Thursday, 18 December 2008

The passing of the last multinational Cypriot businessman?

With the tragic death of the Cypriot yacht magnate in the Mumbai terrorists attacks, and the passing avail of Mr. Hadjioannou yesterday i am wondering if the drive of the people who survived the 30's has gone. Why were such men, so successful internationally? Why is the interest of new business domestic rather than international in scope? Have we seen the end of internationally recognised Cypriots?

Monday, 15 December 2008

Ο Τάσσος όπως τον γνώρισα ως δημοσιογράφος by Dionisis Dionisiou – The best Summary of the life of TP

 


 

Ο ξεροκέφαλος Αχαιός έφυγε


 



 


Ο Τάσσος Παπαδόπουλος, από την περασμένη Παρασκευή, ανήκει στην ιστορία. Με βάση τα έργα και τις ημέρες του και αφού ο χρόνος ξεπεράσει τις συμπάθειες και τις εμπάθειες του παρόντος θα επιχειρήσει να καταγράψει τις διαστάσεις της πορείας του, των έργων και της σκέψης του.


Προσωπικά τον γνώρισα λίγο μετά το 1988 όταν επέστρεψα από τις ΗΠΑ και άρχισα να δημοσιογραφώ σε διάφορα ΜΜΕ. Ήταν τότε πρόεδρος της περιθωριοποιημένης Ένωσης Κέντρου αλλά πάντοτε δεινός αρθρογράφος μέσω των στηλών της εφημερίδας "Κήρυκας" με το ψευδώνυμο "Δημόκριτος". Λίγο αργότερα επανήλθε στην κεντρική σκηνή της πολιτικής ζωής. Η εκλογή του Γιώργου Βασιλείου επέβαλε την επανένταξή του στο ΔΗΚΟ με το οποίο το 1991 εξελέγη βουλευτής Λευκωσίας παρά το ότι ο Σπύρος Κυπριανού τον έβαλε τελευταίο στη λίστα. Τον Σπύρο Κυπριανού δεν τον χώνευε από το 1976, προφανώς γιατί πίστευε ότι ξεγέλασε τον Μακάριο και του έδωσε το χρίσμα για την ίδρυση του ΔΗΚΟ. Θυμόταν επίσης λίγα χρόνια αργότερα την ταλαιπωρία που του προκάλεσε πολιτικά και κυρίως επαγγελματικά με τη υπόθεση του "Εγκεφάλου". Τον υπολόγιζε όμως μέχρι τέλους γιατί ήταν πονηρός σαν αλεπού, έλεγχε το κόμμα και μπορούσε ανά πάσα στιγμή να τον περιθωριοποιήσει. Κάποιοι μετά την επάνοδό του στο ΔΗΚΟ του ζητούσαν να θέσει υποψηφιότητα για την προεδρία του κόμματος απέναντι στον Σπύρο. Κατά βάθος το ήθελε αλλά ήταν αρκετά έξυπνος ώστε να γνωρίζει ότι δεν τον έπαιρνε. Τον ρώτησα μετά τη σχετική φημολογία τι θα έκανε και πήρα μια απάντηση που δεν θυμίζει τον Τάσσο που όλοι έχουν στο μυαλό τους σήμερα: "Εγώ να αμφισβητήσω τον Σπύρο; Εγώ θα είμαι κάτω από την εξέδρα που θα μιλά και θα τον χειροκροτώ ώσπου τα σιέρκα μου να γίνουν μπακλαβάς". Είχε κατανοήσει ότι Πρόεδρος του ΔΗΚΟ θα γινόταν μόνο με την έγκριση του Σπύρου και παρά το ότι αυτό τον εξόργιζε, είχε αποφασίσει να περιμένει. Ο χρόνος εξάλλου μετά την αποχώρηση του Αλέξη Γαλανού από το κόμμα δούλευε μόνον γι΄ αυτόν και το ήξερε". Όταν μετά το 1992 άρχισα να συνεργάζομαι με το ραδιόφωνο και την τηλεόραση του ΡΙΚ τον έβλεπα πολύ συχνά, ενώ αρκετές φορές μιλούσαμε αρκετή ώρα και στο τηλέφωνο. Συνέχεια παραπονιόταν ότι οι δημοσιογράφοι του "τρώνε το χρόνο", θυμίζοντάς μου με έναν συμπαθητικό κομπασμό στον τόνο της φωνής του πόσα χρεώνει την ώρα στους πελάτες του δικηγορικού του γραφείου. Όσες φορές πάντως του ζήτησα να παρέμβει στο ραδιόφωνο ως πρόεδρος τότε της επιτροπής εξωτερικών της Βουλής δεν μου αρνήθηκε ποτέ. Η μόνη προϋπόθεση βέβαια ήταν να είναι ο ίδιος ενημερωμένος. Ιδιαίτερα σε διεθνή θέματα ήταν περισσότερο απαιτητικός. Θυμάμαι το 1994 του είχα ζητήσει μια παρέμβαση για την Τσετσενία μετά την εισβολή της Ρωσίας. Με υποχρέωσε να του στείλω με φαξ όλες τις ανταποκρίσεις του πρακτορείου Ρόιτερς και του Ασσοσιέτεντ Πρες στο δικηγορικό του γραφείο, όπου κάθε βράδυ ξενυκτούσε, για να τις διαβάσει. Ήθελε πάντα οι παρεμβάσεις του να είναι τεκμηριωμένες,"γιατί εν μου αρέσκει να βγκαίννω τζιαι να λαλώ πελλάρες όπως κάμνουν οι περισσότεροι συνάδελφοι μου στην Βουλή". Γι΄ αυτές του τις ατάκες οι περισσότεροι συνάδελφοι του στη Βουλή τον μισούσαν. Τον εκτιμούσαν αφάνταστα μερικοί στους οποίους φρόντιζε να μεταδίδει τη συμπάθειά του γιατί τους θεωρούσε σοβαρούς. Οι αντιπαθούντες βέβαια του έβαζαν συνεχώς τρικλοποδιές. Την περίοδο που έκανα την πολιτική εκπομπή "Διάλογος" στο ΡΙΚ τον κάλεσα με τη σύμφωνη γνώμη του παραγωγού Πάμπου Ταραμίδη να εκπροσωπήσει το ΔΗΚΟ σε κάποιο θέμα. Η παρέμβαση από το ΔΗΚΟ υπήρξε ακαριαία. Επικοινώνησαν με τον τότε διευθυντή και του υπαγόρευσαν να κληθεί ο Αλέξης Γαλανός αντί του Τάσσου. Διαφώνησα με την μεθόδευση αυτή, αρνήθηκα να κάνω την εκπομπή και ενημέρωσα τον Τάσσο. Θαρρώ ότι από τότε έπαψε να με θεωρεί "δηλωσιογράφο", όπως θεωρούσε όλους αυτούς οι οποίοι του προσκολλήθηκαν μετά την ανάρρηση του στην προεδρία και τις τελευταίες μέρες του πλέκουν το εγκώμιο.

 
 

Ο δικηγόρος

Ήταν πολύ περήφανος για τη δουλειά του και την επιτυχία που είχε ως δικηγόρος. Έχω την εντύπωση ότι για το λόγο αυτό, ότι δηλαδή η δικηγορία του επέτρεψε να έχει μια αξιοπρεπή ζωή, δεν έπαψε ποτέ του να είναι και να συμπεριφέρεται ως δικηγόρος. Η επιτυχία του εξάλλου ήταν η πειστικότερη απάντηση και η ασπίδα του σε όλους εκείνους τους καλοθελητές που τον κακολογούσαν ότι παντρεύτηκε τη Φωτεινή για τα λεφτά της. Ακόμα κι όταν έγινε πρόεδρος, μάλλον εμβολίασε το προεδρικό αξίωμα με τον εργασιακό κώδικα του δικηγόρου, αφού το υπουργικό του συμβούλιο λειτουργούσε όπως το "Tassos Papadopoulos & Σία Ltd". Δεκάδες ώρες διάβασμα, πάρα πολλά σημειώματα και υποδείξεις στους υπουργούς σε σημείο που γινόταν δυσάρεστος ακόμα και σε φίλους του υπουργούς όπως ο Πεύκιος. Στη δικηγορία υπάρχουν κανόνες, νόμοι και μια δεοντολογία την οποία ο Τάσσος γνώριζε. Στην πολιτική ωστόσο οι κανόνες είναι πολύ διαφορετικοί. Ο Τάσσος έδειχνε να τους υποτιμά. Ακόμα κι όταν βρέθηκε στο ταμείο της προεκλογικής του εκστρατείας το 2003 ποσό 50.000 λιρών από μια πολυεθνική βρετανική εταιρεία την "Watford Petroleum" η απάντηση του ήταν δικηγορίστικη. "Δεν έκανα τίποτα παράνομο". Την ίδια απάντηση έδινε και όταν το δικηγορικό του γραφείο αναλάμβανε να εκπροσωπεί μεγάλες επιχειρήσεις που διαπραγματεύονταν με τον ίδιο και την Κυβέρνησή του.


Προς την προεδρία

Με την έκδοση του "Πολίτη" το 1999 οι σχέσεις μου με τον Τάσσο Παπαδόπουλο παρέμειναν πολύ καλές. Το 2000 ανέλαβε επιτέλους την προεδρία του ΔΗΚΟ και η αυτοπεποίθησή του βρισκόταν στα ύψη. Λίγο αργότερα ωστόσο εμφανίστηκαν τα πρώτα προβλήματα υγείας. Σε κάποιο ταξίδι στις Βρυξέλλες με ομάδα Κυπρίων βουλευτών λιποθύμησε. Ήταν το πρώτο μήνυμα του καρκίνου του προστάτη. Αρκετούς μήνες αργότερα κι όντας υποψήφιος για την προεδρία της Δημοκρατίας, μου περιέγραψε τις συνθήκες μιλώντας με συγκίνηση για τη στάση του Νίκου Αναστασιάδη. Ναι ο Τάσσος εκτιμούσε πολύ τον Νίκο Αναστασιάδη: " Ήμασταν έτοιμοι να φύγουμε από τις Βρυξέλλες αλλά λόγω της λιποθυμίας μου έπρεπε να πάω για εξετάσεις σε κλινική. Ο Νίκος μου είπε ότι θα μείνει μαζί μου και οι υπόλοιποι αναχώρησαν για την Κύπρο. Με εισήγαγαν στην κλινική και ο Αναστασιάδης έμεινε μαζί μου όλη τη νύκτα. Για μια στιγμή μάλιστα ήρθε από πάνω μου και με σκέπασε με την κουβέρτα... Φωνάζει, νευριάζει, διαφωνούμε, αλλά εν πολλά καλή η ψυχή του".

Κατά την προεκλογική περίοδο συναντηθήκαμε μερικές φορές, άλλοτε στην παρουσία και του κ. Σαρρή (πάντα κρατούσε ένα τσαντάκι και πλήρωνε το λογαριασμό) και άλλοτε του Γιώργου Ηλιάδη (δεν γνώρισα άνθρωπο που να αγαπά τον Τάσσο περισσότερο από τον Κόκο). Το μήνυμα που ήθελε να στείλει ήταν διπλό: Πρώτον ο τόπος χρειάζεται ανανέωση, "αφού τον Κληρίδη κάμνουν τον ό,τι θέλουν οι υπουργοί του", δεύτερον επιθυμούσε διακαώς να στείλει το μήνυμα ότι θα πρέπει να θεωρείται πλέον ως ένας μετριοπαθής πολιτικός στο Κυπριακό. Μέσα από τις συνομιλίες μας ήταν έντονη η ανησυχία του μήπως δεν εκλεγεί, αφού και οι δημοσκοπήσεις έως και την εξαγγελία της υποψηφιότητας Μαρκίδη δεν συνηγορούσαν σε κάτι τέτοιο. Εξάλλου το έκρινε επιβεβλημένο να εκλεγεί αφού θεωρούσε τον εαυτό του ως μέρος της ιστορικής ηγεσίας του τόπου. "Εδώ βγήκε ο Σπύρος" έλεγε χαμογελώντας σαρδόνια. Αλλά και τον Κληρίδη "εμείς τον βγάλαμε πρόεδρο του Ενιαίου. Κάποτε μας κάλεσε με τον Γιωρκάτζη ο Μακάριος και μας είπε να κάνουμε κόμμα. Καθίσαμε και γράψαμε το καταστατικό και ύστερα σκεφτήκαμε ποιον να βάλουμε πρόεδρο. Πήγαμε στο γραφείο του Κληρίδη που τότε δεν είχε πολλές δουλειές, του το προτείναμε κι αυτός δέκτηκε". Δημόσια τον Κληρίδη σπάνια τον επέκρινε, ιδιωτικά όμως είχε πολλά να πει. Το ίδιο ίσχυε και για τον Χριστόφια. Πώς θα τα βρεις με το ΑΚΕΛ στα θέματα της Ευρώπης τον ρώτησα κάποτε; "Αυτούς τους Ακελικούς θα τους εξευρωπαΐσω", ήταν η απάντησή του. Το 2008 εάν εκλεγόταν ξανά στην προεδρία όχι μόνον θα τους "εξευρωπάιζε" αλλά θα τους διέλυε και το κόμμα.

Ο "Πολίτης"

Μετά την εκλογή του στην προεδρία ο Τάσσος Παπαδόπουλος δέκτηκε σύσσωμη τη συντακτική ομάδα του "Πολίτη" στο Προεδρικό για συνέντευξη και φαγητό. Η ατμόσφαιρα ήταν πολύ καλή. Σε αυτό ίσως συνέτεινε και το ότι η εφημερίδα στις τελευταίες 15 μέρες της προεκλογικής περιόδου είχε με δημοσκοπήσεις της προβλέψει την εκλογή του από τον πρώτο γύρο. Η συνέντευξη βέβαια ήταν πολύ πιεστική. Αν κρίνω εκ των υστέρων δεν του άρεσε. Την χρησιμοποιούσε πολύ η αντιπολίτευση για να του ασκεί κριτική χαρακτηρίζοντας τον ανακόλουθο. Μας είχε δηλώσει τότε ότι δεν αποδεχόταν το σχέδιο Ανάν και ότι θα δημοσιοποιούσε αυτή τη θέση, αλλά περίπου τον είχε προλάβει ο Ντενκτάς απορρίπτοντάς το πρώτος στη Χάγη.
Παρόλα αυτά και μέσα από τις αντιφατικές αυτές θέσεις συνέχισε να μπλοφάρει στο Κυπριακό με αποκορύφωμα την επιστολή του στο γενικό γραμματέα το Δεκέμβριο του 2003 από τον οποίο ζητούσε να αναζωπυρώσει την πρωτοβουλία του στο Κυπριακό.
Μου τηλεφώνησε μια μέρα και με κάλεσε να πάω στο προεδρικό να φάμε λουβιά. Τον ρώτησα αν θα έχει τόνο και κρεμμύδια. Γέλασε και μου είπε. Θα έχει και κρεμμύδια και τόνους. Συζητούσαμε επί 5 περίπου ώρες καπνίζοντας αρειμανίως. Ανησυχούσε πραγματικά για το Κυπριακό. Επέμενα ότι η ομάδα του δεν εκτιμούσε σωστά τις εξελίξεις στην Τουρκία και ότι η Τουρκία θα προχωρούσε. Θεωρούσε ότι η Τουρκία μπλοφάρει και ότι ο Ντενκτάς ως συνήθως θα αποχωρούσε από τις συνομιλίες όπως έκανε πάντα. Έτσι θα μπαίναμε στην Ευρώπη και από θέση ισχύος θα μπορούσαμε να πετύχουμε καλή διευθέτηση. Βασικά αυτή ήταν και η γραμμή Κληρίδη αλλά ήταν αρκετά εγωιστής να το παραδεκτεί. Τις επόμενες βδομάδες στην πραγματικότητα έκανε ό,τι θα έκανε και ο Γλαύκος Κληρίδης. Πήγε στη Νέα Υόρκη όπου δέκτηκε επιδιαιτησία, δέχτηκε τα χρονοδιαγράμματα και τα δημοψηφίσματα. Αν στη συνέχεια οι τύχες της τ/κ πλευράς εξαρτιόνταν από τον Ραούφ Ντενκτάς ο Τάσσος θα δικαιώνονταν απόλυτα. Οι εξελίξεις όμως ήταν καταιγιστικές και τον κατέλαβαν εξ απροόπτου. Ο Ντενκτάς θυσιάστηκε από την Άγκυρα και απέναντί του στήθηκε ο Ταλάτ ο οποίος μαζί με το επιτελείο του τουρκικού ΥΠΕΞ και τη συνδρομή αρκετών ξένων διπλωματών μας έκανε τη ζωή δύσκολη. Τότε άρχισε να ψάχνει διεξόδους


Κυπριακό

Τα είχε με τον Σημίτη ο οποίος προκήρυξε εκλογές αλλά αρνιόταν να δεχθεί διακοπή των συνομιλιών έως ότου ολοκληρωθεί η εκλογική διαδικασία στην Ελλάδα. Αυτή την τακτική την ακολουθούσε κατά κόρον η Τουρκία σε περίοδο συνομιλιών. Οι σχέσεις του με τον Ντε Σότο είχαν φτάσει στο απροχώρητο. Ο λαλίστατος αυτός διαπραγματευτής σε κάποια στιγμή είχε αρχίσει να ανασκαλεύει το παρελθόν, να ασχολείται με τη σχέση Γιωρκάτζη -Τάσσου λέγοντας σε διάφορους κύκλους πράγματα που τον ενόχλησαν ιδιαίτερα. Το θέμα έφτασε έως και τον Κόφι Ανάν με επιστολές μηνύματα και παρεμβάσεις της Λευκωσίας. Ο Τάσσος προσπάθησε αρχικά στις διαπραγματεύσεις του αεροδρομίου το Φεβρουάριο του 2004 να περάσει τη γραμμή του. Κατέθετε εκατοντάδες σελίδες σημειώματα και υπομνήματα που ετοίμαζαν οι πρέσβεις Τζιωνής και Μαυρογιάννης αλλά ο Ντε Σότο θεωρούσε και εν μέρει είχε δίκαιο, ότι ο Τάσσος ήθελε να κερδίσει χρόνο ποντάροντας στην έλλειψη χρόνου με στόχο τη μετάθεση των διαπραγματεύσεων μετά την 1η Μαΐου. Ο Τάσσος σε κατάσταση άγχους αναζήτησε τη συμμαχία των Ντενκτάς. Ζήτησε τη συνδρομή τους ώστε οι δύο κοινότητες να απορρίψουν από κοινού το σχέδιο Ανάν. Εδώ διέπραξε μέγα διπλωματικό σφάλμα. Ο Σερντάρ Ντενκτάς και το κόμμα του έως εκείνη τη στιγμή τάσσονταν εναντίον του σχεδίου Ανάν. Αμέσως μετά τις συναντήσεις και αφού αποκαλύφθηκε πλήρως η τακτική του Τάσσου άλλαξαν τροπάρι. Το κόμμα τους τάχθηκε υπέρ της ψήφου κατά συνείδηση στο δημοψήφισμα. Από το σημείο εκείνο και μετά η πλευρά μας έχασε το παιχνίδι και τα ερείσματα της διεθνώς. Όλοι πήγαιναν για το δεύτερο καλύτερο σενάριο. Η Τουρκία θα έλεγε ΝΑΙ, εμείς ΟΧΙ και θα φορτωνόμασταν τις ευθύνες. Ο Τάσσος είχε επιλέξει να χάσει τη μάχη ηρωικά όπως ο Ονήσιλος στον κάμπο της Μεσαορίας το 499 π.Χ. κόντρα στα περσικά στρατεύματα με στρατηγό τον Αρτύβιο. Πήγαινε στη μάχη όπως ο Ονήσιλος με τα πεπαλαιωμένα μυκηναϊκά άρματα του 10ου π.Χ. αιώνα, σύμβολο της συντηρητικότητας και της ξεροκεφαλιάς των Αχαιών. Ο Ονήσιλος ήθελε να ελευθερώσει την Κύπρο αλλά όταν το επιχείρησε είχε προλάβει να διασπάσει το εσωτερικό μέτωπο. Το ίδιο έκανε και ο Τάσσος ο οποίος μάλιστα είχε καλύτερη τύχη από τον τότε βασιλιά της Σαλαμίνας. Επιβίωσε και διά της περιρρέουσας ατμόσφαιρας ενέτεινε το διχασμό με αποτέλεσμα οι πολλοί να τον αγαπήσουν και οι λίγοι να τον μισήσουν παράφορα. Επαναπαύτηκε βέβαια στο 76% νομίζοντας ότι ήλεγχε την κατάσταση απόλυτα.
Μετά τα δημοψηφίσματα δεν τον ξανασυνάντησα. Τον επέκρινα έντονα στα άρθρα μου και αυτό δεν μπορούσε να το δεχθεί. Ο Γιώργος Ηλιάδης, ο στενότερος του άνθρωπος, σε μια συνάντησή μας διατύπωσε την κριτική του: "Συναντήθηκες τόσες φορές μαζί του και δεν έχεις πεισθεί για το πόσο δίκαιο έχει"; Ο Τάσσος μετά το 2004 λόγω της κριτικής που δέκτηκε και των αδιεξόδων που βίωνε στο Κυπριακό είχε γίνει πολύ πιο σκληρός. Μάλλον είχε υιοθετήσει κι αυτός το δόγμα Μπους μετά τον πόλεμο στο ΙΡΑΚ : "'Η είστε μαζί μου ή είστε εναντίον μου". Εγώ ήμουν εναντίον του και πιστεύω ότι κατά βάθος το εκτιμούσε. Μισούσε τους γλείφτες και τους κόλακες και γνώριζε πολύ καλά τους καιροσκόπους που τον περιτριγύριζαν. "Αν όλοι αυτοί που έρχονται σήμερα στο προεδρικό και λένε ότι με ψήφισαν θα είχα βγει με 90%", μου είπε κάποτε. Αν μετανιώνω για κάτι είναι η στα όρια της δημοσιογραφικής δεοντολογίας κριτική που άρχισα να του ασκώ μετά το Φεβρουάριο του 2006. Ως καθηγητής είχα δεχθεί δύο πειθαρχικές έρευνες (γιατί αρθρογραφούσα στον "Πολίτη") κατά τη γνώμη μου χωρίς λόγο, ενώ παρά τις αντιρρήσεις του Πεύκιου Γεωργιάδη διακόπηκε χωρίς να ενημερωθώ η απόσπασή μου στο Υπουργείο Παιδείας και βρέθηκα να διδάσκω σε δύο σχολεία ταυτόχρονα λες και ήμουν πρωτοδιόριστος.

Ο Μακάριος και η Αναστασία

Ο Τάσσος λάτρευε την οικογένειά του. Λάτρευε τη γυναίκα του Φωτεινή την οποία πάντα αποκαλούσε "κυρία" λάτρευε τα παιδιά του. Στη συνάντησή μας στο Προεδρικό ανάλωσε μεγάλο μέρος να μου μιλά για το Μακάριο και στη συνέχεια για την κόρη του Αναστασία. Από το δεύτερο όροφο μου έδειξε τα δύο κυπαρίσσια δίπλα από το άγαλμα του Μακαρίου. "Τα φύτεψε ο Μακάριος και δες πόσο έχουν μεγαλώσει". Ήταν ίσως ο μόνος πολιτικός που πίστευε μέχρι τέλος στο Μακάριο. Πίστευε ακόμα ότι αυτός ήταν ο πραγματικός συνεχιστής της πολιτικής του. Όλοι οι άλλοι τον πούλησαν.
Όταν μιλούσε για την Αναστασία χαμογελούσε ολόκληρος. "Είναι η μόνη που μου κολλά. Είναι ένας δαίμονας". Κατά βάθος του άρεσαν οι κόντρες. Ίσως γι΄ αυτό συμπαθούσε και τους Τζιωνή και Λιλλήκα. Ήταν οι μόνοι στο προεδρικό που του κολλούσαν και τον τσάντιζαν. Αλλά τους εκτιμούσε γιατί είχαν άποψη.
Για την οικογένειά του πιστεύω ότι έκανε και αβαρίες τις οποίες ίσως δεν έπρεπε να κάνει. Ήταν λάθος του να δώσει το όνομα του δικηγορικού του γραφείου στα παιδιά του, αποκλείοντας τον Πάμπο Ιωαννίδη, εξαγριώνοντας έτσι έναν φίλο που ήξερε πολλά. Ηταν επίσης λάθος του να επιτρέψει την εμπλοκή του δικηγορικού του γραφείου στην υπόθεση του φυσικού αερίου διά του γιου του Νικόλα. Αυτή η υπόθεση οδήγησε σε περαιτέρω απαξίωσή του, κλονίζοντας την εντύπωση του αδιάφθορου που είχε έως τότε. Στα θετικά του βέβαια η μάχη που έδωσε κατά των φαρμακεμπόρων μειώνοντας δραστικά τις τιμές. Το πιο θετικό του η ένταξη της Κύπρου στην ΟΝΕ. Αν πειθόταν από το Χριστόφια για αναβολή ενός χρόνου ίσως να παθαίναμε ότι σήμερα και η Λιθουανία. Μετά από 15 χρόνια. Η απόφαση του εκείνη σήμερα μας στηρίζει στα δύσκολα της οικονομικής κρίσης. Εν κατακλείδι ο Τάσσος δεν υπήρξε ο τέλειος άνθρωπος που παρουσιάζουν σήμερα η κατά τη γνωστή ρήση του "δηλωσιογράφοι". Υπήρξε ένας ισχυρός πολιτικός με άποψη και τσαμπουκά ο οποίος αναγκάστηκε να πορευτεί και να πάρει δύσκολες αποφάσεις κυρίως κατά τη διάρκεια της προεδρίας του. Είχε φοβερές ευαισθησίες, μεγάλες εμπάθειες (δεν χώνευε τους δημοσιογράφους, τους διπλωμάτες του ΥΠΕΞ τους υπαλλήλους του ΓΤΠ και τους γλείφτες) και ένα τεράστιο κυπριακό γινάτι. Το διαχρονικό γινάτι των Ελλήνων σε αυτόν τον τόπο που τους επέτρεψε να επιβιώσουν για 2000 χρόνια σε αυτή τη γη. Στο καλό να πας Τάσσο.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Shoddy coverage by the media of Tassos Papadopoulos' Death

So i just finished seeing the coverage over Tasso's death. It is quite frankly ridiculous. They idea of a eulogy is to portray the man as the dynamic power of Cypriot politics- "warts and all" and with all his faults. I was not expecting RIK to mention his unhealthy close relationship with Georgkajis but everybody else also lied through their teeth. You serve a man with remembering his legacy not by covering his errors.
Only Anastasiades had the guts to tell it as it is - he mentioned the loss of an opposite point of view at a time of intense political negotiation, and praised his strong points. He did mention some of the things that made them political rivals and never pretended to be friends with Tassos.
There were also some legacies of TP that no one seemed to mention:
1) TP introduced the welfare system in Cyprus, including the Swedish model of tripartite national negotiation of wages. That is a great legacy to the smooth running of Cypriot manufacturing and tourism.
2) SEK is Tassos' child- using money donated by the Kennedy administration, Tassos built up SEK to counter the "communist influence" within the labour movement. Although this did introduce nepotism in government and hurt PEO, the establishment of SEK resulted to the trade union movement becoming mainstream and part of the pillars that underpinned the society of the new democracy.
3) Tassos was the president when we joined the EU and when we joined the Euro - but his fights for the Euro are not mentioned.
4) For better or worse he was instrumental in saying No to the annan plan - the only plan were Cypriots were asked for their fate. His active encouragement of no meant that he became a divisive personality that gave Cypriots intestine Love/Hate emotions. During his presidency the national consensus on the Cyprus problem shattered irrevocably.

Instead of all this the journalists, who were a bit too lazy , write high school style essays were the truth was buried in elephant droppings.
These are some of the lies i happen to remember now:
1) Tassos has an great friendly disposition with people and a generosity of spirit. NOW COME ON - He had a tremendous intellect but Tassos was not a friendly and communicative person. Many believe that his conflict with journalists during his premiership cost him the re-election. The wealth, Straka and his replies created a barrier between him and the average Cypriot.
2) TP was a leader of the young who respected and him and followed his lead in politics. In the last elections, Tassos came third because of the abnormally low % of young people voting for him. Tassos was an "old guard " politician, and had no connection to the new Cyprus. If he could attract as many young as the younger politicians he was facing then he would have been president until his death.

I don't expect all of you to agree - but you must admit this fair portrayal of TP does him more credit that the glossed over bullshit of the press.
Alex

Friday, 12 December 2008

Tassos Papadopoulos 1934 -2008

The death of any man is a sad event. I was never a fan of his policies on the Cyrpus question, although he did have a knack of picking great economic advisors. What worries me is that both him and other politicians of his generation do not quit when their health and ability falters. It is fortunate that the cyprus population has consistently outvoted candidates that their health is failing. Lets hope that the new generation of politicians will know to quit when they still in good health and good spirits.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Old treasures - Sources on Cyprus form early modern sources.

I am constantly suprised how items form cyprus were considered a luxury items were treasured in England. In pre-Elizabethan wines, the sweet commandaria wine had a special import duty aas it was considered of a higher quality - if one is interested the customs accounts have been calendared by Stuart Jenks - one can find the quantity imported into Britain.
Below is a will made in London. Note how much the sates from cyprus is treasured.

140. [bdle. I. 45] Margett Taylor. 13 . . . 1540. (fn. 15)

Jehus. I Margett Taylor, wyddow (fn. 16) . . . curatt then beying 12d., to Jhon Jonson, my hussbandes best gowne, George Yeman my hussbandes second best gowne, to Alys Y. . . satten of Cypress, to Jane Bele, a mattress, a bolster, a koverlett, . . . shettes, a payer off blanckettes, or els 20s. The resydew off my guddes I geve them to Ages Taylor, my hussbandes doughter, whom I ordeyne for my exequtryx: so that she be orderyd yn alle thynges by the gudd councell off Thomas Castell, and Jhon Austen. That ys affter my dyssease, my funeralles dyschargyd, then my guddes to be . . . and my dettes to be payyd by the sayd Thomas Castell and Jhon Augusten. And that the sayde Thomas and Jhon to pay my servantes wages; and see every man and woman [who] toke paynys wyth my hussbond and me yn tymys off ower syckness to be honestly rewardyd as there dyscretyon wyll serve, there owne paynys also substancya[lly] consydered. That Thomas Castell shold do whatt he wyllyd to doe yn all thynges for hyr hussbond and hyrs behalf as he thougt best wyth the assystens off Jhon Austen. And yff the above named Ages wolde refuse the honest order off these two honest men, I wyll that she shall have a portyon as ther dyscretyon wyll serve, and the resydew to be devydyd amongst my fryndes. Wyttnesses Wyllyam Balfford, curatt, Peter Peterson and Thomas Curson, Thomas Rutter, Roberd Nycollson.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Endelexeia

The acid smell of athens, coffee and strong ciggarettes. Grey skies and uncertain futures. The pressure of these month has led me back to when i was 19, unsure of myself, hesitant and resistant. Endelexia encapsulate that. I miss my family and friends, but more i miss my sence of purpose: bewildered i stagger on.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Liberty

Yesterday i had the great luck to see a play preformed by the Shakespeare's globe troupe called Liberty . It was an inspiring show set in revolutionary Paris, and dealt wonderfully with issues of idealism, fear, duty, and human relationships. For me the most bone chilling aspect was to see a man, who while working for great freedoms, becomes a murderer of hundreds. It is on tour and them back in London on the 15th on November - don't miss it!

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

“Like a thief in the night” Are we underestimating the Service sector output?

A great new publication by Dr. Gerben Baker “Entertainment Industrialised: The Emergence of the International Film Industry, 1890 -1940”
Dr. Gerben argues that we are underestimating the GDP by simply not measuring services correctly thus we see their impact but we can’t spot it in productivity estimates. He argues convincingly that if Service activities such as film and television were measured based on the leisure time they provide then we would be bale to better capture the tremendous growth in services and their impact in our life.
This should be noted by the statistical offices on Cyprus and Malta since so much of their economies is based on service provision – and estimating their output is sometime just not good enough to encapsulate their economic impact and social impact. New service industries (such as software development, social networking sites and online betting) need new ways to estimate their output and their productivity impact in the economy – and the statistical offices can be pioneers in such developments.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Economics do not always matter in Football: Anorthosis


Once Again Anorthosis Rocked the football world. A Cypriot team which has a capitalised value equal to Ronaldo's left leg has now beaten the Champions and/or Runners up of Greece, Austria and Germany. After 2 games out of 6 in the Champions League, Anorthosis is sitting joint first with Inter Milan. It shows what good choices and orginisation can do: the Bosman rulling has made smaller teams competitive, and allowed older players to have a second chance in smaller teams. It is still difficult to see the team keep this form, but it shows that in the short run, values and investment are not always meaningfull.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Racism in England

Racism in England

Those that know me know that I have been living in London for the part four years. I n my trips to Cyprus and Malta, I would repeatedly harangue my friends, peers and passersby on how wonderfully inclusive England was. I would say that in England, it did not matter if they like you or not; the English would give you the job if you were the right person for it, and that’s more inclusive that many countries I have been. I would roll my eyes and be very frustrated when Maltese friends would talk about africans or when Cypriots would rant against Pakistanis. I kept pointing out that there was a place were bigotry was at lest partially replaced with acceptance, and that was England.

We I have to say that I was wrong – its it London and not England that is different. Outside the London area bigotry is still there, and its rearing its ugly head for all to see. Ever since moving to the Coventry area my whole opinion of the English has changed. In every single action were I need to talk to a English person in a bureaucratic post, I leave feeling insulted. From the security guard that believes you are stupid for not knowing which key opens what (even though you just moved in) to the average man on the street who is angered that you ask for directions: the Englishmen I meet here are all emanating with hostility.

It is difficult to put you finger on how exactly they are racist towards you. They rarely step the line were this would become obvious. Rather their opinion of you is clear – it is in the way people talk to you; down to the way they will not go out of the way to help you, while the do for the person waiting behind you. It is with their rudeness in the checkout counters, with the frustration they show when you speak to them about any matter. I might not be able to put my finger to it, but I know what it is: it is the general discomfort of people who really do not want you there.

Recently there was an incident to a person that I am close to that has confirmed that most people here harbour very xenophobic views, combined with misplaced patriotic pride. It involved children, the litmus test of average public opinion you as a foreigner. These children felt superior to an adult because they were born English, while the adult was not: apparently these felt confident to bully anyone who was not like them. This is because they felt better than all non- English people – were they not the brightest of the lot because they were English, in their country, speaking their language? How could a foreigner teach them something – why would they bother making non-English friends?
Unfortunately for the people they were tormenting these children (and their parents) defined their nationality negatively; their “Englishness” is defined as who they are different to rather than to what they had in common with each other.

I lived for three years in Durham as an undergraduate and I never felt this open aggression. Maybe aggression in a wrong world – I could say its open defiance. I know defiance is an odd word to use since defiance implies an act against something. But people here are in defiance against laws that tells them it is illegal to racist – against rules that tell them it is not allowed to harbour negative thoughts against someone of a different colour or country than themselves. So with every action they strike against that- they make sure you know that although there is such a law it does not stop them thinking that you are inferior, and pointing that out to you. Maybe Durham was different, may I was lucky up there. The truth is I am now very disappointed, and somewhat scared because I do not know how to fight back: how can you change the mind of a whole city, of a nation that insists, despite laws regulations, you are not welcome. How do you change that?

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

S-300 Tally: Greece 1, Turkey 3, Cyprus 0.

Article in "jane's Defence Weekly" (a respected military journal):
Turrkey plans to puchase S-300 for tests
Turkey is to buy three S-300 surface to air missle sustem variants for test purposes form Belarus and Ukraine. The systems are being puchased for testing mainly against F-16s at the Konya Training range, 250 km from Ankara... will be used in conjuction with Havelsan's Electronic Warfare Training Field.
...
A defence industry source said the missle Systems are inteded to "simulate threats that may come from countries having ex-soviet systems in their invetories" ... the systems would be used to help Turkey develop countermeasures to them.
By Lalae Sariibrahimoglou

Either the Turkish army things we brought them in Cyprus secretly or they want to attack rodes/ krete (were the S-300 are based) too. We are now officialy the only country not to have them after that debacle.... I cant beleive the excitment back then - we actually thought they would tip the strategic balance ...

Sunday, 31 August 2008

Gori - Famagusta article published

Not much has been happening these days; i have been far to busy with work to have a look at issues that would be interesting for the blog. My article over the comparison of Gori and Famagusta was published on the 15th of August at the Cyprus Mail.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Fate averted: Gori 2008, Famagusta 1974



















For those who despair over the inactivity of the international community there is a slight slimmer of hope from the whole mess in Georgia. Yesterday I was sure Gori would suffer the fate of Ammochostos (Famagusta) in 1974. The times reported today (12/08/08) the situation of panic caused by the defeat of Georgian army and sustained bombing of civilian areas:

"The retreat from Gori, ... was as humiliating as it was sudden and dramatic. The Times witnessed scores of tanks and armoured personnel carriers, laden with soldiers, speeding through the town away from what Georgian officials claimed was an imminent Russian invasion.



Residents watched in horror as their army abandoned its positions after a day of increasingly aggressive exchanges of fire along the border with South Ossetia ... Jeeps and pick-up trucks filled with Georgian soldiers raced through the streets, their occupants frantically signaling to civilians that they too should flee. The road out of Gori towards Tbilisi was a scene of chaos and fear as cars jockeyed with tanks for a speedy escape.

Soldiers left by any means available. Dozens of troops clung to cars on the back of a transporter lorry, while five other soldiers fled on one quad bike.

A tank had exploded on the mountain road leaving Gori, although it was unclear what had caused the blast. … Columns of Georgian tanks and heavy weaponry filled the road during the 50-mile journey back to Tbilisi as thousands of soldiers, many looking totally demoralised, headed for the capital. "

In the 14th of August 1974 a broken and underpowered national guard retreated across the plain of Mesaoria. The city of Famagusta was under heavy bombardment: the tall buildings were taking a substantial amount of hits and the civilian population was terrified. As the broken units and refugees fled back into the city, with stories of brutality and overwhelming force, panic spread throughout the city army units and civilians. As the times correspondent in 14 August commented:

"Turkish Tanks and infantry pushed towards the resort town of
Famagusta today behind ceaseless air attack and artillery bombardment on three fronts... heavy air and artillery strikes against Greek position along the Famagusta road. By midday the defenders ha began to fall back on to the capital"







"20000 refugees flee Famagusta: The road into Famagusta was crowded early today with Greek Cypriot Families fleeing from the resort. Fear has swept throughout the community... [people telling the reporter] "The Turks are coming... turn Back don’t go any further".

As in Gori so in Famagusta the air bombardment struck fear in the population:

War came early to Famagusta. Turkish Jet Fighters Bombarded and strafed the near deserted town. … Throughout the morning … fighter bombers made bombing and strafing runs blocking the town and setting buildings on fire. Big plumes of black smoke rose over a wide area in the Greek-Cypriot part of town [for] a second time in a month."

“On the approach roads to the town the last of the refugees poured out in cars packed with women and children… a jeep with two wounded national guardsmen raced through the town. The guards said they had been expecting reinforcement, They had no idea were the Turks were in their drive eastwards."

Unlike Gori Famagusta has remained under occupation; its affluent Varoshia suburb remains useless and in ruins. It's citizens are still refugees over 34 years after the events described above. It is fortunate that at least a combination of factors stopped the same fate happening to Gori. Just two days prior to the aniversary of the fall of Famagusta it is hopeful to know that the citizens of Gori were spared from the same fate. My thoughts are to suffering populations of both Gori and Famagusta.



Friday, 8 August 2008

Working Paper Published: Bank of Greece, no.80

I have been published as a working paper by the bank of Greece. This is a paper i have much enjoyed creating, as it has been presented in LSE and in Greece and i have gained much insight to Maltese and Cypriot issues by looking at other countries around the eastern Mediterranean. It is so easy when you live in Cyprus and Malta to believe that:

a) we are unique and therefore we have unique problems

b) that out small size can not provide examples or insights for greater European history.

This paper goes some way to disprove both notions.

Best,

Alexander

Turkish Cypriot Banking History

I have finished estimating the value added of banking in Cyprus for the interwar period and I can now help with the origins of the Turkish Cypriot banks which is a bit confusing; most of what is said is based heavily on Kate Phylaktis “The Banking System of Cyprus” (MacMillan: London, 1995) and the Cyprus Blue Books. This is part of a project on T/C banking by two academics that i admire: i hope they give me premision to place extract of their work here when it is completed.

The Imperial Ottoman Bank was established in 1864; its real reason for opening a branch in Larnaca is controversial (Phylaktis argues it is due to cotton and Autherman due to the request by the Porte to have a branch in order to collect the Cypriot taxes). The Imperial Ottoman Bank latter changed its name to the Ottoman Bank in the interwar period, and remained the strongest bank in Cyprus prior to the Second World War. Over time the Ottoman bank became closely related to Turkish interests, but never lost its multinational Anglo-French character.

The Moslem Savings bank was established in 1901 just two years after the Nicosia Savings Bank and partly to the passing of a law confirming the existence of savings banks and their remit. In 1912 the Colonial government was concerned that the Nicosia Saving Bank was taking banking business that fell outside its remit as a savings bank, and pressured the Nicosia Savings bank to become a société anonyme known as the Bank of Cyprus, on the basis of the Ottoman Commercial Law. Unlike the bank of Cyprus the Moslem Saving bank did not undergo a change to a société anonyme during the interwar period; this probably indicates that the bank remained faithful to the lending requirements of the Savings Bank Law, which seems to have stipulated that all lending should be given its shareholders. Another explanation is that the Moslem savings bank was small (operated revenues and expanses of around £4,000 during the whole interwar period) and the government was thus not concerned as much on its legal footing.

The only other Turkish Cypriot saving bank to have registered with the government seems to have been a money lender: the “bank” was called Sinta Teavun Sandigi, and was registered as a savings bank in 1929. Its capital must have been very small as revenues and expenditures were around £38 pounds for the whole of the interwar period.

The only bank that was established as a société anonyme was Emniet Bank in the 1930. This bank remained small during the interwar period, having only approximately £2500 in deposits.

More research is needed to understand the interaction of the Turkish Cypriot banking institutions with he emerging Greek Cypriot institutions as well as their relations with the big Multinational banks already established on the island, such as the Ottoman Bank, Bank of Athens, the Ionian Bank and Barclays D.C.O.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Being Right Vs Time: Time always wins out in the end.

I will be honest with you – I partied the hardest when Tassos Papadopoulos lost at the first round of election. The reason I celebrated had nothing to do with his domestic policies, nor of his handling of other affairs – it had to do with his wrong views of the Cyprus issue. The real reason is that the former president was wrong was in believing that being right counted more that the passing of time.

Whether you were pro- or anti- Annan one thing is clear: there is a difference between what a desired outcome is and what is the achievable outcome, and that the achievable outcome changes over time. Mr Papadopoulos believed that being right (having the UN security council resolution condemning the invasion of Turkish troups and demanding their withdrawal) meant that a waiting game was in our benefit: pretty soon a Turkey that is eager to join the EU would be forced by the international community, who accepted our claims of unlawful occupation, to accept a deal that would be better for the Greek Cypriot side, if only the Greek Cypriots could hold on for a couple of more years (or decades).

Leaving aside the whole issue of looking at the negations as a zero-sum (where one only gains at the expense of another) rather than a collaborative project, I would like to point out the fallacy of the strategy: The problem with this strategy is time: tragedies and injustices can only be excepted to remain topical for so long: a waiting game is not only bad due to issues of settler migration into Cyprus, but are especially bad if the bargaining position of one country rests on the collective memory of past injustices by the international community; such well being will rarely last beyond the generation that lived through the events first hand.

Who cries for the millions of Germans forced out of their homes in the end of the Second World War? Do people thing of Alsace-Loraine, conquered by Luis the XIV in the 17th century as German or French? How about Nice and Corsica: Nice was ceded to the French in 1860 (without asking the population) by the new King of Italy as a reward for the French feat of arms that liberated Lombardy for the piedmont King, and Corsica was purchased by the French from the Genoese in 1768 who were not in control of the revolutionary government of Corsica. Although the residents of these countries might still feel the injustices done to them, we do not equate these issues as areas of injustice that the international community supports. The reason why answer is simple: enough time has passed for the status quo to become more acceptable that the correction of the injustices as suggested by the aggrieved parties.

Mr. Papadopoulos policies had the same flaw in his reasoning: the waiting game led naturally to the acceptance of the status quo (with guns, mines and division still reigning) as more appealing to disturbing thirty years of goodwill. People naturally began to speculate if it was reasonable to affect the lives of people 30+ years after the event, and wondered if legitimising the status quo would be a simpler way for World to deal with Cyprus’ problems. This is of course a disaster for both communities and all interested parties: the guns stay on and are still paid for by Turkey (and Greece, Cyprus and the UN to a lesser extent), an island suffers the costs of division, and refugees from both sides have their pride of being right but not much else.

If I can be so bold the same arguments makes ideological stances during negations futile, as being right rarely resolves such issues, and works less well as time progresses. A bolder example is the case of the Palestinian occupation: while extreme right wing elements of Israeli society feel that all of the land currently occupied is owned to them both by holy writ and as a small way in correcting the horrible massacre of the Holocaust, their argument will wither over the passage of time. There is no question that the Holocaust should not be forgotten and that Europe owes Jews around the world for their past ignoble behaviour. Although the Holocaust was a unique and terrible moment of world history, it will become less potent in it ability to excuse the occupation of Palestine 200 years from now if there is still an occupation there. Even shattering events of world history will wither in front of the continuing and sustained suffering and conflict a possible occupation would still be creating 200 years from now.

Sadly the lack of foundation on hardline politics is not a cause to cheer; their downfall over time does not lead to a solution though negotiation: it leads to an embedment of the current status quo of conflict. It takes great leaders with horrors of the past as memories and visions of a better future as guides, to reach workable negotiated settlements that finally resolve conflicts.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Worrying Development for the Tourist Industry in Cyprus – Well done Malta.

Malta undertook a deliberate diversification away from British tourists, and as a result, tourism from Britain only constitutes 20% of the Tourist arrivals. Cyprus has tried but has not been as successful in diversifying – British tourists still dominate the lion’s share of the tourists arrivals. Now German daily “Bild” cautions Germans to stay away from Agia Napa as it is full of British holidaymakers on budget “Sun – Sea – Drunkenness” tourism that is very unattractive to high value German tourists. Well done Malta, a lesson there for Cyprus and probably for areas of Spain.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Immigration works in the Long Term: Malta and Cyprus

Last year in May Malta celebrated its first Maltese saint: that very same week Malta (and Libya) refused to save African immigrants who were clinging for dear life on fishing nets in high seas. The immigrants were saved by a Spanish Ship, which was refused entry by the Maltese authorities.

Immigration is a very sensitive issue for Malta: despite the relatively small number of emigrants that have come to Malta their presence has been acutely felt by the indigenous population of the Maltese islands.

For an island that “exported” large amounts of immigrants across the Mediterranean and beyond, Malta has been historically unsympathetic to immigration. The newly installed Maltese government of 1921 staunchly refused to accept any of the thousands of “White Russians” that were forced out of the Crimean by their defeat by the Bolsheviks. The island again refused to accommodate their fellow Maltese: the Maltese community that was forced out of Smyrna (modern day Izmir) with Kemal’s Victory in 1923 had to find refuge in Cyprus and other Mediterranean islands as the Maltese government objected to their return.

I understand the main argument of the non-immigrant movement in Malta: rightly proud of their history, the “no” branch worries that a massive influx of immigrants will erode the culture and religion that makes the Maltese so unique. This is combined the working class belief that the island is overpopulated and that immigrants will take the jobs of the rightful indigenous population. The combination of these two ideas can be powerful, violent and destructive: it is no wonder then that all governments try to accommodate a hard view on immigration.

However Cyprus can prove that this belief can be fallacious. Cyprus took a very large amount of Russian refugees in 1920 – 1921, as well as even larger amount of refugees leaving Turkey in 1923, as well as great number of Jewish immigrants. The result was positive for Cyprus: despite a large underemployment in the overwhelming rural economy, the new entrants brought with them urban knowledge and skills that were previously lacking. The effects of the successful integration are still seen today: From the successful orange groves of Fasouri (set up by Jewish entrepreneurs), to the Cypriot “Kefaloturi” Cheese (manufactured by Asia-minor immigrants), and the strong connection to Russia, the positive influences of such waves of emigration are around us.

Cyprus currently has the highest number of non-Europeans inhabitants per capita of indigenous people, and that can only be a good thing. From the Bakery and Russian Language skills of the Georgian Greeks (themselves refugees from modern conflicts) to the entrepreneurial skills of Halal butchers, Cyprus can benefit form the foreign people who so willingly do the jobs we just don’t want to do any more. Let us hope that unlike Malta, Cyprus can keep the powerful feelings of anti-immigration at bay.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Can you be Annoyed at a Song?

For those who know me well, know that i do not believe in the state of "The good old days", whatever they might have been. This is especially true in terms of economic growth in Cyprus and Malta: despite everything our quality of life has become better and better - we live longer and in we and our children are in better health than in the past; we have more education and more leisure in while increasing our environmental consciousness; and we have more material goods that before, living in established and prosperous democracies.

That why i was annoyed to hear Eustathia's new song "kapote". It encapsulated all the arguments of “The good old days" faction: they were no social problems before - the world was an easier, happier, less complicated world at a indefinite time of the past. The problem is the future and its fast paste: Eustathia longs for the world of siestas, VCR’s and Curt Cobain.

It is depressing to hear such sentiments form middle aged people who seem to forget how bad it really was while growing up: but this sentiment of “the good old days” is cropping up increasingly within out generation. Eustathia is wrong of course: if the 1980 is the good old time then you had no chance of survival if you were diagnosed with cancer, the world was threatened with nuclear war, and all cars belched more CO2 in the atmosphere than cars do today. There was the Chernobyl disaster and the computer revolution did not take place yet: as a result most people were working more hours and receiving less as they were not as productive as today. Oh and had a larger number of infant deaths and died 10 years younger!

If anyone should be lamenting “the good old days” is the AIDS ravaged parts of Africa, a disease that due to its nature wipes out both past and future economic and demographic gains. So lets focus of lifting the rest of the world to our current standard, rather than over-idealising the past that simply was not that great.

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Great Work On Nationality Conflict and Border Effects

I went to an excellent presentation of my supervisor Max –Stephan Schulze today. Max (with co-author Nikolaus Wolf) is using solid quantitative economics to show that the rising nationalistic tensions in the Austro-Hungarian empire seem to create a border effect – even before the post WWI borders were in place. He attributes this mainly due to the ethnic tensions within the empire, and tests for that hypothesis using language parameters. It is great work since it uses quantitative tools adeptly and matching it to historical qualitative knowledge of ethnic tensions within the Empire.
One of the most interesting side issues is that it seems that the 1920 border of the treaty of Trianon was well thought out – it seemed to follow the lines of the border effect causes by ethnic tensions. I would love to see that exercise repeated for failed treaties such as the treaty of Sevres in 1920, to see if a border effect was there. Most interestingly in the case of Cyprus is too see if there was such an effect before the inter-communal violence in Cyprus.http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/economicHistory/seminars/NationalityConflictBorderEffects.pdf

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

A very confusing statement.

The highly competent minister of economics held a press conference on the health of the economy today. This is odd; you only have a press conference to tell people that the economy is sound if:

1) You are worried of a speculative attack on your currency (not the case due to the euro)

2) You have elections coming up (we just had elections)

3) You know that the economy is showing signs of weakness and you are trying to shore up business confidence.

I found the whole press clip confusing: unless we are talking about real growth rates (which is probably the case) the rate of inflation is higher than the nominal rate growth – so we are not growing at all. But probably the rate of growth of ~ 3% is correct. The funny thing is that historically a 3.5% growth rate is much closer to the trend of the economy from the 1950s onwards. So I would not celebrate yet: we are just getting back to our trend rate of growth and it will still take around 40 years to reach German GDP levels at the present growth differential.

But I think the press conference was a bit dishonest – the interest rate dropped with out entry to the Euro just four months ago. This resulted to higher liquidity based on new loans that is creating an upward surge of business activity. The interest rate fall is the reason behind the property proto-bubble we are seeing in the house market. So it easy to say that the economy is doing well today: but the experience of Spain shows that if mismanaged the building boom can have severe repercussions on the economy in the future.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Incentives – Taxis in Cyprus Need a bit of Freakonomics

An article today mentioned the new plan by the Ministry of Transport. The Ministry is considering changing the way taxis can charge their fares. It is planning to place a legal maximum and believes that competition between the numerous cab companies will drive the prices down.


Although I found it a hard book to read Levit’s and Dubner’s Freakonomics has managed to put their main message across : if you want a system to work you need to align the incentives of the actors concerned correctly. If this attempt goes through the prices will be driven up and not down.


The ministry’s plan is sure to backfire because of the nature of a taxi ride: although you can choose from many taxi companies to go from A to B, the taxi driver is in a monopolistic position from the moment you sit in the car and he drives off. Such a maximum ceiling will result to abuses: from the moment you sit in the car you have no choice but to pay what the driver asks, and since you will not get to your destination in time unless the taxi driver takes you. The Maximum price will become the normal price.


Four years ago I learnt the hard way that if one wants to travel a long way by cab in
Morocco one needs to haggle the price in front of many cab drivers in order to get competition working to your advantage: usually bargaining results in a price that is mutually beneficial. Get in the car prior to the price being arranged however and you will see that haggling is not tolerated because as passenger you have lost your bargaining power over the driver. Another example is in Greece: the taxi driver will pick up other people only after he is on his way even if he promised you when boarded his taxi that he will not pick up other people - you cant just leave as the car is moving!.


I hope this plan is changed and not enforced – because misaligned incentives will lead to even higher taxi fares that the ones we have today.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Defending the Central Bank of Cyprus – Don’t Shoot the Messenger!

There has been a rising storm against the Governor of the Central Bank of Cyprus. Dr. Orphanides was by far the most qualified choice as a central banker, being a technocratic banker par excellence. As I warned in a previous article inflation was bound to be an issue for the new government and their reaction up to know has been to shoot the bearer of bad news.

Not all economists agree: people that i admire who know the economics of Cyprus better than myself think the Governor's comments were missplaced. But I dissagree. I believe that this government has been very successful its first few months at office. But AKEL is now attacking Dr. Orphanines for warning about the automatic inflationary mechanism that is the cost of living wage adjustment is exactly the sort of thing that makes me worry about inflation in Cyprus.

The adjustment created a mechanism to inject the increase prices of oil and foodstuff to the wages and thus to the economy as a whole, leading to enough additional inflation to make us all worse off. One needs to be a very brave politician to admit this. Looking at Italy today it is clear that bad ideas, undertaken to help the “common man”, hurt the economy as a whole, and make the less privileged even more dependent on government payouts.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

New Academics: Introducing Elena Papamichael

Elena Papamichael is a PhD student at the Institute of Education, University of London. She is specializing in the field of intercultural education, with a focus on the teachers' role in primary schools of Cyprus. Elena is particularly well placed to research issues of education teaching in Cyprus having received a master's degree in Education from the University of London and her BA in Primary Education from the University of Cyprus. Elena has also worked as a as a primary school teacher in Cyprus and as a headmistress at Greek community schools in London.

Elena is keen to provide more information over issues of racism and nationalism in Cyprus within the framework of the education system. In particular she focuses on the theories, policies and practices of intercultural education, teacher education, and provides qualitative research on these subjects. In the course of her studies up to now, Elena has also been a research officer for the European INTERACT project, for the University of London and a Conference Officer for the 5th Pan Commonwealth Forum at the University of London.



The area that Elena is exploring is under investigated; however, the few studies in the field of education and diversity identify nationalism, exclusion, racism and discrimination as key issues in the Cypriot educational system, and as problematic areas in need of research. Such research points to the responsibilities of the current policy for education and diversity in Cyprus, which is promoting assimilatory practices for diverse pupils. It also acknowledges the role of teachers and teacher educators as crucial and problematic since, at the moment, teachers are not equipped with the knowledge and strategies to work in multicultural environments. However, the role of teachers and their perceptions of diversity have not been extensively explored at a substantial level. This is where Elena's research is situated: it puts the role of teachers in the centre of its focus. The teachers are the ones working in the grassroots levels; apart from the policy level, we also need to work from below. We need deeper understandings of the teachers' perceptions of their everyday realities at the schools, and we need to gain insights into what actually happens when the classroom door closes, or after the bell rings at the corners of a schoolyard.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Malta and The Royal Navy

Looking at the current developments in Zimbabwe and listening to the news here in Britain, one realised how short the collective memory of a nation's printed media can be. I am not defending the current government of Zimbabwe; I just mentioning that Britain used to have a certain policy towards Rhodesia that should have made it difficult for the not to feel a bit guilty today.

Trawling through the archives I found what was a typical example of Colonial Condescending Attitude and Racism: not against Africans but against Maltese. With the threat of War with Italy serious and the re-armament of Britain there was a suggestion that the Royal Navy (R.N) should offer the ability to Maltese to enlist since:

· The Royal Navy Dockyard was the main economic activity on the island and Maltese

· The Economy of the Island was affected by the decision of the R.N to abandon Malta as the main base of the Mediterranean Fleet

· There were already substantial number of Maltese in the R.Non non-permanent contracts as seamen of stokemen

This made sense to all: several Maltese needed work, and the R.N. needed bodies. All the R.N. needed to do was to allow permanent employment of Maltese in all occupations.

Unfortunately the racism of the R.N. officers would not allow such a win / win solution to take place. The late Admiral of the Fleet John D. Kelly, vehemently opposed the plan (any emphasis in the original):

“lower classes of Malta are not white men and as for the possibility… of putting them in position of command over bluejackets [British sailors], any officer who has had management of a mess of the Mediterranean station could testify as to the endless friction which exists between the war room servants and the Maltese messmen.”

Not only that the Admiral also rejected the proposal arguing that the Maltese were not to be relied in combat:

“They lack “guts” and initiative. They are steady, sober, docile and not perceptive lazier than the average white man in the same climate. Their virtues, however, fade into nothingness the moment their skins are in danger, or worse, the moment they think their skins are in danger.”

He goes on to provide personal experiences of the Maltese cowardly under combat. Sadly even figures such as the Vice Admiral of Malta W.T.R. Ford, who had a great experience with working with Maltese men as the superintendent of the Dockyard in the Grand Harbour argued meekly that the views expressed over the Maltese work ethic:

“Are not the shared by myself… however the Maltese “are not endowed with the qualities of courage or coolness in danger, and recently on the occasion of the mining of “Hunter” some Maltese stewards or cooks did hump overboard without order and without necessity.

The idea was dropped.

What saddened me reading such comments is not so much the arrogance and the painting of a whole nation with a single derogatory brushstroke; what saddens me is the realisation of how ingrained was the feeling of superiority within the British Colonial system. With the exception of newly colonised territories, Britain could have so easily turned the Maltese into being more grateful by simply accepting their services that Britain needed.

But they could not do it – the real problem was not the fighting qualities of the Maltese (who I don’t blame for not wanting to die fighting a war they did not understand): it was that the British admirals simply refused to accept that a British man or the lower ranks, could at one day ordered by a person from the colonies.


Seven years later King George V presented the St. Georges cross to the whole island of Malta to 'bear witness to the heroism and devotion of its people' during the great siege it underwent in the early parts of World War Two. It took the necessity of the Second World War for British officers to break their iron wall of prejudice.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Not comparing like for like - Why the Boston Globe is Wrong

While looking at the Arts and Letters daily I came across an article that was looking at the growth of authoritarian states as innovative entrepreneurs. The article is a novel attempt to understand what the author sees as an isolated phenomenon but is clearly missing the wood for the trees:

  • The author assumed that innovation in entrepreneurship and rapid growth only comes form Dictatorial (or less Democratic countries) - Turkey, Brazil, Argentina and India will be very disappointed to hear these news (and Pakistan might be chuffed). The problem of the article is that it is trying to combine two different subjects: the rapid rates of growth of some countries that are not very democratic but are part of the developing world that is catching up to western levels of development and the growth of sovereign wealth funds.
  • As for the rapid growth rates - its is partially a hoax - it is true that China is growing very fast: but it is much an story of "technological Catch up with improved social capabilities" Ala Abramovitz caused partly by the technological changes that allowed the globalisation of manufacturing ala Krugman and due to improved institutional set up ala North. I am not just trying to cram as many eminent economists in a senescence. I am trying to prove that sentences are misinformed.

One striking recent study by the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington think tank, shows that the economies of politically unfree nations have grown faster than those of politically free nations over the past decade, often through forceful use of business and financial power. A recent report by the global monitoring organization Freedom House found that "a group of market-oriented autocracies" were an important force in an overall decline in world freedom.

It just so happens that poorer countries are catching up to richer ones who are growing because they are further in the technology tree + the $100 Dollar price tag of oil. So no Boston Globe… it is not the lack of democracy that is making these countries grow – its other factors.

· The second big error of the article is about sovereign funds- The article does not even discuss that far from being an article of growth they are an article of control that could even stifle growth for a less developed country such as China. Several investor theories argue that the rate of return of investing in a less developed country is higher than in a developed country. In addition in investing in your country you can create a multiplier effect, whereby the investment will circulated around the economy and provide and even larger increase of GDP. Although both theories are considered too simplistic they still hold partly true. Part of the Sovereign funds job is to provide greater control and sacrifice growth: these funds are getting relatively low rates of return but such returns come back to the direct control of the state. The alternative would be for the state to invest in project within their own countries rather than buy up companies: its not like Russia or China has run out of investment opportunities. But doing so would perhaps lead to both a higher growth or a democratisation of such growth – the government will not have direct control over the receipts despite the fact that such receipts will probably bee bigger and more beneficial to the economy if invested within the country. The sovereign funds are a way of maintaining control of the state by hogging a share of the enlarged pie – and not a reason for the growth of the pie per se.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

New Researchers of the World Unite: Demetris Pillas

Once again I am pleasantly surprised to know of Cypriot researchers involved in a diverse range of projects and issues; one would hope that some of these young academic talents will be able to research issues in Cyprus in the future, if adequate funding and research opportunities are created for them. This week I present Demetris Pillas.

Demetris is a doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at Imperial College London. Demetris is exploring the determinants of infant development and the impact of infant development over the lifecourse. He is examining this through looking at the development of a sample of 12,000 infants from northern Finland. Preliminary results indicate that infant development has its own (independent of social class) effect on various outcomes over the lifecourse (from socioeconomic to health outcomes). I think that a similar study in Cyprus would be very interesting, as it would shed some light on the development of cypriot infants (parenting practices, if cypriot infants develop at a faster/slower rate than the world average, risk factors for delayed development in cypriot infants, etc). Unfortunately no birth cohort currently exists in Cyprus, hence the absence of research on these issues in Cyprus. Demetris will be examining similar issues soon on an internship with the World Health Organisation. I wish him the very best in his studies.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

The ugly beast rears its head: Inflation and the new president in Cyprus.

The ugly beast rears its head: Inflation and the new president in Cyprus.

The new president of Cyprus has plenty of issues to clear: the previous presidency has left several unresolved issues in terms of the Cyprus problem and domestic social policies. However I am predicting that one of the hardest issues for the new president will be inflation and the expectations of the Cypriot working class who in their majority have voted consistently for the party he represents (AKEL).

Cyprus entered the Eurozone in the 1st of January 2007 with an economy that was already showing signs of overheating: this was partially caused by the Euro entry – the interest rates cuts to align the Cypriot interest rates to the Europe area took place at a time that conventional monetary policy advised an interest rate rise. One of the side-effects of this was a property market boom (one could say buble?) as cheaper loans were made available. This was confirmed by an influential member of the Cypriot Monetary Policy Committee, Professor Pissarides the Swansow Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics at a public meeting in February. The data provided by the Central Bank and the Statistical Service indicate that by November inflation was already above 4%, and possibly increased in January and February with the entry to the Eurozone and the world price increase in commodities. High inflation is not desirable as it creates a negative economic climate for saving and makes important industries of Cyprus (such as naval and tourism) less competitive to other countries linked to the dollar rather than the Euro.

Professor Pissarides also raised concerns that the economy would suffer from inflation as the increases in the world price of oil, wheat and fodder trickled through the economy. The result of such an overheating economy and high costs will create the biggest headache for the new President: How to prevent the increase in militancy when unions demand above inflation wage rises. However the government can not raise interest rates, the most effective way in combating inflation: interest rates are now controlled by the ECB and Fiscal Policy measures to control inflation are considered weak and market distorting.

It is important to note here that Akel’s history is similar to Labour’s in the UK in the fact that the unions were the driving force within the party. PEO, the largest union in Cyprus, is very closely affiliated with the party and campaigned hard for Mr. Christofias presidential candidacy. Many people within Peo feel that they finally have “their” President: Although Both Mr. Vasiliou and Mr. Papadopoulos were elected with Akel’s (and thus Peo’s) support, their business background meant that the union felt that the rights of its members were not fully represented.

As a result of “their” man being elected, I am expecting the unions to demand welfare rights and wage increases that were denied to them in previous administrations. And that is exactly what Mr. Christofias will have to deal with the renewal of the first collective bargaining agreements during the summer. If the president gives in to above inflation demands, it is possible that a inflationary spiral occurs, fuelling more inflation. The unions will feel that their members are being squeezed by the increased inflation and thus be more vociferous in their demands for wage increases.

Mr. Christofias may try to shoot two birds with one stone: he may resist union demands for above inflation wage increases, but sweeten the deal by offering substantial increases in welfare benefits. The rapid development of the economy and the resulting fiscal drag due to inflation (were more people are taxes in higher rates due to the general rise in real incomes) could produce enough of a budget surplus to allow this to happen. But the solution is not a sound one: even temporary welfare benefits tend to become permanent and thus drag budget resources at times of hardship, and that the inflationary spiral may still take place if the real value of the benefits exceeds the rate of inflation.

This will be the most difficult challenge for Mr, Christofias: it will be the first challenge were the President will have to prove to his own party members that he is now president and not the general secretary of Akel by resisting unreasonable wage demands. However doing so is against the core of his role as the general secretary of the party, which ideologically supports the rights of workers. To be fair to Akel and Mr. Chirstofias, the power balance has shifted and now Akel dominates Peo: thus Mr. Christofias maight find it possible to force Peo to moderate wage and welfare claims prior to entering collecting bargaining arrangements. It remains to be seen if Peo will remain loyal to “their” man if their long cherished demands are disappointed yet again.

Workshop Bergen:



“Cyprus and Malta: Data resources on Former British Colonies”



By Alexander Apostolides



Introduction: The status of National accounts in Cyprus and Malta Today


Both Malta and Cyprus became new members of the European Union in 2004. During entry negotiations, Cyprus moved from the 1968 SNA system to adopting the European System of Accounts (ESA 1995). Maltese national accounts did not exactly conform to 1968 SNA prior to accession negotiations, as the production approach in estimating the Gross Domestic Product was never attempted. During negotiations both national statistical offices won exceptions from the aquis that affect Historical National Account creation. In the case of Cyprus it was accepted that backward calculation of the GDP according to current practises would be limited. Malta secured significant exceptions both in limiting backward re-calculations and in what data it needs to supply EUROSTAT in the future.

Both National statistical offices were post-war institutions. The pre-cursors of the Maltese National Statistical Office (NSO) and the Cypriot Στατιστική Υπηρέσια (Υστατ) were established in 1947. The first national accounts were published in 1954 – but in Cyprus national account estimates were calculated back to 1950. As far as I am aware, there has been no attempt by either service to use current ESA practise to correct previous estimates.


There were some attempts to estimate national income prior to 1954, but no effort none was sufficient or explicit enough in their methodology. Cyprus and Malta were included in Maddison’s 1995 estimates as a joint GDP estimate, before they were submerged in a group named “Small Western European Countries” in subsequent updates of his work (Maddison, 1995; Maddison, 2006). Maddison calculated benchmark estimators for Cyprus and Malta back to 1850, while his current estimations for “Small Western European Countries” go back to 1 AD. The actual methodology is unclear but it seems that Maddison used post-1950 data in order to calculate the GDP of Cyprus and Malta and calculated the differential of the joint GDP with the South European average. Maddison extrapolated the series backwards by maintaining the GDP per capita differential vis-à-vis his calculated HNA for Southern European countries. Thus although a useful indicator, the Maddison estimates are clearly insufficient as they just assume that the 20% income differential of Cyprus and Malta in relation to Southern Europe in 1950 was constant throughout their history, and their economies developed exactly as the average of the economies of Spain, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Ireland.


Other GDP estimates for sporadic years exist, especially for Cyprus. Christodoulou made an estimate for 1927 as £3.45 million and for “mid-1930s” as £2.8 million, but is completely obscure on his sources and methodology (Christodoulou, 1992). His result is probably based on an estimate based on tax records by members of the Cypriot Legislative assembly for 1926 of £3.5 million (Georghallides, 1985 p.159). By far the most authoritative estimate was made by Fairfield in 1881; he estimated Cypriot national income at the time as £981,000. The methodology and source of data for any of these estimates is completely unknown, but Georghallides argues that the Fairfield estimate is accurate (Georghallides, 1979).


Overall none of the above estimates provide their methodology in order to be able to reproduce their results. I have yet to find any GDP estimates of Maltese income prior to 1954.


My thesis plans to reduce the knowledge gap in the economic history of Cyprus and Malta by constructing HNAs for both countries. I am attempting to provide yearly estimates of GDP per capita (and some estimates of capital accumulation) for the period 1921 -1939. I have chosen a small time period in order to be able to concentrate in constructing detailed Historical National Accounts (HNAs) rather than scattered benchmarks, partly due to the greater data availability of the interwar period but mainly due to the particular importance of the interwar period for both islands both in terms of politics and economics. The methodology used aims to follow the best HNA practise, subject to the constraint of time available to just one researcher. The work of Kostellenos and Prados de la Escosura for Greece and Spain is consulted throughout my work as a check on my methodology and the plausibility of my assumptions (Kostellenos, 1995; Prados de la Escosura, 1993). Thus I am hoping to produce yearly GDP estimates by using the production method, and subsequently calculating for some years the GDP by using the income method (by using data not used in the production method) in order to check the estimates. The thesis has as an overall objective a possible comparison of Cyprus and Malta. This will allow a greater understanding of the interplay between the economic conditions of the islands and political developments of the time.


I am currently concentrating in using published government sources of the time. Extensive archival work has also taken place in Cyprus, but not yet in Malta. The advantage in preferring Colonial government sources is that most Cypriot and Maltese publications had to follow general colonial office guidelines: thus by establishing a method of creating HNAs by relying on published colonial sources will enable a more rapid reproduction of HNAs for other British Colonies. It is worth noting that there was an attempt in 1942 by the British War Cabinet Office to estimate Colonial national incomes using a similar range of published sources as I plan to use for other British colonies (Deane, 1948).1 However an identical approach can not be used as Deane’s approach does not take into account current established national account practises.


Data sources:


The Data sources for Cyprus and Malta are roughly similar, and thus discussed in tandem. The data sources discussed are all for the period of British rule in Cyprus (1878 -1960) and Malta (1815 – 1964). A brief summary of data resources for the 16th – 18th century can be provided on request.


It is worth noting that it is not necessarily true that the availability and quality of data is greater as one gets closer in time to the first estimates of national income. During the first half of the twentieth century there were frequent changes in definitions, altering what was being measured. Some of these changes (for example the definition of a Dwelling in the 1947 Census) create rather than eliminate problems for HNA creation. The quality of data in Cyprus also deteriorated in the 1950s due to anti-colonial tensions and inter-communal tensions resulting to the EOKA struggle in 1955 – 1959. This is also true for archival research: the archives in Malta and Cyprus have not been fully indexed. Thus in the case of Cyprus all of the Secretarial Archive before 1945 has a thematic index (that was created by the colonial authorities) that is a significant help to archival work. It is much more difficult to find any files for the period 1945 – 1960, due to the lack of a thematic index.

Censuses:


Being British dependencies, both Cyprus and Malta had a Census taken every 10 years (i.e. 1931, 1921, 1911, 1901 etc). For Malta the first census was in 1842; Cyprus had its first Census in 1881. The Second World War disrupted taking a census for 1941; thus Malta has a census for 1948 and Cyprus for 1946 instead. A summary census report was published after every census: I have yet to discover the census returns for any of these censuses.


Accuracy of the censuses:


For Cyprus the Census returns were collected by colonial officials who were diverted to from their normal operations for the purpose. There was no dedicated section of the bureaucracy for statistical work, and this tended to have an effect on the quality of the published results. The questionnaires were completed by government officials in the towns, thus providing some basic guarantee to their quality. However for the overwhelmingly rural population, the census questioners were completed by the village headsmen (Mukhtars), for a small financial reward. Thus mistakes in the initial gathering of census data were possible, especially in more remote villages where the Mukhtars’ literacy was limited, and where the Mukhtars they had minimal supervision. However Demographic Studies (Verropoulou, 1997; Agathagelou, 1985) argue that the census data are more accurate than other government sources on population and demography.

Occupation statistics underreport the gainfully employed population, as well as persons employed in agriculture. There is an even greater underreporting of women in employment, especially in the rural areas.


Examples of such underreporting can be found in the 1931 Census. Only 56% of the Male population is considered to be gainfully employed, with more than 11% of the male population in “Unknown Occupation” and 16% in “Persons without Occupation”. A staggeringly low percentage of the female population is considered to be gainfully employed (20%), with 35% of the female population in “Unknown Occupation” and 34% in “Persons without Occupation”.


The Maltese census questionnaire was given to every head of household to fill, subject to a fine if the questionnaire was not returned. Thus the probability for spurious answers was high, considering that over 60% of the population in Malta was illiterate in 1931. This method of census taking also seems to result to an underreporting of women in employment: the ratio of male agriculturalists to female agriculturalists in 1931 was 5:1, which is not considered plausible.


Thus any attempt to use occupation statistics derived from the censuses for HNA purposes should be treated with great caution. The data on occupation should be seen as indicative rather than definitive. In my own attempts to create HNAs I have avoided using occupation data as much as possible, but it seems that some use of the occupation data is necessary to estimate production in the service and handicraft sectors of the economy.


Census Information:


A majority of the questions asked by the census takers which are of interest for HNA construction are very similar over time. Significant improvements took place in the 1921, 1931 and 1946 census where additional questions on secondary occupation, housing and ownership were introduced. An example of such change is the change in the definition of what constitutes a dwelling in the 1921 and the 1946 census, which makes using 1946 data to calculate dwelling stock difficult. These improvements are not always compatible with previous censuses; thus care is needed in comparing census data over time.


New data tables were added in each census. By 1946 the Census was extensive and covered a large array of issues:

  • Population (Population, Distribution, Birthplace, Religion, Mother-tongue, Sex and Age)

  • Other Demographic Data (Mortality, Life expectancy, Conjugal Condition, Age of Marriage, Childbirths, Children per household)

  • Literacy (Including Knowledge of English)

  • Occupation

  • Aliens and Infirmity

  • Housing Accommodation and Housing Services (Dwellings, Rooms per dwelling, Type of Accommodation and type of Tenure, Domestic water sanitations and electricity)

  • An agricultural Census (see below)


The 1948 Maltese Census did not look much different as most of the questions were similar. The largest difference between the Cypriot and the Maltese census was the lack of an agricultural census in Malta; however the Maltese census has statistics on wages and income that the Cypriot 1946 census does not cover. Most of these categories are broken by age and by district, as well as broken down in a rural / urban form2.


The Cypriot Agriculture census provides information about farm holding sizes, irrigated land, crop bearing trees (especially carob and olive yields) and other agricultural yields not covered by the statistical Blue books (aniseed and cherries). The 1946 census also provides a historical perspective; it offers a four-year moving average of prices and output for the ten most important agricultural products of Cyprus from 1896 to 1946.


Going further back in time the basic categories of population, literacy, age, aliens, infirmity and dwellings are given, but less information is given both in terms of detail as well as in terms of breakdown.

Blue Books

By far the most important source of data for Cyprus and Malta are the yearly statistical blue books. The blue books were a yearly compendium of statistics of the colony compiled under colonial office requirements. They were published from the mid-19th century and were discontinued with the outbreak of the Second World War (they were replaced after the war by statistical abstracts such as the Cyprus and the Malta review).


The Colonial blue books combine data from all government departments into one published source, and were published yearly. Some of the sections most relevant to HNA construction are listed below. The sections numbering is from the 1931 Cyprus Blue; the Maltese Blue book of 1931 is similar except it has an additional section on military expenditure as the last section. Blue books prior to 1921 have fewer sections, but most of the information relevant to HNA creation is present.


The 1931 Cyprus blue book has over thirty sections with the most important in terms of HNA are:


Section 1: Taxes Duties and other sources of revenue

  • A detailed description of every tax, duty or fee levied by the government. i.e. Barley duty: 3 copper piastres to the counterweight. (1 copper piaster to a penny)

Section 3: Government Revenue and Expenditure (comparing why it rose or fell)

  • Comparing each tax with the revenue of the previous year and stating the cause of decrease. i.e. Import duties decreased by £51263 in 1931 due to the “general trade depression and decline in commodity prices”

Section 7: Municipal corporations and other Public Bodies

  • Revenue and expenditure of each municipal body

Section 8: Public Works

  • Expenditure in roads, public buildings and harbours

Section 12: Civil Establishment

  • The position and wage of all permanent staff in government.

Section 15: Population and Vital Statistics

  • Based on the latest census figures, the government estimated persons employed by sub-district in agriculture, manufacture or commerce. Also provides number of people who came and left the island, an estimate of the total population and infantile mortality in districts and towns.

Section 19: Currency, Banking, Weights and Measures

  • List of gold, silver and bronze coin in circulation as well as paper money in circulation. There is a list of every bank operational in Cyprus, its number of branches, and the amount of deposits it has in the Colony, as well as a table in order to standardise local weights and measures to the British imperial measurements.

Section 20: Imports and Exports

  • Statement of value and quantity imported and exported, as well as the duty or tariff collected (per item). This is specific to product and by country – an all together exhaustive account of yearly imports and exports.

Section 21: Shipping

  • Number, tonnage, and crews of vessels entered and cleared (separated into steam ships and sailing vessels). This is broken down by country of destination and by country of ownership. The section includes ships involved in the coasting trade in a separate table.

Section 22: Production and Natural Resources

  • This is by far the most important section in terms of creating HNAs. This section provides the acres and quantity produces for the 9 most important crops. After 1931 this expands to include a total of 26 crops, effectively encompassing all cultivated crop production. The only significant exceptions are in the production of carobs, olives and olive oil, wine (although the quantity of grape quantity produced is provided from 1931) and citrus fruits.

  • This section also provides the annual number of livestock, and the yield of animal produce (except meat) and their average farm value.

  • It provides detailed forestry and fishery information.

  • It provides mining information such as and the total value of ore as well as its metallic content.

  • It provides a list of the most important industrial establishments; the number of persons employed the cost of raw material uses, the output produced and the net selling value (prices at the factory door).


This is by far the most important section of the blue book. The basis of my HNA creation effort will be based on this information.


Section 23: Labour Wages and cost of living

  • It provides the average wage rates for several jobs including domestic service

  • It provides for the average, maximum and minimum retail price of staple articles of consumption in the capital (Nicosia)

  • It provides the average monthly export rates (f.o.b) of staple products of the country

Section 30: Savings Banks and Friendly Societies

  • Provides a list of Savings banks and Co-operative societies with the authorised capital and the value of their deposits

Section 32: Railways, Tramways, Steamship services, Roads, Motor Transport

  • It provides through cost and revenue of publicly run Railroads and tramways, as well as the numbers of cars registered and road mileage available to road traffic.

Section 33: Post, Telegraph and Telephone statistics

  • Provides detailed revenue of cost and volume of letters, telegrams, and calls.


Most importantly, the blue books already provide enough information for volume estimates to be created for agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining and manufacturing. In the case of manufacturing value added estimates are provided from 1931 onwards.


The blue books are by far the most extensive yearly data source on Cyprus and Malta. The accuracy of the recorded figures is hard to fathom, as no research has taken place to evaluate how far there were possible errors in recording such information. However qualitative evidence seems to confirm that the British authorities were quite efficient in collecting taxes and stamping out tax evasion. Since the majority of the tax revenue in Cyprus and Malta was collected by duties on imports and exports, on mining licences and taxes on agricultural production, I believe that such data as presented in the Blue Books are reasonably accurate.


The greatest weakness of the blue books is the lack of information on prices and wages. Despite some information on the highest, lowest and average prices of staple goods in the islands’ capitals, as well as some information on wages, there is not enough price data to be able to create good deflators. A cost of living index was not introduced in Cyprus until 1948. In Malta the Royal Navy did create a cost of living index dating back to the First World War, but I have yet to find it.

In the Cypriot government archive, I found handwritten and thus unpublished Blue books for 1941, 1944 and 1946. They provide information on production, wages, and government revenue during the war, thus allowing for an understanding of the economy and possible HNA creation at a time of complete lack of data publication.


Annual Colonial Reports


The annual colonial report is a valuable yearly overview of the situation in a colony for the given year. Its highest value is its provision of a qualitative feel of how the economic situation of the island was perceived by the colonial bureaucrats. A yearly estimate of population, as well as birth and death rates is provided. The derivation of yearly estimate on population is unclear; comparing it to the population returns in census years, the government estimate has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5%. There is no actual data on migration, but some data on permissions issued to enter and exit the island are provided. However an attempt to estimate the population of Cyprus backwards by using current forecasting projection tools based on such data has been abandoned. This is because even if migration was controlled for, the registration of births and deaths was incomplete and inaccurate, as gross underreporting of Births and Deaths was endemic (even in the 1980s Agathangelou (1885) calculated that deaths were underreported by 20%). Thus the underlying variables needed to project the population backward would have led to spurious results.


Some sporadic data on tourism are also given, but again without explanation on how the data was derived. Some sporadic data on costs to British officials staying in Cyprus or Malta are also sometimes included.



Annual reports of Government Departments


Every government department published an annual report covering a wide range of issues as an annual review; the yearly statistical blue book and the annual colonial reports are effectively based on these reports. Some, such as the customs and excise annual report, do not provide any additional information not accounted in the blue books. Others, such as the Mining commissioners yearly report, the Agricultural department report and the public works department report provide valuable information excluded from the blue books. Unfortunately although published, such reports were not necessarily saved by libraries; however for most years the original manuscript is in the respective national archive.


Information provided includes the cost of construction of roads per mile, the monthly wage rate of workers per district, a bi-annual livestock survey, and some sporadic estimates of value added in agriculture and mining. As with the basic categories of expenditure, cost and wages per department are given. However as one goes further back in time less information is given both in terms of detail as well as in of breakdown. Also some information is not collected until a relevant government department is set up, as was the case for the mining department in Cyprus.


One-off Government Publications


Other important data sources for Cyprus and Malta include publications that were published due specific economic problems. In Malta the dire economic situation in the beginning of the 20th century resulted in an extensive Royal Commission that published its findings in 1911 (Malta Royal Commission, 1911). In Cyprus, popular calls for more active agricultural policy to reduce the dependency on money lenders resulted to an agricultural survey in 1930 (Surridge, 1930) and a report on the economic condition of the island in 1934 (Oakden, 1934). All contain useful information for the years of the survey and are also a good first account of the problems facing the islands.

Archive work and other possible sources


The Archives in Cyprus and Malta are helpful; however they are hampered by outdated rules, especially in terms of public research hours and photography, that severely curtails the research one can do in the time one has available. Extensive research in the Cyprus archive on the construction of government houses and on architectural surveys of villages has allowed me to build a good understanding on the cost and the value of construction of housing. This was combined with census data on dwellings and in a joint project with Mr. Zeitounsian (Head of National Accounts Section, Ystat, Cyprus) enabled us to estimate the dwelling stock of Cyprus form 1921 – 1960. It is hoped that further archival research, combined with dwelling stock calculations will enable a plausible estimation of the construction sector, as well as a good estimate for rental housing income. We are in the process of standardising the methodology; upon completion a similar process will be attempted using Maltese archival material.


Other possible sources of data for HNA estimation includes tax data. I have not yet looked into this in detail; but the lack of income tax in both Cyprus and Malta provides both disadvantages and possibilities. The disadvantage is that an estimate of GDP using the income method by using income tax returns is impossible; however the taxing of production, especially Agriculture (especially in Cyprus were agricultural production was subject to a tithe until 1926), might allow for checking of agricultural estimates for plausibility.


Taxation data published in the blue books and in the annual report of the Land Registration and Survey department might allow calculations is estimating the capital stock, especially since property tax was based on early modern period laws, which counted all property, including orchards, as taxable property.





Conclusion:


The British colonial era in Cyprus and Malta provides ample data sources for an attempt to create HNAs as well as other historical indicators. This attempt will be the first generation of historical national accounts; the wealth of evidence available will enable refinement of the HNA that could complement attempts to create national accounts for the whole of Europe.


Since the first attempt in establishing HNAs for Cyprus and Malta is still in its infancy, adopting a methodology followed by the Nordic project is invaluable as it will aid cross country comparisons, which have always been tricky previously due to the plethora of different methodologies used in estimating Historical National Accounts.


Bibliography


Agathangelou, A., Mortality In Cyprus Nicosia: Ministry of Finance


Christodoulou, D., 1992, Inside the Cyprus Miracle: The labours of an Embattled Mini-Economy Minneapolis, University of Minnesota


Dean, P., 1948, Colonial National Incomes: An experiment Cambridge: Cambridge University Press


Georghalides, G., 1979, A political and Administrative History of Cyprus Nicosia: Cyprus research centre


Georghalides 1985, Cyprus and the governorship of Sir Ronald Storrs Nicosia: Cyprus research centre


Government of Cyprus (Prepared by Hart-Davis, C. H.), 1921, Report and General Abstracts of the Census of Cyprus of 1921. Nicosia: GOP.


Government of Cyprus, 1931, Report and General Abstracts of the Census of Cyprus of 1931. Nicosia: GOP.


Government of Cyprus, 1933, Report appointed to study the conventions and recommendations adopted by the International Labour conference Nicosia: GOP.


Great Britain, Royal Commission, Malta : report of the Royal Commission on the finances, economic position, and judicial procedure of Malta London: HMSO


Kostellenos, G. C., 1995 Money and Output in Modern Greece: 1858 – 1938 Athens, Centre of Planning and Economic Research


Maddison, A., 1995, Monitoring the World Economy Paris: OECD


Oakden, Sir Ralph, 1934, Report of the finances and economic resources of Cyprus Nicosia: GOP


Prados de la Escosura, L., 1993, Spain’s Gross Domestic Product 1850 – 1990: A new series 2003 Ministerio de Economia y Hacienda, Documentos de Trabajo D-93002


Republic of Cyprus, History and Analysis of the methodology of National Accounts in Cyprus, Nicosia: Ministry of Finance

Republic of Cyprus, 2000, Description of the sources and Methods used to compile non-financial national accounts Nicosia: Statistical Service of Cyprus

Royal commission Malta


Surridge, B. J. A Survey of Rural Life in Cyprus. Nicosia: GOP


Veropoulou, 1997, The Demography of Cyprus Ph D. London School of Economics


Web sources:


Cyprus Statistical Service, Ministry of Economics, Republic of Cyprus:

http://www.mof.gov.cy/mof/cystat/statistics.nsf/index_en/index_en?OpenDocument


Maddison Angus, World Population, GDP and Per Capita GDP, 1- 2003 AD: http://www.ggdc.net/maddison


National Statistical Office, Republic of Malta:

http://www.nso.gov.mt/site/page.aspx?pageid=57


1 The experiment involved estimating national accounts for Nyasaland, Jamaica and Northern Rhodesia; however due to standardisation of basic published statistical material as demanded by the colonial office, the published material used in this exercise also exists for Cyprus and Malta.

2 Malta has an additional category between urban and rural – “Sub-urban”

1