Talking about ungratefulness! It is up to the leaders that are being voted by the people to lead the country, to change the system and reform, modernize and above all lead by example. If the Greeks are unproductive, then perhaps it is because their leaders are the lazy and corrupt ones! The fish stinks from its head, a Greek saying tells us! Perhaps the Greek elite needs to keep that in mind.
Lets examine a few facts about the working conditions in Greece now, shall we? The Greeks as the following statistics map by EIRO (The European Industrial Relations Observatory) shows, work among the longest hours in the EU! On average 40 hours per week, while on the bottom of the map we see the richest nations of Europe, like Germany, France, Holland, Norway, Belgium and so on.
Figure 1: Average collectively agreed normal weekly hours, 2009
In Greece after one or two years maximum you receive nothing from the state. You got to keep working in Greece, even if it is on-off to receive social assistance! What makes Belgium, many Scandinavian and other northern European states so rich to be able to provide social welfare for life to their citizens?
Yet the Germans were turning down those jobs and wanted better paid ones, leaving those jobs for the immigrants. I am not so sure about the current working conditions in Germany, but I mentioned the above as another example of the working ethos of the Greeks. We are hard working people, and everywhere we set foot we prosper!
Instead of going to their MPs, grab them by the neck and demand hospitals, schools, universities, roads and development they go and beg for a position for their sons and daughters in the ever growing Greek public sector!
Or even worse, they were bought by other European/Western multinational companies and were sold off or broken piece by piece, destroying many jobs in Greece. So the only secure career prospects you have in Greece is to join and work in the (ever growing) public sector.
Not everybody tax evades in Greece. There is a popular notion among Europeans, that comes from their experiences as tourists in Greece, that the Greeks leave unfinished their homes to evade taxes. If the state gives you the option in its laws to be able to pay less tax if you do not finish your house properly, that is not tax evading. I am sure the Germans would do the same if this loophole existed in their laws.
Besides, not all regions of Greece have the same laws. In the region of Northern Greece where I come from, all houses are finished. It seems that this exception exists in the islands, so the rumor was generalized. Perhaps the Greek islands have other tax exemptions than the mainland Greece.
How can you expect Greece ever to recover when generation after generation is being crippled and forced into poverty and deprivation? Before it was the wars, now it is the economic crisis. I wonder, does Europe really want to have a rich and prosperous Greece in its club?