European Economic and Monetary Union
and the Historically Wealthy Hellas:
Her Current Debt Crisis 
Dr. Ioannis N. Kallianiotis
The Arthur J. Kania School of Management
University of Scranton
Scranton, PA 18510-4602
III. THE LATEST DEBT CRISIS
(i) The Evolution of Events
. The planned global financial crisis of 2008 affected negatively Greece and the government tried to reduce this effect on the real sector of the economy by offering a package of 28 billion euros to the banks. This crisis brought to the surface the structural weaknesses of the Greek economy (a capitalistic economy based on governmental and European support). The governmental debt from 172 billion euros in 2002 reached 252 billion euros in 2008 (a +47% growth). The trade deficit from -27 billion euros in 2005, became -42 billion euros in 2007 (+55% growth). The budget was in deficit of 19 billion euros in the first half of the 2008. The country has, currently, negative growth, very high unemployment, and high inflation.
. On November 24, 2008, the Chinese President made an official visit in Greece. He signed an agreement to lease for 30 years the seaport of Piraeus (the harbor of Athens). Greece is selling everything (its public wealth) to foreigners and soon will be in major socio-economic crisis. Started in 2009, EU is cutting by 50% the subsidies to tobacco growers (farmers). This will have a tremendous negative effect on the Greek economy because tobacco is the main agricultural product in many poor regions of the country.
. The unemployment is a very serious problem for the country. A businessman from Thessaloniki said that the unemployment in his area was 20%. Privatization, outsourcing, the moving of firms in countries with lower cost of production, and the illegal migration are some causes of high unemployment in the country. There is a tremendous corruption in governments (in both parties, PASOK and N.D.) since 1974 and their scandals are continued, which have made people to mistrust politicians. Democracy is in crisis and its consequence was the current financial crisis and every other crisis (from summer fires to Vatopedi to riots, etc.). If the leaders, who are the prototypes for the citizens are corrupted, what can we expect from the masses of citizens controlled by left and anarchist political parties? Another plague for the country are the car accidents. The death tolls and the wounded are innumerable. A rioting continued for two weeks in Greece encouraged by communists (SYRIZA), anarchists, and other enemies of democracy and social stability in the country. On December 16, 2008, protesters broke into TV and radio studios of ERT (the public media) and forced broadcasters to put out antigovernment messages. Rioting also started in many other European nations. French police arrested 38 people in Lyon when a student protest against school revisions turned violent.
. The indisposed crops of grain, corn, and other agricultural products are making up mountains in Greece. Their prices are degrading and below cost because of uncontrolled imports from other low cost countries. The agricultural sector of the economy is eliminated from Greece and the country will be in trouble. The retail market has been negatively affected by the financial crisis and the high unemployment of the country. The public health system experiences tremendous shortcomings. The lack of nurses and other medical personnel and the shortage of materials cause serious problems. The government has no money to maintain this expensive and corrupted sector of social health system. Government promised loans to small businesses and poor individuals to help them during this global crisis.
. With the illegal immigrants and especially with the inflow of many criminals after the opening of prisons in Albania, Greece has daily robberies of homes, people, stores, cars and kidnapping of individuals. The illegal migration is the most serious problem that Greece faces the last 15 years and is becoming worse. Greece is losing its identity. These strange people do not respect the country, its laws, its culture, and its values. Their criminality is unique in the country’s history and Greek citizens are abandoning their homes and their stores, due to these problems. The market value of housing and of any property has fallen to a very low level because of the ghettos that have been created in some regions (i.e. Agios Padeleimon in Athens, etc.). Five policemen have been killed, the last three years by the “imported” criminals, who have overflowed the peaceful Greece.
. Unfortunately, education in Greece has deteriorated since 1974, when the communists took over the higher educational institutions and later, the high schools. Anarchists wearing hoods and covering their faces hit students and professors inside the amphitheater of the Chemistry Department (at a meeting of Pedagogical Institute) of the University of Athens. This is very common in Greek universities the last 30 years. Even though that the country is struck by everyone, it tries to continue with her “competitive advantage”, her education (paideia), civilization, and culture. Greece opened a Center of Hellenic Studies in Alexandria, Egypt.
. Tourism has declined drastically (more than 40% in the winter resorts), due to the global financial crisis and the high prices from the overvalued euro. Even Greeks are going abroad for their vacations, where the cost is lower. Also, S&P cut Greece’s credit rating as its economy deteriorates and the national debt is increasing. The Greek farmers are under disappearance, due to low prices of their products and lack of demand for them, the high cost of production, and their high debt. The agricultural problems in Greece are many and require immediate solutions. Globalization plans to reduce the agricultural sector and increase dependency of individuals and thus, it will be easier to control them. EU tries with its policies to satisfy this objective and with its policies and directives it plans to reduce the Greek agricultural population below 5% and unfortunately for Greece the two parties in power (PASOK and N.D.) agree to this destruction of our villages, towns, and the foundations of the Hellenic nation. Greek citizens must react to this planned catastrophe of the sovereign nation from the dark powers and their followers. Greece had national elections on October 4, 2009, and the PASOK party won and became government, which means new troubles for Greece from those anti-Greek and anti-Orthodox members of this party.
. Euro-zone finance ministers held Greece to her promise to radically turn around the fiscal deficits that threaten the country with a growing risk of losing her creditworthiness and disrupting the common currency. European Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Joaquin Almunia pushed for more central powers to audit the accounts of the Greek government. Greece is worse off since her undemocratic (without a referendum) entry to the EMU in 2001. The best for Greece will be to abandon the EMU and the euro and get back her sovereignty, her independence, her values, her self-sufficiency, and her three thousand years old currency, the drachma.
. Greece and the entire EMU have a serious problem with speculator John Paulson, who is betting against Greece’s government bonds, British banks, and against euro. The EU said it would accept Greece’s plan to reduce its budget deficit, but said more spending cuts and new taxes might be needed. Further, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. did “nothing inappropriate” when it arranged currency swaps for Greece that reduced the nation’s national debt by 2.37 billion euros ($3.2 billion), a top executive said. The bank was paid about $300 million from the swaps, the New York Times reported on February 14, 2010.
. France and Germany agreed on a framework to aid debt-stricken Greece, with Nicolas Sarkozy bowing to Angela Merkel’s demand for an International Monetary Fund role in any potential rescue. The contingency plan hammered out by the French president and German chancellor before a European Union summit called for IMF funds in addition to bilateral loans to Greece. It provided a coordinating role for the EU, according to their aides who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity because the agreement had yet to be approved. Then, leaders of the 16-nation euro region met on March 25, 2010 in Brussels to debate the contingency plan for a mix of IMF and bilateral loans, as the ECB’s president, Jean-Claude Trichet, said that Europe has to resolve the crisis on its own.
. The European Central Bank joined the international rescue of Greece, saying it would indefinitely accept the country’s debt as collateral regardless of its country’s credit rating, underpinning gains in the bond market. The decision came less than a day after Greece agreed to a 110 billion-euro ($145 billion) package of emergency loans from the International Monetary Fund and its euro-region allies (Troika). Under the plan backed by the ECB, Greece pledged 30 billion euros in budget cuts to bring a deficit of 13.6 percent of gross domestic product within the EU limit of 3 percent in 2014. The ECB is a key player in the rescue package designed to help Greece and it is clearly buying insurance against the likelihood of further multiple downgrades of the Greek debt, something that might lead to a halt of ECB financing to the Greek banks. The yield on Greece’s benchmark 2 year bond fell 183 basis points on May 3, 2010 to 11.74 percent, after reaching almost 23 percent on April 28 on rising concern about a possible Greek default.
. Greece’s Parliament began debating austerity measures demanded by the European Union and International Monetary Fund as a condition of a 110 billion-euro ($140 billion) bailout. Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou told the legislature, that wage and pension cuts that have prompted protests are necessary to secure the package and avoid default. “In less than two weeks, a 9 billion-euro bond comes due and the state coffers don’t have this money,” he said. “As we speak today the country can’t borrow it from foreign markets and the only way to avoid bankruptcy and a halt on payments is to get this money from our European partners and the IMF.” Greece agreed to the package on May 2, 2010, pledging 30 billion euros in budget cuts in the next three years to tame the euro-region’s second-biggest deficit. Prime Minister George Papandreou was forced to seek the aid after soaring borrowing costs left Greece cut off from markets. During a general strike against the measures on May 5, 2010, three employees were killed when a small group of protesters set fire to their bank.
. Greece received the first installment of a three-year emergency-loan package from euro-region allies, allowing the country to repay 8.5 billion euros ($10.6 billion) of bonds due on May 19, 2010 and avoid default. The International Monetary Fund, which is participating in the bailout, made its initial contribution of 5.5 billion euros. The loans covered Greece’s financing needs for May and June 2010. Euro-area ministers and the IMF agreed on May 2, 2010 to a 110 billion-euro aid package for the debt-stricken nation. Greece pledged to implement austerity measures of almost 14 percent of gross domestic product in exchange for the rescue funds that EU officials hoped would stem declines in the euro. The initial bailout failed to stem the slide in the euro and end the decline in bonds of other high-deficit nations such as Spain and Portugal. EU leaders on May 9, 2010 agreed to a financial lifeline of almost $1 trillion to try to stop the contagion.
. Without the option of currency devaluation, Greece needs to push gradually through efficiency in the public sector and tax reforms to improve her competitiveness. The country ranked 109th, in an “ease of doing business” survey of 183 countries, according to the World Bank. Without growth and expansionary public policies, Greece is doomed to bankruptcy. There are serious economic difficulties in the euro zone. There is even a risk of a double-dip recession. The 16-member euro area emerged from its five-quarter recession in the three months through September. A double-dip recession would mean the region’s economy contracting again for at least two consecutive quarters.
(ii) The Current Economy of Greece
. The economy of Greece is the 27th largest in the world by nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to data by the World Bank for the year 2009. Per capita, it is ranked 24th by nominal GDP. Greece is a developed country with the 22nd highest human development and quality of life indices in the world. The public sector accounts for about 40% of GDP. The service sector contributes 78.5% of total GDP, industry 17.6%, and agriculture 4%. Greece is the 31st most globalized country in the world with her “New Age” pseudo-leaders and is classified as a high-income economy.
. In 2004, Eurostat, after an audit performed by the New Democracy government, revealed that the budgetary statistics on the basis of which Greece joined the European Economic and Monetary Union (budget deficit was one of four key criteria for entry), had been massively under-reported by the previous Greek government (mostly by not recording a large share of military expenses – although it was claimed that the differences were due to accounting practices, i.e., recording expenses when material was received rather than when ordered). However, even according to the revised budget deficit numbers, calculated according to the methodology in force, at the time of Greece’s application for entry into the Eurozone, the criteria for entry had been met. Official Eurostat calculation according to the current methodology is still pending for the 1999 budget deficit (entry application reference year).
. Greece is a developed country, with a high standard of living and “very high” Human Development Index, ranking 22nd in the world in 2010, and 22nd on The Economist’s 2005 worldwide quality-of-life index. According to Eurostat data, GDP per inhabitant in purchasing power standards (PPS) stood at 95 per cent of the EU average in 2008. Greece’s main industries are tourism, shipping, industrial products, food and tobacco processing, textiles, chemicals, metal products, mining and petroleum. Greece’s GDP growth has also, as an average, since the early 1990s been higher than the EU average. However, the Greek economy also faces significant problems, including rising unemployment levels (13.9% in November 2010), inefficient bureaucracy, tax evasion, and corruption.
. In 2009, Greece had the EU’s second lowest Index of Economic Freedom (after Poland), ranking 81st in the world. The country suffers from high levels of political and economic corruption and low global competitiveness compared to its EU partners. Although remaining above the euro area average, economic growth turned negative in 2009 for the first time since 1993. An indication of the trend of over-borrowing in recent years; but saving was a virtue for the Greek-Orthodox tradition and must continue. By the end of 2009, the Greek economy faced the 2nd highest budget deficit after Ireland and the highest government debt to GDP ratios in the EU. The 2009 budget deficit stood at 15.4% of GDP. This and the rising debt levels (127% of GDP in 2009) led to rising borrowing costs, resulting in a severe economic crisis. Greece has been accused of trying to cover up the extent of its massive budget deficit in the wake of the global financial crisis. This resulted from the massive revision of the 2009 budget deficit forecast by the new Socialist government elected in October 2009, from “6-8%” (estimated by the previous government) to 12.7% (later revised to 15.4%). This revision (which, as claimed by members of the previous government, at least in part reflected the Socialists’ failure to control tax collection during their first months in office) has seriously undermined Greece’s credibility leading to higher borrowing costs for Greece.
. The Greek maritime fleet is the largest in the world, at approximately 18% of the world maritime fleet, and the shipping industry is a key element of Greek economic activity dating back to ancient times. Today, shipping is one of the country’s most important industries. It accounts for 4.5% of GDP, employs about 160,000 people (4% of the workforce, but lately, it employs low salary illegal immigrants). During the 1960s, the size of the Greek fleet nearly doubled, primarily through the investment undertaken by the shipping magnates Onassis and Niarchos. The basis of the modern Greek maritime industry was formed after WW II when Greek shipping businessmen were able to amass surplus ships sold to them by the United States Government through the Ship Sales Act of the 1940s. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), the Greek-owned maritime fleet is today the largest in the world, with 3,079 vessels accounting for 18% of the world’s fleet capacity (making it the largest of any other country) with a total deadweight tonnage (dwt) of 141,931 thousand. In terms of ship categories, Greece ranks first in both tankers and dry bulk carriers, fourth in the number of container ships, and fourth in other ships. However, today’s fleet roster is smaller than an all-time high of 5,000 ships in the late 1970s. But, another industry that is suffering, today, from the credit crunch, is the Shipping. Last year, the basic price of shipping a large container of goods from Asia to Europe was $2,800. In October 2008, with demand plunging, that price was an unprofitable $700. The container shippers during boom times ordered fleets of new vessels for as much as $50 million apiece that are getting delivered only now. Companies will try to cancel their orders, sell the ships, or even convert them to tankers or cruise vessels. EU countries with huge shipping industries will face high risk in this sector of their economies.
. Finally, Greece attracts more than 16 million tourists each year, thus, they are contributing 15% to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product. In 2008, the country welcomed over 16.5 million tourists. The number of jobs, directly or indirectly, related to the flourishing service sector of tourism was 659,719 and represented 16.5% of the country’s total employment for 2004. Lately, due to the overvalued euro and the global financial crisis and recession, tourism is declining, which affects negatively income and employment in the country.
IV. CONCLUDING REMARKS
The economic and social indicators reveal that Greece from a moral, ethical, and just society, after 1974 and her European integration is becoming less and less competitive and more and more contaminated from all these foreign influences; and EU is becoming less friendly with its members (especially the small ones) and the rest of the world. European Union (the forced integration of 27 nations, without referenda) is the worst “innovation” in human history. It is a mixture of twenty seven nations without domestic public policies, without self-determination, without sovereignty, with huge European subsidies, with enormous debts and deficits, and of course, without any future and with different present. All these strange evolutions coupled with the global financial crisis, have increase the global uncertainty and the European crisis, have caused unemployment and recessions in EU and in Greece, have reduced competitiveness, and have augment anxiety and health problems (mental and physical) to citizens. The free-market system has failed and needs more government regulation and better corporate governance. Then, what are the social benefits? Why we need these global changes and “evolutions”, which are against humanity? What are the social benefits of the European Union and the EMU? Today, Greece is controlled by the Troika (EU, ECB, and IMF), which shows that the country has lost her sovereignty.
. The introduction of the euro in 1999 is a mismatch between the EU’s advanced economic and monetary union and the poorer countries and at the same time, this is an incomplete political union. The Euro-zone has a single monetary policy, but 17 separate national fiscal policies. This unique arrangement is prone to problems and imbalances that threaten the viability of having a common currency for distinctive and completely different countries, like from Germany to Malta. The EU tries to create a European Monetary Fund (EMF), which will respond more smoothly to financial crises within individual member-states, operating like the IMF on a regional basis. Greece’s and the other Euro-zone’s nations crises have brought to light imbalances within the Euro-zone. Some Northern European and industrial countries, such as Germany, have relied on exports for economic growth and pursued policies that aim to promote such export-led growth (as wage moderation, keep cost of production low, increase competition, use of conservative fiscal policies, promote high levels of savings, and large current account surpluses). The Southern European and non-industrial countries, like Greece, have relied on agriculture, tourism, and shipping, but the global financial crisis and the euro have negatively affected all these sectors (their products became expensive, due to an overvalued euro; as more socially oriented nations, they have had higher levels of wage growth and more expansionary fiscal policies, leading to less competitive exports and lower levels of savings; have run large current account deficits; and another problem that they have is the high levels of corruption; for all these, they have to borrow to finance these deficits, the economic and the ethical one).
. Actually, the Greek economy had two major problems; overconsumption (under-production and waste of resources) and lack of savings (dis-saving and borrowing or spendthrift). These cause current account deficits and capital account surpluses, which affect the risk, the interest rates, the national debt, and the inflation. We must learn that we do not have only rights, but also obligations towards our nation; we cannot live beyond our means indefinitely. Actually, there is a vicious cycle in the economy. Without an investment in sustainable development, Greece will lose the competitiveness race. The global uncertainty, the illegal migration, and the other domestic problems, due to globalization and integration are going to change our economic system (many economic laws do not hold anymore) to “glob-onomics” or “shock-onomics”. The only prediction that we can do for the future, after the current financial crisis and the deep recession, is that this new economic system will be the last in our socio-economic history, except if we will decide to go back to a value oriented system. These corrupted people in financial markets and governments need some knowledge in value-oriented welfare economics and business ethics.
. Finally, Hellenes must be aware, after the current debt crisis and the civil unrest in North Africa and Middle East, that we are undergoing changes in our financial, economic, geopolitical, cultural, and risk contexts and we must be sensitive and act with attention to these changes. Of course, our hope is God and not the weak leaders, who have failed completely. Russia is not an enemy of the west, west is actually an enemy for Russia; and Asia might be proven to be the future “enemy” for the entire west, the EU and the US. We cannot be opportunists and we cannot be danger-speakers, but realists, altruists, humanists, truthful, and above all hopeful. “From the start, the construction of Europe was an extravagant political idea designed to imprison the nations of Europe into an ‘ever closer’ union of states.” The best will be to reassess the need to move forward with the union or to hold back. Holding back might preserve whatever remains of each nation’s sovereignty and indigenous culture. We do not need any type of integrations and of course we do not want to have a supra-nationality, as a minority of people believes, but it has louder voice, powerful control and global influence than the majority. In recent years, citizens of Greece, Europe, and of the U.S. have shown their disappointment in and apprehensions for whom to vote. They try to elect the least evil in their questionable, corruptive, and immoral “democracies”. The elected representatives are unable to act in favor of their countries’ interest. Their treacherous practices have become very dangerous for the security of the nation. In Greece there are two different Europeanized domestic parties that both have the same beliefs and objectives, to ignore their country; and they have created a class of citizens through favoritism and job offering to them that these voters support and fight for these parties. Territorial changes and political upheavals, as well as a public sense of lost identity and a public loss of faith in the government and all their leaders have become citizens’ every day problems. Euro-communism is doing relatively better in EU (and in Greece is terrorizing businesses and universities) than in Russia, now. All these have a profound negative effect on individual country-members and on the current interdependence between the EMU and its members. But, the current problem is to recover from the financial crisis and its recession, which seems as a very long process.
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 The government of the N.D. was saying «ρῆξις καὶ ἀνατροπὴ εἰς τὴν ἐπανίδρυσιν τοῦ κράτους», but continued the same as the previous party (PASOK). See, e-grammes.gr, November 22, 2008.
 TV News ALTER, November 24, 2008.
 See, Kallianiotis (2009a).
 TV News MEGA, November 18, 2008.
 TV News ALPHA, November 26, 2008.
 The ministry of interior tried to privatize the garbage collection, but due to disagreement with the workers in the local government, the management of garbage stayed, at the moment, with the local city governments. (TV News ALTER, November 30, 2008). Unfortunately, now, Greece has two new evils: “Kalikratis” and Troika.
 TV News ALTER, November 30, 2008.
 See, The Wall Street Journal, December 17, 2008, pp. A1 and A16. This situation today in Greece reminds the late 1940s, where the communists tried to take control of the country. The government has to impose the order and restrict these enemies of the Hellenic-Orthodox civilization.
 See, The Wall Street Journal, December 19, 2008, p. A1.
 TV News ALPHA, November 26, 2008.
 TV News ALTER, November 28, 2008.
 TV News ALPHA, November 26, 2008.
 TV News ALTER, November 28 and 29, 2008.
 TV News MEGA and ALTER, March 2, 2011.
 TV News ALTER, November 28, 2008.
 TV News ALTER, November 28, 2008. The country is doing well abroad with her cultural and educational centers, teaching the Greek language and Greek history and philosophy to foreign students and other interested people. Only inside the country, there is a war against the Greek language, Greek history, Orthodox faith, and anything that has made this country great, during her 7,000 years march in history.
 TV News ALTER, November 29, 2008.
 From January 2009, Greece is borrowing at a higher interest rate (due to the risk premium). TV News ALTER, January 14, 2009.
 See, TV News, January 2009 and Kostas Kardaras, “The Real Substance of the Agricultural Issue”, e-grammes.gr, January 28, 2009.
 TV News ALTER, MEGA, and ALPHA, October 4, 2009.
 See, The Wall Street Journal, January 20, 2010, pp. A1 and A12.
 TV News ALTER, January 20, 2010. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, we read: John Alfred Paulson (born December 14, 1955) is president of Paulson & Co., Inc., a New York-based hedge fund. Paulson received his bachelor’s degree in finance from New York University’s College of Business and Public Administration, 1978, where he graduated first in his class, and a Master of Business Administration from Harvard Business School, where he was designated a Baker Scholar, the school’s top academic honor, for graduating in the top 5 percent. Paulson began his career at Boston Consulting Group before leaving to join Odyssey Partners, working under Leon Levy. He later worked in the mergers and acquisitions group at Bear Stearns. Prior to founding his own firm, he was a partner at mergers arbitrage firm Gruss Partners LP. In 1994, he founded his own hedge fund with $2 million and two employees (himself and an assistant). In early 2008, his firm (Paulson & Co.) hired former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.
 See, The Wall Street Journal, February 2, 2010, pp. A1 and A15.
 “They did produce a rather small, but nevertheless not insignificant reduction, in Greece’s debt-to-GDP ratio,” Gerald Corrigan, chairman of Goldman Sachs’s regulated bank subsidiary, told a panel of U.K. lawmakers today. The swaps were “in conformity with existing rules and procedures.” Corrigan was the first executive at Goldman Sachs, Wall Street’s most profitable securities firm, to speak publicly about the swaps after politicians including Germany’s ruling Christian Democrats questioned whether it helped Greece reduce the deficit to comply with the euro’s membership criteria. “There was nothing inappropriate,” Corrigan told Parliament’s Treasury Committee. “With the benefit of hindsight, it seems to be very clear that the standards of transparency could have, and probably should have been, higher.” See, Bloomberg.com, February 22, 2010.
 Bloomber.com, May 6, 2010.
 The scandals with enormous commissions that politicians were made during the purchase of military materials are unique in the Greek political history. These people abused the immunity system of the Greek Constitution, but their behavior was criminal against the country and its citizens and they have to be persecuted. TV News ALTER, March 2, 2011.
 See, The Wall Street Journal, October 8, 2008, p. B1.
 The U.S.A. was the biggest economic power in the world and is declining daily. Greece was the biggest spiritual power on earth and is descending daily. We must grieve for the plight of these two nations and someone is responsible for this. The problem must be the bad and controlled leadership in these two “model” nations.
 For example, in Greece, 73.8% are against privatization, 80.9% are against Turkey’s entrance to EU, 83.6% are against Euro-constitution (Treaty of Lisbon), 71.6% want to go back to their previous national currencies, 71.5% of Greeks are in favor of vetoing Skopje’s (Vardarska’s) entrance to NATO and EU, Europeans are against the independence of Kosovo, and 86.1% of Greeks are against the marriage of homosexuals. (e-grammes.gr., different polls). Europeans are actually against this “anti-European creature”, the EU.
 The main reason for unemployment in Europe is the illegal and uncontrolled immigration. Europe is in trouble to lose its thousands years old identity.
 European leaders met in Brussels in February 2011 discussing the creation of the EMF and put an amount of €500 billion as its reserves. TV News ALTER and MEGA, February 15, 2011.
 See Kallianiotis (2007b).
 Serfaty (1996, p. 75) tells us a big truth without wanted to say it.