Cyprus Mail

Sycophancy, nepotism and impenetrable stupidity: the real Cyprus economy.

‘Now is the best time to invest in Cyprus, a comment by Dr, Theodore Panayiotou (Sunday Mail June 9th) makes for riveting reading and would probably be true of any country, planet or asteroid between here and Pluto. However, this is Cyprus where totally different rules and laws of economics and societal organisation apply.

It is an axiom of liberal market economics that rational enlightened self interest drives the decisions and actions of the actors in a free market economy. Sadly, Cyprus is driven by sycophancy, nepotism and the impenetrable stupidity of its socio-political and economic elites.

Where else in this universe can three quarters of the shops in a street be up for sale or rent for lack of tenants and a landlord refuses to reduce the rent preferring to let it stand empty. The only workers who have neither lost jobs nor suffered wages cuts to date are bank employees because their unions do not accept redundancies where it is not merely that jobs have gone: the entire employer has ceased to exist!

The “world – class accounting, legal, and other business services” are the ones who got us into this mess. If they are “world – class” then they saw this coming: which makes them culpable crooks! If they did not see it coming, then “world class incompetents” may be a more appropriate description.

Yes Cyprus does have a high number of university graduates.

You would have thought if our elites and governments had an inkling of what “comparative advantage” meant they would have thought about creating an infrastructure for higher education here. Instead too many, possibly most, of our young people prefer to go abroad for their university education. Good universities here would stop the drain of finances going abroad and attract foreign students to study here. Which leads to another problem: English, of sorts, is widely spoken in Cyprus but it is not the main language medium for teaching in higher education. The misguided notion of a section of our elites that Hellenism is under siege and in danger of being lost as a culture restricts diversity, encourages racism and ethnic exclusivity and basically discourages the progress enjoyed by multicultural and tolerant states elsewhere.

Dr. Panayiotou is right about some, if not all, of Cyprus’s comparative advantages. Unfortunately for those of us living here under successive incompetent, pusillanimous and cowardly political administrations we have little confidence that economic logic will prevail over the moral turpitude of the elites responsible for the running of this country.

Steven Tsenti, via email

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