In this series I posit some unconventional/ will-never-be-tried solutions to problems of our times.
THE PROBLEM: Greece is going bankrupt and needs money.
THE SOLUTION: Have a holiday!
Instead of giving/loaning Greece billions of euros, European governments should commit a certain percentage of their populations to take a holiday in Greece each year for the next X number of years.
eg. 10% of the Irish population will holiday in Greece over the next 3 years.
2% of Germans will holiday in Greece over the next 3 years.
3% of French people will holiday in Greece over the next 3 years.
This brings money to the people of Greece themselves, who then spend it and it filters up the chain to banks and governments.
EU countries can offer incentives to their own people to go to Greece, thus ensuring the numbers -eg. “Buy a holiday in Greece and we won’t charge you VAT on the purchase!” …this can also boost businesses in their home countries, by encouraging ‘local’ travel agent holiday purchases rather than internet sales so as to verify the deal.
Also, it lends confidence to the financial market as it is a verifiable income to the country of Greece for the next number of years.
Greek people get money and goodwill. Other Europeans get a holiday in a lovely part of the world.How bad? It sure as hell beats forking out a fortune and praying it comes back some day.
If the Greek infrastructure isn’t up to the influx of travellers well they’ll just have to build more infrastructure -and how bad will that be?
Of course this won’t be adopted because: It’s unconventional. It doesn’t directly involve single vested interest groups (eg. “The banks”, “The government”), but instead relies on individuals throughout the EU.
It seems obvious to me that the banks and the governments are the last ones to fix these problems (on their own at least), but who the hell listens to me?
I’ve just entered the Your Country Your Call competition. It seems like a genuine attempt to collect mold-breaking do-able ideas to help lift Ireland out of the doldrums it (not to mention everywhere else) finds itself. So I thought I’d give it a bash. Who knows, one of these days someone might listen to me.
I’m not sure what I should say about my idea at this stage, but the proposal is listed here. I’m quite positive about it’s chance of success actually, but I’ve resolved to put the whole thing out of my head for now until finalists are announced -in September or so I think.
Here’s the ‘blurb’ for my submission if you don’t want to click the link.
Ireland -A New Way (Sli Nua)
The title might appear to imply some sort of idealised political movement, but nothing could be further from the truth. This is a new way for the people of Ireland (and the world at large) to look at Ireland and see it as it has never been seen before.
It’s radical, yet very simple. It requires a little effort from people throughout the country, but will soon transform every area -for the better.
It’s economically practical. It creates jobs and skills throughout the country (not just in certain areas), increases tourism everywhere, vastly improves the physical and mental health of the people, makes the country a safer environment, is Environmentally-friendly, brings communities and its people closer together (in non-political, uplifting and positive ways), teaches skills to those who want them -and also brings a boost to local businesses the length and breadth of the country.
It also brings some comforts of city-living to people of the countryside and gives city dwellers a greater taste of country living.
This proposal benefits everyone in practical, realistic and non-cynical ways. No vested interest wins over other sectors.
1 billion = 1,000,000,000 = 1,000 million (in European terms)
1 billion seconds = 11,574.074 days = 31.79 years (start counting now)
1 billion inches = 15,782.83 miles (roughly the distance from Dublin to New York, then back to Dublin, then back to New York, then back to Dublin, then back to New York)
1 billion people = roughly the population of the USA x 3
1 billion acres = roughly seven-and-a-half times the size of France
D’ya know when you’re hiking across a mountain and you come to an isolated village where the people welcome you with open arms and have a party to celebrate your visit and as the golden sun sets across the valley you think to yourself you have at last found Shangri-la, then the moon comes out and everybody turns into werewolves and try to eat you? …That’s what staying at The Ross Hotel, Killarney, County Kerry is like.
In fairness, I would rate it among the best hotels I’ve stayed in terms of helpful staff, overall appearance & decor and top-class food, but if you’re not planning on staying in the bar until 2AM the chances are you won’t get much sleep.
The first night of our stay we couldn’t turn the volume on the TV up louder than the noise coming from outside (we were on the third floor, overlooking a courtyard that had at least three pub beer gardens -the window was closed, but the unblockable window vent kept all the noises flowing through.)
The next day we meekly enquired if there might be another room that was slightly quieter. The ever-helpful staff obliged -they moved us to a room two doors down. It was a slightly quieter to be fair. This time we did manage to turn the volume on the TV up louder than the outside noise.
Of course, we were being somewhat dry by being in our room before pub-closing hours, admittedly, but both nights we had gorged ourselves on top-class cuisine in the Hotel restaurant and weren’t fit for more alcohol after. Add to that the fact we were two parents deliriously happy to have escaped the clutches of our beautiful and demanding children for a whole weekend. We were already exhausted when we got there. The forced late nights didn’t help much. Everything else was perfect.
Would I stay at The Ross Hotel again? Gladly -but preferably at a time when the weather isn’t so good, when people are content to stay mostly inside the bar instead of outdoors all night long -or at a time when I am physically able to join them.
Speaking of Two Lovers the other day reminded me of an unrelated event from a few years ago…
I asked Mrs. Rumm what she would like for Christmas. She told me a plain white gold wedding band. The one she already had was the standard gold type. She wanted a white one to go with different outfits. Or something. Who am I to question such things?
I recall buying the wedding rings with her first time around. Both of us wanted nothing other than “a plain ring”. Nothing fancy. As a result, the two rings we bought were each in the region of £40 (Irish punts). Our taste in jewellery hasn’t changed.
Now it was maybe six or seven years later… 2004ish. We had a new currency (the Euro). We had gone through an economic boom. Prices were higher. So adjusting for currencies (bring it to, say 55 euros), inflation (80ish?), a bit of greed (90ish), some more greediness (100ish), gold price fluctuations (….?) ..and a bit more on top, I estimated the absolute maximum cost such an item could possibly be would be 130 – 150 euros.
“OK,” I said. “No problem.”
Next day I entered a Jewellery Store (this sentence seems odd to me, but if I said “entered a Jewellers” it’d have a whole different connotation to my dirty mind).
“Can I help you?” enquired a pleasant-looking, well-presented male assistant in a calm voice that sounded like melted chocolate flowing over a lush carpet.
“I’m looking for a plain white gold ring for my wife,” I informed him, “Nothing fancy.”
“OK,” he smiled softly and lead me to the counter. He pulled a tray of rings from underneath. The first thing I noticed was the lack of prices.
The second thing was all these rings had something fancy about them -diamond studs, ridges, fancy engravings, etc..
Instead of jumping immediately to the vulgar issue of price, I hummed and hawed and finally asked if he had anything plainer.
“I’m really just looking for plain white gold -no decorations or anything.”
He considered this quietly and carefully before selecting one of the more plain bands from the same tray. It had only a few small indents here and there.
“Yeah, it’s not too fancy, I suppose,” I had to concede. “How much is it?”
“That one is 600 Euros,” he said as though his voice was massaging my temples.
Shocked, I couldn’t help myself.
“Six hundred!!?” I gasped.
“I told you it was for my wife,” I said, “not my girlfriend!”
Without batting an eyelid, the assistant creased his brow and nodded as though this made complete sense to him.
“I think we may have something more plain in our other store,” he confided. “I can ring them and have it here by tomorrow.”
“A simple, plain white gold ring?” I enquired, slowly turning towards the door.
“Yes yes,” he nodded.
“And how much roughly would that cost?”
He waved in the air and shook his head as though conjuring a nominal amount between old friends.
“Pah -no more than three-fifty,” he informed me, his voice having lost some of the chocolate softness.
“Come back tomorrow I’ll have it for you,” he smiled.
In truth, I almost felt bad not going back there the following day. It seemed a breach of trust somehow that instead I went down the road and bought the first one I spotted for less than two hundred -and that was difficult to find too let me tell you!
I still don’t see how it could be possible for something like that to jump to more than four-times its price in a few years. Madness I tells ya!
– – – – – – – –
Full disclosure: I can’t say for certain if the “I said wife, not girlfriend” line is truly original. It’s possible I heard it somewhere before. It sounds like something Rodney Dangerfield might have said. Either way it was fun using it. …A little disconcerting that the guy didn’t even flinch, but fun nonetheless. 🙂
I urge you to heed what I’m saying. This is serious people. The world is on the brink and we all need to row together and prop each other up where we can.
That is why I am leading a campaign for an informal whip-around for one very special person. I’m sure you have a leaky tap you were looking to replace this year or were intending to buy a steak or some lamb chops this month or maybe you felt flathulach and thought you might splash out on a new pair of shoes (?)
But before you spend those coppers in your pocket, please please please spare a thought for the chairman of the Bank of Ireland, Mr. Brian Goggin, who I just heard on the radio. He expects to earn under 2 million euros this year.
Surely we can’t let this happen to a man who took home more than 2.9 million last year. I mean, that’s a 33% paycut!!
So, if any of you are rich on redundancy or were suddenly paid part of an invoice due to you two years ago, perhaps you could mosey on over to your nearest Bank of Ireland branch (if it hasn’t been closed during the streamlined Celtic Tiger years) and put a little something in an envelope for Mr. Goggin. You can trust Bank of Ireland to know what to do with it.
Give a little now. It will help a lot.
(They’ll be back for the rest later on.)