Greece has a serious problem with paying its taxes. It’s a self-reinforcing problem because when people see the system as corrupt, they think their money will be wasted and they won’t face consequences, so they cheat more.
I liked this quote from James Surowiecki in the New Yorker:
According to a remarkable presentation that a member of Greece’s central bank gave last fall, the gap between what Greek taxpayers owed last year and what they paid was about a third of total tax revenue, roughly the size of the country’s budget deficit. The “shadow economy”—business that’s legal but off the books—is larger in Greece than in almost any other European country, accounting for an estimated 27.5 per cent of its G.D.P. (In the United States, by contrast, that number is closer to nine per cent.) And the culture of evasion has negative consequences beyond the current crisis.
It seems to me that Greece needs a serious infusion of social norms marketing (among several other things). I can see the billboards now: “People in our community think it’s good to pay your taxes.”
Okay, back to dissertating. So close.