On 23 October, any decisions made by the Eurozone's leaders over Greece's future and sovereign-debt problems are not supposed to provide holistic answers.
German leaders were pretty clear on that point on 17 October, fearing that markets will be in turmoil on 24 October if a less-than total solution was agreed in the European Council.
Reducing expectations is a game that Berlin has played for many months now – this prospect, however, will bring more disappointment to the average Greek citizen, because the Athens government had raised high hopes for a way out for the country being achieved on 23 October.
With the overall unemployment at 16.3%, around 35% of those aged under 29 with no job and wage-earners and pensioners seemingly the constant target of the government's efforts to raise taxes and cut social expenses, the politico-psychological and of course financial situation of the entire population is likely to continue its deterioration.
The Papandreou administration, in office for two years now, has lost almost all of its political capital following its ‘flip-flops’ in economic policy, which have also been partly due to the Eurozone's indecisiveness in tackling the sovereign-debt problem.
The whole of Greek society is now in a very peculiar political and psychological state – no-one believes that the government can offer a better solution than trying to implement what the Eurozone's big guns have decided is best for the country. At the same time, there is a widespread fear among citizens that even worse is in store if the government falls. In the view of many, a general election will offer no better prospects of overcoming the country's political stalemate.
The leader of the major opposition party New Democracy, Antionis Samaras, has not offered a convincing way out with his rounded proposals. His promises that the country can return to growth, renegotiate with the troika of the EU-ECB-IMF auditors better terms for its bailout and avoid tough decisions are considered by the majority of Greeks as simple populism, and have convinced few, if any.
In short, here is an entire population that has lost hope of improved political and financial options in the foreseeable future. On top of that, everybody in Greece knows by now that the all-important decision on their future is to come from abroad and this has brought about a range of reactions, from frustration with the loss of control to outright rage.
At the same time, however, the country’s organised minorities, in the spheres of public-sector services and utilities such as garbage collection, electricity production and distribution have used aggressive, almost anti-social industrial action to protect their own prerogatives. Even judges and prosecutors have applied “go slow” practice in courts, while public transport in Athens is rarely operational.
In such an environment, which resembles a country in intensive care, the private sector is constantly shrinking and is struggling to survive. In addition, the government is obstinately refusing to fairly distribute the cost of the crisis by either cutting down the cost of the paralytic state machinery or extending the tax base to traditionally tax evading social strata, such as many professionals who have a strong presence in all political parties.
In view of all this, a large portion of citizens have adopted a completely cynical attitude towards politics, if they are not totally frozen by the overdoses of fear that almost all the country's media are constantly broadcasting. The government is not innocent on this front, either, as it has repeatedly used propaganda techniques in order to pass further unpopular measures.
Thus, Greek society has for months now been living in almost constant fear for the future, while the present is even more appalling. For days, Athens has resembled a huge dustbin, with public sector workers occupying disposal sites, blocking the garbage-treatment chain and claiming that they will continue to do so until the government falls. Unfortunately, the country's civic authorities are not complaining loudly enough about this.
But let’s see what will happen in the economy’s private sector – the two-and-a-half million people who make their living here, workers and businessmen alike, are unable to change anything. It is only state-sector employees in public utilities, the proper state machinery and the thousands of state entities that are complaining, loudly. At the same time, private-sector workers are living with the Sword of Damocles of dismissal over their heads, and are paid only half what their public-sector peers receive.
For the past 30 years, Greeks working in the private sector have become the children of a lesser God, while those near the political parties became public employees, with much better pay and usually very little work to do, having only to vote for their political and trade union “protectors” every so often.
In short, this has created a schizophrenic social reaction to everything, because this model simply cannot continue to function on borrowed money.