Saturday, 11 June 2011


A sensationalist title (some of you are biting already), but do bear with me. This will be a very brief post.

I've heard a good deal in the last two years about how Greece has been hijacked by thugs who have been fleecing us for all we're worth. I've got some sympathy for this statement, though you won't be surprised to find I interpret it slightly differently from many other commentators. Also, I like to back up what I say with evidence. So here goes.

Some of you may have come across the Political Compass: a clever little test that, instead of looking simply at where one sits on the left-right spectrum, combines this with a reading of where one sits on the authoritarian-liberal spectrum: whether they want freedom to prosper or suffer according to their choices or a measure of state guarantees that no matter what crap life throws their way they will be given some basics and a helping hand. I took the test a couple of years back and the result will not surprise you, although my friends' results might.

Now you might think that the libertarian corner is a pretty lonely place, the political naughty step reserved for bloodthirsty neoliberals. But in fact you may find, upon reflection, that I am in very good company. Consider for instance the Political Compass rating of the European ruling parties as of 2008:

Not too shabby, and probably about right actually - although I bet some of these governments will have since shifted to the Left, if they know what's good for them. Now, if only we could sort of replicate this for the entire Greek people - what a lovely insight it would give us. Turns out we (sort of) can. Astute readers may remember this post, where I used data from the 2008 Survey of European Values (which you can get for free here) to look at Greek attitudes towards foreigners.

So I did some snooping around tonight to see what else I could dig up and managed to draw up a nice little grid of the Greek population according to where they sit on this spectrum. You see the Survey asks respondents whether they prefer to trade off freedom for equality or vice versa and where they would place themselves on the Left to Right spectrum, on a scale of 1 (far left) to 10 (far right). I also threw in an extra measure. I assumed that everyone who responded 'Neither' to the 'Freedom v. Equality' question is not comfortable with tradeoffs in general. I also assumed that everyone who rated themselves 5 or 6 (the two middle points) on the Left-Right scale also has trouble accepting tradeoffs. I know I'm goint to get some stick from people over the latter assumption but I'll stick to it. You have a 10-point scale to choose from dude. WTF does 5 mean? Or 6 for that matter. Give me a break.

Run this analysis and you get the following grid breakdown of the Greek population (weighted figures, thank you very much) as of 2008, just before the 30 years' worth of shit we pretended not to see hit the massive, country-sized fan we spent 30 years building so we couldn't smell said shit. It looks like this:

I've done the math for you too:
  • Old school socialists (including communists): 13.5%
  • Liberals (modern definition, including but mostly not anarchists): 12.6%
  • Fascists (big or small f): 10.2%
  • Libertarians: 16.7%
  • People who think they don't have to make tradeoffs: 49% 47% (The figures in the pic add up to 100 even if my sloppy, early morning sums don't. Still, many thanks for the correction!) 
Dear god, we never stood a chance... The people that don't believe in tradeoffs would decide any election hands down. That's why we can't help but elect whatever muppet tells us that 'there is money' (Yorgo), or that his first priority will be the following five priorities (Karamanlis Jr). These are the people that have run Greece to the ground with their stupid voting for years, making a mockery of elections. They are, in fact, collectively, the real Greek dictators.

1 comment:

  1. A few comments
    1. There is no god
    2. Do your maths again, the numbers do not add up to 100 (you said you work for an accounting company?)
    3. I agree with you that 5 and 6 means that these are individuals with no polarised views. So if you change the colour to grey for those that have numbers 4 and 7 you get a number (I hope i did the summation right) of 64.7 %.


    How can you have a dictatorship supported by the people if the great majority of them are moderate voters?


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