The economy of any country is as important as the governance in that country. However, some countries or citizens do not take this serious as they aim is to get wealthy without having any concern of the growth of the country. Moreover, the length that some people go to achieve wealth is overwhelming. What they forget is that with a strong economy there is unity in the government, as well as good public relations among the government institutions. However, for a country like Greece and California this has not been the case as the cases of corruption and greed are at very high levels. According to Lewis people have forgotten to fight for the country’s good, they would rather be wealthy at the detriment of the country rather than be poor meaning that countries have been subjected to financial instability due to greed and corruption. This essay examines the life in Greece as depicted in Boomerang as compared to the life in the United States or California.
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Good governance is something that is lacking in both Greece and some states in the United States such as California and San Jose. According to Lewis, the government works against the interest of the common good, by putting the interest of the politicians before the interest of the citizens (55). The citizens work tirelessly to ensure that the economy of the country is boosted, but what its leaders is doing is to keep borrowing without an idea of the manner in which they will repay the debts (Lynn 20). Moreover, the countries go to whatever lengths they need to just to get funding from the International Monetary Fund or any other international organization. For instance, in the case of Greece the Greek government officials lied to the European Union by providing doctored economic data (Lewis 54).
According to Lewis, the Government of Greece and their statisticians did some things to do away with high-priced tomatoes from the customer’s price index during the time when inflation was being measured in the country. The statisticians further went ahead to move various stuff such as defense and pensions spending off the books. This allowed a deficit, which was greater than 10% of the FDP to be realized fewer than 3% allowing the Greeks to join the European Union (Lewis 54). This further allowed having a good chance of borrowing in the international community. The actions that were taken by Greece are a clear indication that the governments will do anything just to stay ahead. In the case of California, when Arnold tried to come up with a way of ensuring that the states has more funds all the proposed reforms were rejected (Lewis 80). By so doing, it prevented the state from growing financially.
Secondly, the citizens have adopted what the politicians are doing to them; therefore, engaging in actions that make the countries vulnerable economically. For instance, in the case of California the people rejected reforms that would ensure that government officials were not receiving any more that they were not entitled to during their tenure in office (Lewis 55). The rejection of the reforms meant that they did not want any change in their state and they were comfortable with the manner in which the state was running things. However, the problem is this was selfish as it would have been for the common good (Lynn 34).
The same thing is happening in Greece where according to Lewis Greeks are narrow-minded and selfish as this is the Country with the highest rate of tax evasion. People do not pay their taxes, which is a culture in the country (55). The problem is that the default in paying taxes means that the country will not manage to repay its debts (Lewis 81). According to a government official who collects tax, he pointed out that it their job not to collect taxes, since when they do they may be fired from their jobs. This is major problem for the country because if the people are not paying taxes and they are lying there to getting more it means that the country will crumble down economically.
Another issue that Lewis highlighted in Boomerang is the issue of major loss of trust in public institutions. Most of the public institutions are governed and managed by politicians who are elected by the public. The major issue is that most of them do not remain on the political post for a while meaning that the implementation of their reforms becomes a problem as was the case in California during the period that Arnold was the Governor (Lewis 80). Besides the public institutions lacking integrity and transparency, people do not trust each other to ensure that they forge forward in terms of growing the state. For instance in Greece, an individual working at the tax department is prone to lose their job in the instance where they indicate that an individual is not remitting their taxes (Lewis 54). The problem with this is that in case people do not trust each other then the country will fail as a country and a government is made up of the people and the elected. Therefore, as is the case in the United States where people hate their leaders, it is not the fault of the leaders but that of the people who elected them into office.
Lastly, Lewis in his book indicated that the things that the people of particular country do go to the heart of the country’s character. For Greece, their selfish nature has become part of the country where even though the country has the highest number of teachers compared to Finland (Lynn 40). The education system in the public schools has been ranked last (Lewis 54). Additionally, the country health care system is failing meaning that the government has failed in terms of controlling the manner in which the country’s finances are being used. In the United States, people are not allowed about the incompetence’s of the government when it comes to spending.
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For instance, Wall Street analyst was questioned about the government ability to repay its debt. Her response was not taken kindly as she indicated that the problem of paying debts would be passed to the cities and local counties. However, even though her response was sincere some of the financial experts went ahead too discreet these findings (Lewis 79). This is an indication that the financial experts were trying to safeguard their interest not caring about the common good. Therefore, for governments it is not about the people, but about how they will keep the wealth happy.
In conclusion, the truth is that the Western country’s that used to lend other country’s monies are now deep in debt and they do not know how to get themselves out of such debts. As is the case in Greece where they have continued borrowing using the most unorthodox methods it does not matter to them how they will repay this debts and they do not care about the common citizen. The fact that a person can lose their job or go to jail from correcting tax means that the country has lost interest for what is good for them. California, as well as other States in the United States has been placed in a compromising situation where the politicians are hated by the people. The people do not value what the politicians say all they care is having a representative who is just there for show. The reforms to help the country are rejected for the interest of the rich meaning that the poor remain in the same position for the rest of their lives. Boomerang by Lewis is an eye opener into the character of the country’s that seem ahead economically where in the real sense they are deep in debt.
- Lewis, Michael. Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World. New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 2011. Internet resource.
- Lynn, Matthew. Bust: Greece, the Euro and the Sovereign Debt Crisis. Chichester: Wiley, 2010. Print.