Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Several years ago, Despina Antypa and her husband worked at a leading newspaper in Athens.

Then came the economic crisis.

The bad news was “just a whisper” at first. But when friends began losing work, she had the foresight and discipline to plan a new career. One unrestricted by language or country — just in case they ever had to leave Greece. She chose pastry, taking classes every weekday for two years, practicing techniques on weekends.

Sure enough, in 2011 the couple lost their own jobs. Despina threw herself into the task of confecting a signature delicacy good enough to sell; some 3,000 trials and errors (“mostly errors”) later, she was satisfied.

Then came the work of developing a website, packaging, selling.

Orders poured in. The labors were paying off. Except that—

The business was killed in its crib by bureaucrats.

The Greek government demanded a lot, including

  • advance taxes equal to “50 percent of estimated profit in the first two years” (money never to be returned were the business to fail);
  • minimum square footage for her shop much greater than necessary; and
  • a separate toilet for walk-in customers (although there would be no walk-in customers).

The arbitrary burdens proved too great. In 2013, her husband got a job offer that meant moving to Brussels. They jumped at the chance. There they forged the new life they could have forged in Greece — had they been allowed to.

It seems that the road to recovery is not helped by hobbling the runners.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. Rick says:

    It’s been cheeky to call europeans socialists for 20-25 years. But they really are. The EU is driving it. Nigel Farage constantly calls the EU the new Politburo. Here’s a clip from Mish’s blog the other day. Central Planning at it’s finest:

    The Paris City Council approved Tuesday a tax on commercial vacant properties. The main objective according to city planners is to encourage the conversion of empty offices into housing, not to “create a new tax”. The city plans to tax owners of vacant commercial premises at 20% of the rental value of the first year, 30% the second, 40% the third year, from 1 January 2015.

    Paris has 18 million square meters of office space, of which 6-7% is vacant, according to the deputy in charge of Housing Ian Brossat. The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, pledged during his campaign to get at least 200,000 square meters transformation of offices into housing during his term.

    Meanwhile the slow-motion trainwreck continues to unfold over there. Behold Portugal’s largest bank:

    Espirito Santo Financial Group SA, which owns 25 percent of Portuguese lender Banco Espirito Santo SA, said it decided to suspend its shares and listed bonds on the Luxembourg and Euronext exchanges due to its exposure to Espirito Santo International SA.

    “Due to ongoing material difficulties at its largest shareholder Espirito Santo International and ESFG’s exposure to that company, ESFG has decided to suspend its shares and listed bonds, including the bond issued by its fully-owned subsidiary Espirito Santo Financiere SA,” ESFG said today in a filing posted on the Portuguese securities regulator’s website. “ESFG is currently assessing the financial impact of its exposure to ESI.”

  2. Free Man (NOT) says:

    I guess it’s just as well they didn’t move here.
    We’re just a hop, skip, and a jump from being another Greece

  3. Drik says:

    Marx said that the revolution had to occur everywhere all at once.
    (Else the productive people would just leave.)

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