavlos, you are the best person to answer this, because you actually live in Greece. We in other countries don't know as much about the situation there as you. Would you say the country has a problem, or problems, and what is it, or what are they? Are they exceptionally bad, after all every country has problems. If it, or they, are exceptionally bad, what do you think is the answer, or answers, to it, or them?
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      Apr 6 2013: Greg, as you quite well said, we Greeks must find out the answer. However, this is what I keep talking about with my mates and circles and our opinions are always dichotomised. That's why I run to you, because you can see things from a different perspective. In the greek educational system, fine memory rather than critical thinking is tested and therefore students (and I as well) cannot judge situations correctly and are manipulated by people who simply want to lead the masses in order to satisfy their own desires and goals.
      Students in Greece only study in the last year of High School for the finals. We only study lessons that will help us get in the university. Students hate ancient Greek because they are taught in the manner of "having a good memory". We do not learn the substance of this amazing language which could help us think differently. The same thing with Greek Philosophy. This is an example that we only focus on some things and miss other much more important ones.
      When they enter university, these students either try to escape from the routine from this phenomenon or they enter political parties again being manipulated by the stronger hands. As a consequence, our educational system creates passive "victims" and not new leaders.

      We must change the root of the problem, which is not economy, but education. I don't think there must be a huge budget to carry this out. We can change by DOING. By making, small and sustainable changes. Or else, we will be in this vicious circle for eternity...

      I admit that I am 17 and that I might not know enough things to be sure about this solution. Growing up, I will form many different opinions. However, this is my opinion now that I live in this situation. What do you think, Greg?
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        Apr 6 2013: Well, Pavlos, I'm not an expert. I do sometimes think it's powerful to start with individuals rather than groups. And in fact if we're going to start with individuals, the first individual is one's self, that is, the person in the mirror. So we'll start with you. Do you consider yourself a victim? Of whom, specifically, naming specific names, are you a victim? In what way are you a victim?

        If you feel you are too young to answer these questions yet, then choose another individual in your life who you believe is a victim. What is that person's name? In what way do you think they are a victim?

        Now, if you have named someone you think is a victim, please go to them and ask them if they think they are a victim, and why or why not, and if they are a victim, a victim of what? Don't prejudge their answer, listen and see what they say. And then think about their answer. You can do it with several people if you like.

        Those are my best ideas. If you think they are valuable ideas, and you do them, get back to me and tell me what you decided and experienced.

        One thing I will say, no matter how good a school system is, some people are going to be more leaders, and some more followers.
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    Apr 6 2013: Pavlos, I got the following off of the internet: A developed country, the economy of Greece mainly revolves around the service sector (85.0%) and industry (12.0%), while agriculture makes up 3.0% of the national economic output. The reson that the service is so high is the tourism trade. In 2010 Greek government bonds went to junk bond status. There are many things that must occur to reverse this and I believe they must be approached as a package. Austerity measures, to restore the fiscal balance. Basically a hard look at what can be eliminated or reduced to take the strain off of the government ... this would include education as you have mentioned ... but I see social programs as the single largest budget item and as such must be hit hardest. Second structural reforms to improve competitativeness and growth prospects. Even if brought back in alignment the 85% economic dependence on services would be considered a high risk. Greece must explore more industrial efforts in order to rise the GDP to debit ratio. The export to import ration is out of alignment and must be resolved.

    IMO I do not think that this can be reversed under the current socialist government that has followed keynesian economics and socialist ideals of big government and heavy on the government provided social programs.

    Recovery will be long and hard and very unpopular. The question is not either the economy or education .... but rather a complete re-organization and re-structure process.

    Education exists within the euro community to resovle these issues however Greece has not fully complied with the requests, demands, and recommendations because of political considerations. More education will not help if political concerns override recovery needs.

    I wish you well. Bob.