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The Difficulty of Selling Greek Islands

October 11, 2010

From Bloomberg:

Confronted with monthly debt payments of 4 billion euros, [Prime Minister] Papandreou, while at the January 2010 gathering of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, suggested a strategy that ailing companies often pursue when fighting for survival: selling prized assets. The most valuable treasures that Greece has to offer are its 6,000 sun-soaked islands, which, along with luxury properties and other land the government controls, might fetch a healthy premium on the open market…

The trouble is that the labyrinthine federal, state, local, military and religious regulations, decrees, laws, proclamations and edicts have made it almost impossible for anyone to sell anything, because no one can agree on who owns what.

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5 Comments
  1. October 11, 2010 4:22 pm

    Folks, this is Lesson #0 of government: Weak Government == Bad Government

    Weak government doesn’t know what it owns and even when it does know what it owns has difficulty expressing it’s ownership. The lack of formality leads to graft, corruption, blowbacks and pork; which leads to the present situation, which can’t be remedied until Greece can work out what it owns and express it’s ownership. This may require the use of a few paratroopers.

    I’m curious though: does anyone know if they are just selling the real estate, or the sovereignty too; if you were to buy one of these islands, would you have to pay greek taxes and obey greek laws, or would I be able to negotiate the continued protection of the mighty Grecian Navy, but pass on everything else, for a reasonable annual fee?

  2. etjonbasha permalink
    October 12, 2010 7:09 am

    As far as I know they’re selling real estate, not sovereignty. That would have been too good to be true.

    As for nobody knowing who owns what, could the Great Greek State just eminent domain its way through the ownership claims of state agencies? Or is Eminent Domain some sort of weapon, to be used only against mortals, and not the deities of the state itself?

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