Sunday, January 22, 2012

the most potent symbol of the year gone by

In Athens, the Greek web mag OUGH says, the supermarket cart was the iconic image of 2011. Not because people are out shopping, but because they're out recycling. An enterprising recycler can earn 20 to 30 Euros a day -- $25 to $38 -- and, as a colleague in Greece suggests, many folks with good jobs struggle to pull in much. It's hard work:

The hunt for scrap and the miles that these people walk every day to get it, is not shown in any economical transaction, no invoices are kept, no receipts are issued, just warm, black money is flowing not only to the lower levels of the system but also at the later stages of the reselling process.  For the smallest junkyard to the biggest, again no records are being kept, the paperwork is barely typical, while at the same time, there is a million-euro turnover that reaches up to the steel industry.  We are talking about huge sums of money, the material prices skyrocket from the time the collectors turn them over to the moment they reach the industrial melting pot to be further used again in constructions.  The story is not simple at all, and it bears no relation to what comes out as an image.
But it's also how people survive and thrive in hard times.

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