The Road

Mr. Nikos Konstandaras is managing editor and a columnist of Kathimerini, the leading Greek morning daily.  He is also a contributor to The BusinessThinker.com

This editorial is also published in Kathimerini.

The road from Rethymno to my village in the mountains of central Crete — which is nearly abandoned now that an easier route has opened — is a living organism with its history, its patchwork of new and old pieces, memories of small and great joys, tragedies, miracles, votive offerings, old detours taken over by the forest, with bridges, cliffs, landslides and endless turns. My grandfather and his brothers, like many young men at the time, worked as laborers on the road to provide for the studies of their elder brother, so that the family could take a great leap forward and break free from the tight bonds of the earth and the weather’s wiles. After countless generations of farmers and craftsmen, one young man got away to open the way for others.

That is how life went in our villages, where people depended solely on their own abilities and on the strong social fabric and rules of behavior that had developed over the centuries. People got by on their own, without the help of the state. The state manifested itself only when it made demands — for taxes, conscripts and anything else that served its interests, interests that were seldom in line with those of the local population. The law was strict and its enforcement certain. But often, the wiser heads of the village would maintain order without the need for police to intervene. The daily wage was earned from sunrise to sunset, with a brief break for lunch.

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Financing The Deal

Mr. Richard Parker: is the author of the “How To Buy A Good Business At A Great Price” series which is sold in over 80 countries. He is the founder of Diomo Corporation and has personally purchased eleven businesses. Learn more about Richard and his materials at diomo.com (www.diomo.com)

If you’re thinking about buying a business, you’ll be pleased to learn that financing the purchase is generally quite easy. In fact, it’s far simpler to get the money you need to buy an existing business than it is for a start-up. Most people simply don’t realize how to do it. Don’t get the wrong idea: you’re not going to buy a business, at least a good one, with no money down; that only happens in the infomercials.

Many prospective business buyers mistakenly believe that traditional lenders will welcome them with open arms when they present them with a business they’re looking to acquire. Unfortunately, nothing can be further from the truth. Especially now, banks are simply not lending money for small business purchases. It still amazes me how the banks have got most people fooled. They run these great ad campaigns promoting themselves as “business/client-friendly” but try to get them to lend you money to buy a business. It won’t happen.

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GIULIO TREMONTI: In the “Eye” of the Market and of Berlusconi. (a commentary on the Italian financial situation).

Ms. Katerina Kapernarakou is a journalist for the Greek newspaper “Kathimerini”, and a contributor to the BusinessThinker.com covering the international business, economic, and financial issues.

Giulio Tremonti seems to have received multiple attacks, finding himself in “the eye of the storm.” The Finance Minister of Italy has to handle the rising borrowing costs of the country and all the questions that the markets raise in their usual compelling manner; these questions refer to the ability of Italy to respond to its debt and fiscal deficit obligations. At the same time, Tremonti’s relations with Silvio Berlusconi, the Prime Minister, are strained, as the latter accuses him of “lack of teamwork” in his already fragmented government. Also, he has to oversee the promotion of the austerity measures he has prepared in order to prevent the bad scenario about an Italy’s bailout. Although most of the measures have been put off until after the 2013 elections, he may have to implement them hastingly in advance because of the pressures of the market. Moreover, Giulio Tremonti should face another challenge.

Italy’s Finance Minister is considered by the international financial community as the guardian of fiscal discipline in the country and is identified as the shield against Berlusconian populism and extreme expenses. However, he made an error incompatible with his overall political stance, according to which he has strongly affirmed his intention to crack down on tax evasion. Marco Milanese, Tremonti’s former close associate who is investigated on alleged corruption, has testified he had provided Tremonti a luxurious apartment in Rome on 1,000 euros rent per week.

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