This might have something to do with it: Starting an Online Store is No Easy Business
It took 10 months, a fat bundle of paperwork, countless certificates, long hours of haggling with bureaucrats and overcoming myriad other inconceivable obstacles for one group of young entrepreneurs to open an online store…
Antonopoulos and his partners spent hours collecting papers from tax offices, the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the municipal service where the company is based, the health inspector’s office, the fire department and banks. At the health department, they were told that all the shareholders of the company would have to provide chest X-rays, and, in the most surreal demand of all, stool samples.
Which both fails to surprise me from what I’ve read of the processes for starting new businesses in Europe generally, and does surprise me given my impression during my visit there in 1995 that everyone seemed to be running one or more small businesses.
But this is both surprising and funny:
Antonopoulos describes the massive difference between the treatment he and his partners received from the Greek authorities and the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA), whose approval Oliveshop.com needed in order to export its products to the USA.
“I contacted the FDA and they sent us an e-mail with directions immediately. I filled in an online form and was done in five minutes. We received the approval 24 hours after making our application.”
Of all bureaucracies, our FDA is shown to be a model of efficiency. Who woulda thought it?
And this part fits my own experiences with setting up an online business (People’s Press Collective). It took me all of an hour to fill out the state and federal LLC forms online, and part of that was waiting for the federal tax ID to be emailed to me automatically. No begging for permission. No X-rays or stool samples (?!). No funny business. Once we had the tax ID, we could open a business bank account as easily as a personal one.
Speaking of banks…Bruce seems to think that “international bankers” (and you know who they are…) are at the root of Greece’s problems, rather than a bloated, overly-bureaucratic state apparatus which promised everything to everyone believing the bill would never come due as it now has. I guess you have to have someone to blame when a state reflecting a lot of your own utopian ideals (minimal work hours, cradle-to-grave social welfare schemes, etc.) goes belly-up.