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Friday, June 6, 2014

Just A Regular Greek Billionnaire?

I came across this Reuters article about Dimitrios Koutsolioutsos, a Greek billionaire who has made his fortune in the last 25 years. Whenever I hear the expression 'Greek billionaire', my reflexes cunjure up images of cronies, corruption, tax cheating and all the rest of it. This billionaire seems different.

Mr. Koutsolioutsos is the founder/owner of Folli Follie, a designer/manufacturer of jewellery, watches and fashion accessories. I had never heard of it, so I asked my wife whether she knew of it. After her immediate 'of course', she showed me right away a Folli Follie watch which she had bought. I must say I liked it. I browsed the company's website and I must say I like their products.

It seems that Mr. Koutsolioutsos is just a regular billionnaire who has created his wealth through the regular life of an entrepreneur who has business ideas and turns them into reality with great success. And all that in Greece? In the midst of a depression?

I would very much like to know what people like Mr. Koutsolioutsos would do if they were in charge of running Greece. Above all, I am certain that there are many other Greeks, perhaps not all billionnaires, who have track records which suggest that could contribute a lot to their country.

Are they speaking up? If not, why not?

5 comments:

  1. If you are an intelligent person you are clever enough to not mess up with politicians. So, you stay in the shadow, do your business and prosper.

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    1. The best possible reply in just a few words !!! Exactly. No serious businessman would get into the 'pit'. Even Bobolas who seems to have decided a more direct approach, has employed his frontman....

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  2. then ....you sould check your reflexes :-)
    there are many greek businessmen who have nothing to do with cronies, corruption, tax cheating...etc...

    what happens here is an experiment, a case study...nothing less!
    i'm afraid we have to make our living before speak up...
    a new age tragedy friend...

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  3. Irrelevant, but do you have the courage to read 226 pages?

    http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2014/cr14151.pdf

    If you read it a bit, would you agree with the projections?

    MS

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    1. I stopped at page 4, since I found so many incorrect statements and dressing up of economic reality, that there seemed little point in reading another 222 pages of mispresentations and half-truths.

      This is a big disappointment, because many IMF reports are rather good with the technical details -- even if one does not concur with analysis and recommendations. This is not the case here: it is a political fix, with the technical data dressed up to prove that the Troika policies are working and that Greece is going in the right direction.

      To take one instance: unemployment. Ceteris paribus, the unemployment rate is a reasonable measure of economic conditions. However, Samaras destroyed ceteris paribus by encouraging people to take early retirement (knowing that they will not receive their pensions in less than one year or more), thereby reducing the labour force by about 200,000. Since the unemployment rate is merely the number of unemployed as a proportion of the labour force, this has led to a tiny reduction of the rate. More importantly, looking at both the level of employment and the employment rate, we see that Greece has never been in such a terrible situation with employment.

      I expect an IMF report to note that, as opposed to a bland comment that "unemployment has reduced slightly in recent months" -- which is not even correct, since it is the unemployment rate that has decreased and not the number of unemployed persons.

      I have every confidence that the entire report is as shoddy and politicised as that example. It it is a political and accounting exercise, which is concerned only with managing Greece's debt and short-term financial stability. This is not economics: it is political crisis management.

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