"Our people went in and couldn't believe what they found," a seniorI.M.F. official told me, not long after he'd returned from the I.M.F.'sfirst Greek mission. "The way they were keeping track of theirfinances—they knew how much they had agreed to spend, but no one waskeeping track of what he had actually spent. It wasn't even what youwould call an emerging economy. It was a Third World country."''..The average government job pays almost three times the averageprivate-sector job. The national railroad has annual revenues of 100million euros against an annual wage bill of 400 million, plus 300million euros in other expenses. The average state railroad employeeearns 65,000 euros a year. Twenty years ago a successful businessmanturned minister of finance named Stefanos Manos pointed out that itwould be cheaper to put all Greece's rail passengers into taxicabs:it's still true. "We have a railroad company which is bankrupt beyondcomprehension," Manos put it to me. "And yet there isn't a singleprivate company in Greece with that kind of average pay." The Greekpublic-school system is the site of breathtaking inefficiency: one ofthe lowest-ranked systems in Europe, it nonetheless employs four timesas many teachers per pupil as the highest-ranked, Finland's. Greeks whosend their children to public schools simply assume that they will needto hire private tutors to make sure they actually learn something.There are three government-owned defense companies: together they havebillions of euros in debts, and mounting losses..'' ''VANITYFAIR''