Billionaire investor Warren Buffet has announced his intention to buy Greece in order to save the global economy. The purchase price, still to be announced, is expected to be in the neighborhood of two hundred billion dollars, which he plans to raise through a consortium of investors, including Pincus, Warburg and the Blackstone Group. It is Buffet’s contention that for too long, countries like Greece failed to run themselves as “for profit” entities.
Buffet will incorporate Greece as a corporation in Delaware. The new company, Greece, Inc., will abolish the present government and replace it with a board of directors made up of prominent members of the international business community who will begin immediately to conduct a search for its first CEO, with Sergio Marchionnne speculated to be the leading candidate. The Italian Canadian turnaround artist currently heads FIAT, the Italian automaker that has taken over Chrysler and that also includes the luxury brand, Maserati. He also has his eye on reviving SAAB, the former Swedish automaker that has fallen on hard times.
“We see Marchionne as a perfect fit, “Buffet explained. “If anyone can turn around Greece, he’s the one.” Greece, Inc. will be strictly non-union, with a pay scale designed to attract foreign investors. Several Chinese companies have already expressed interest in starting several manufacturing entities, including toy and textile manufacturing. A consortium from Macao has also expressed interest in creating and expanding casino gambling on the Greek Islands, designed to bring in considerable revenue.
In order to combat the lack of a work ethic in Greece, the new company’s motto will be “work or starve.” All state subsidies will end and workers will be expected to work at a minimum wage. They will also be responsible for their own medical care and retirement. The education system will be entirely revamped, with schools dedicated to training workers for specific industries. The universities will drop all extraneous subjects, such as literature and philosophy and will, instead, train young Greeks to enter the work force as employable professionals, particularly as engineers and managers. “We can’t afford to waste money on culture,” Buffet mused. “What Greece needs now are businesses that can compete on the world market.”
Top on the list for moneymaking will be tourism, but on an entirely different level from the past. “Greece must
cease to be quaint,” Buffet exclaimed over a lunch of steak and potatoes at his favorite restaurant in Omaha, Nebraska. “We will develop ancient Greek theme parks, such as Sparta, where tourists can enjoy the recreation of the Spartan tradition of fighting, done in traditional costumes. “We expect to attract wealthy lesbians to holiday on Lesbos, where there will be lavish entertainments based on the poetry of Sappho. In other venues, there will be recreations of the Iliad and the Odyssey, including special events exhibits for children. “Disney has expressed a considerable interest in developing the theme parks,” Buffet related. “And there will be luxury hotels with casinos and expensive restaurants that will specialize in the cuisine of ancient Greece. Planned also is a recreation of Vesuvius erupting and destroying Pompeii. Greek tragedies, rewritten to accommodate the sensibilities of American tourists, including happy endings, will be performed at imitation Greek outdoor theaters, where snacks will be sold by Greek youths in traditional costumes.
A special feature, designed to attract a wide audience, will be a staged trial of Socrates, including a mock version of his suicide by drinking imitation hemlock. And tourists will be able to wander through olive groves to hear Plato and Aristotle teaching, but in English instead of ancient Greek. A reproduction of both the Academy and the Lyceum will have comfortable chairs and tables and pleasant restaurants and bars.
There will be a mass expansion of the olive industry and the production of Greek wine, excluding retsina, because of its harsh taste. There will be a major campaign to reintroduce Metaxa brandy, Fidel Castro’s favorite. Castro has agreed to tape a commercial for Metaxa, in which he explains that he never touches rum, and enjoys Cuban cigars only with Metaxa.
Buffet expects to take Greece, Inc. public in two years, paying down Greek’s debt in five. “After that “ he exclaimed, “It will be all profit all the time,” giving rise to countless jobs and a rising GDP. He sees limitless opportunities on the horizon, not just for Greece, but also for Ireland, Portugal and even Spain, if it should come to that. He envisions all of Europe as one vast theme park, including a mock European parliament. “I see this as a model for the world,” he concluded. “The nation state is basically obsolete. They keep going into deeper and deeper debt because they are run without a sound business model. That has to change.”