It is a tragic irony that an old telephone company advertisement presenting two "philosophers" traveling in the luggage case of a bus has become more apropos than ever. This really smart advertising concept presents in the best way the lives of young Greek scientists.
The overproduction of scientists in a dissolved economy has resulted in making most of them to start looking for a "luggage case”. A job abroad is the “magic lamp wish" for the vast majority of young people with academic degrees. Immigration has revived, once again, in Greece.
But there isn’t there only the funny side of the "brain drain issue." This issue destroys today Greece’s human potential on which the much sought-after development has to be based. More than 100,000 young Greek scientists are already living and working for years abroad (information sourced from "Kathimerini"). Who can blame the scientists who leave Greece today for a job abroad? Or—to put it another way—why should they stay in Greece? Why stay in a country where after they have spent half their lives at studying at the polytechnic school or the law school, they can only find a job in which they get paid less than what a supermarket cashier gets paid?
The intensity of frustration of graduates for the prospects of finding a job in Greece is shown by the fact that 47.3% of those who took all their degrees in Greece have never sought any job in the country
According to a survey conducted by the Research Unit of Regional Development and Policy, (University of Macedonia) from 15.5.2009 to 15.2.2010—coordinated by Professor Lois Lamprianidis—taking as a sample 2,734 Greek graduates of higher education institutions who have worked abroad for at least one year: "The labor wages of those who have returned to Greece is much lower compared with those who continue to work abroad. Specifically, 39.4% of those who currently live in Greece have an income of less than 25,000 euros and 34.4% of them have an income greater than 40,000 euros. Only 9.2% of those who live abroad have an income of less than 25,000 euros, while 68.4% of them have an income above 40,000 euros." It is also reported that "the intensity of frustration of graduates for the prospects of finding a job in Greece is shown by the fact that 47.3% of those who took all their degrees in Greece have never sought any job in the country."
Let’s answer the question posed above: there is no hope for recovery. That's because this crisis of overproduction of scientists in Greece and the subsequent brain drain issue have an explanation. The root cause of the brain drain issue is that Greece does not produce complex products and services, despite the fact that its universities "produce" specialists. Moreover, the big mistake has already been done: the country's economy was never built with respect to this perspective. Thus, there is limited demand for graduates. Plus, it is a well-known policy of developed countries to attract trained manpower from not-so-developed countries — this is still another way for the developed countries to undermine the development of the less developed ones.
Everyone who belongs to the "486 euro generation" has to choose between contributing to building a new economy (that will be free from the mistakes of the past) and achieving its material survival. Let's be real—the answer is obvious. As a young man with dreams who loves his country, I urge no-one to get into the "luggage case" and participate in migration. I don’t have, however, an alternative proposal for survival and that is the most unfortunate part.