Saturday, July 5, 2014

It's All Greek To Me: The nightmare of opening a new business

Glenn Reynolds had this link to this New York Times Op-Ed piece about Despina Antypa's struggles during the Greek economic collapse.  It is well worth reading. She lost her job and tried to master a new baking business, but despite success with her product, was closed down by a thousand cuts of bureaucratic impositions that killed her business in the cradle.

I recognize that Greece (like a lot of Southern Europe) has a tradition of government officials imposing bureaucratic requirements that may get lifted for the right amount of baksheesh (In Greece's case I partially blame the Turks who brought that tradition from the Arabs), but that same sort of stifling corruption exists in many American cities (and plenty of other countries too).  Even if it is not corruption driven, in some ways that is even worse because you can't even escape it by negotiating the payoff amount with the local commissar. These government inspectors have to justify their existence in saying "no" to any request and to the extent it cripples growth it becomes a cancer on the economy.  

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