Diagnosis for the Greek disease

I discovered a good term for the Greek disease: it should be called the Hellenic sclerosis. A disorder of stiffening of a structure, usually caused by a replacement of the normal organ-specific tissue with connective tissue.

That's just like the Greek economy.


Passengers in the same boat

After an interesting outcome in April elections, Finland is forming a new government. The Dachshund Coalition will consist of the right, the left, and the wrong, in a true Sergio Leone spirit.

The program manifesto of this new cabinet will include the traditional alphabet-based approach to revenue generation: raise the taxes on Alcohol, Benzine (gas), and Candy, and then jump to the end of the alphabet for Oil. And do not forget T for Tobacco.

This is fine: the price increases for booze, tobacco, and sweets generally hits the poorest part of population that voluntarily wastes their money on these things. You can only marvel at the cosmic justice. Increasing prices for transportation is more problematic, because it is bad  economic growth, but it can be seen as a safe way to collect money because people don't have alternatives.

The interesting thing here is that taxing the vices can be supported by different people who have vastly different philosophies and goals, but end up supporting the same means, i.e. tax increases.

  • The Christian Democrats support tax increases on alcohol and tobacco because these vices are bad in God's eyes, and they think taxes will reduce the amount of sinning.
  • The Left League and Social Democrats support tax increases because they just like big government they think they will get. It's not real money, but they'll be happy with imaginary.
  • Bootleggers and smugglers just love these tax increases, because they know that illegitimate sales will be immensely more profitable, and their volume will increase.
So everyone is happy ever after.


If you need an ambulance

A very nice catch-22 in Sweden:

You have trouble breathing. You try to call an ambulance. The alarm centre decides that because you can still speak, you don't need an ambulance.

Call us only when you can no longer speak or breathe!

In some other countries, ambulance-chasing (sic) lawyers would have a dream target here. Not in the Nordics.


Expensive insurances

Talk about strange pricing: in England, insuring a £600 Corsa may be quoted at £72 000 per year.

That is weird. They blame ambulance chasers, a computer glitch and the fact that so many people are driving uninsured. You can see this is the country of Sherlock Holmes.

In my opinion, those who do buy insurance should not be forced to pay for the costs of those who do not. Driving without insurance is against the law, so if anyone has to pay, it's the person himself, and if he/she cannot, then it's the state. Not those who do carry their own liabilities.

...that he must die young, but with great glory...

In many places, the military traditions are based on the ethics of romantic ideas where it is the fate of young men to die in wars.

But now, in Japan, the nation with a rather upside-down age pyramid, this has been changed by elderly kamikaze soldiers: because old people's cells are not splitting as fast as those of the young, the risks of radiation are smaller. Besides, even if you get cancer at the age of 65 and die in 10 years, you anyway lose only 5-10 years of good life, while if you get cancer at the age of 30, you lose maybe 40 years.

Now, hats off to these guys. Not that I think it's really so kamikaze: we are talking about a slightly elevated cancer risk, not certain death, and not certain loss of health. I'd be more willing to work there than to eat fresh cucumbers in Germany. But anyway, who can now say that the baby boomers are just like locusts that leave nothing behind them?