Tuesday, July 17, 2012

How much does a Greek earn?

Some economists talk about the 'Mars bar index', i.e. using the price of a Mars bar as a metric for inflation, or to measure the relative value of currencies. I prefer to use the price of beer.  In Greece I thought it was unusually expensive, namely E3.50 for a 400ml glass.  This was the local beer (Mythos) as opposed to any imported rubbish.  Converting to more natural units (pint, sterling) gives us about £4 a pint (multiplying by 568/400, dividing by 1.2).  This is more expensive than many places in cold, grey London.

I wondered whether this was just seasonal loading, but the taxi driver (who by definition must be right) said that this was standard.  This must be why there are so many Greeks in London: the driver, who has a degree in environmental science, said that the average starting salary for a graduate in Greece - assuming a job is available, which it usually isn't - is about E6,000. 

Rent is much lower in Greece, of course - the driver estimated about E300 per month for a reasonable apartment, whereas the nearest equivalent in London would be above E1,200, probably well above.  And of course, as I mentioned in my earlier post, it is usually sunny in Greece.

I was staying in Macedonia - not far from Aristotle's birthplace in Stagira, as it happens, though I didn't have time to visit, and he probably wouldn't have been in.  I will explore the phenomenon of Greek driving in a subsequent post - this is another area where I have deep disagreement with the Maverick.

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