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For Rent: The Acropolis?

For Rent: The Acropolis?
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Greece is faced yet again with the possibility of defaulting on its massive debt. On Tuesday, the country’s culture ministry said that it may make some of its many archaeological sites open to advertising and other ventures. Doing so, says a report in Agence-France Presse, is meant to “facilitate” access to Greece’s many ruins, as well as to provide money to help with their upkeep and monitoring. The first site available will be one of the most famous, the Acropolis in the center of Athens.

The Acropolis overlooks Syntagma Square, where Greeks have been assembling to protest the austerity measures –wage cuts and tax increases, such as a tax on energy use — that the Greek government has had to push through, in order to receive bailout funds — 130 billion euro ($165.5 billion) in total – from the “troika” of the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Greece is attempting to decrease its debt by 100 billion euros through 2014, by forcing bankers to take a 50 percent loss on new bonds received in a debt exchange. This “haircut” means that investors could lose up to 60 or 70 percent and is a huge and hard pill to swallow. Hedge fund managers have responded by saying that they may sue Greece in a human rights court to pay up on its debts, the New York Times reports. While such a tactic is “not… likely to produce sympathy for these funds, which many blame for the lack of progress so far in the negotiations over restructuring Greece’s debt,” legal experts say the hedge funds may have a case because property rights are human rights in Europe. The funds would be arguing in the European Court of Human Rights that bondholder rights have been violated.

Talks between the Greek government and private bondholders broke down last week and resumed this Wednesday. Greece has adopted a “more aggressive tone” towards its creditors under pressure from Germany, which has insisted that, with Greece’s debt comprising 140 percent of its GDP, it must be reduced as quickly as possible.

Archaeological Sites For Rent: Sacrilege?

Hence the culture ministry’s announcement (made via a December memo) to offer a professional photographic shoot of the Acropolis for as little as 1,600 euros a day ($2,046). Previously, Greece’s Central Council of Archaeology has been very resistant to granting access to the country’s archaeological treasures and archaeologists consider renting them out for commercial and such uses sacrilege.

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Photo of the Acropolis seen through the third floor of the Acropolis Museum by the author.

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8:23PM PST on Jan 22, 2012

If the money would alleviate the suffering of live humans, yes, I'm in favor. But I suspect that there's money to be made by other means (affecting Greece's 1%), and that some private company is going to haul away most of the income from this.

6:16AM PST on Jan 21, 2012

For worse. Seriously, the collective amnesia that these are the exact same conditions Papadopolous rose in is reaching the absurd, and when another rises to rescue Greece from becoming the first twisted, tortured specimen in the creation of the first corporate state, I will dance a dance most frabjous!

1:55AM PST on Jan 21, 2012

Toga Party!!!!

10:18PM PST on Jan 20, 2012

It could be either a good thing or a bad thing IF they do rent out the Acropolis.
A good thing in that a private company would, hopefully, have the resources to help with the upkeep of this wonderful piece of ancient civilization. Be able to guard it effectively from pillagers and help turn the Greece debt crisis around.
It could also be a bad thing in that, said private company would not keep up the Acropolis and being under contract, nothing could be done until the contract ended. The guards or even people from the company would be bribed for pieces of a wonderous structure that we should not lose.
Good luck to Greece and to the rest of us if they dont get things sorted.

6:48PM PST on Jan 20, 2012


2:47PM PST on Jan 20, 2012

Calm down people these are rumors

12:57PM PST on Jan 20, 2012

No, advertising should not be posted on such an ancient ediface. Anything to make money, thats capitalism for you.

11:16AM PST on Jan 20, 2012

Hedge Funds and the Stock Market are the Blood Suckers of modern society.
This is a bad idea but may be necessary for the survival of the country. Sad, very Sad.

11:11AM PST on Jan 20, 2012

I am surprised they don't just sell them outright.

10:23AM PST on Jan 20, 2012

"Wrong. This is not socialism, this is capitalism. Privatization is always capitalism."

It's amazing how badly you misunderstood the point. It was social welfare policies that brought Greece (and other EU countries) to this crisis.

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