Dimitris Rapidis

In the recent two-round national elections on May and June 2012, the Greek electorate was definitely puzzled. The conservatives of New Democracy and the leftists of SYRIZA were almost head-to-head with respect to forming a government. With slight advantage, New Democracy won the elections and achieved to form a coalition government along with PASOK and Democratic Left, a party that was formed after a group of deputies left SYRIZA two years ago. Today the coalition government decided to agree on a series of new cuts in order to extract something about 12 billion euro in order to lower public debt and guarantee the soaring of economy by a new loan. Social unrest is expected to be even rougher this time and the Greek society is entering in the last chapter of a tragedy.

There is no end to the measures taken by the Greek coalition government and for once more the Greek side did not convince troika that money can be drawn through combatting tax evasion. Instead, the government decided to set the burden of receiving a new fund in the shoulders of pensioners and employees, as it is said and believed by troika that only through this way money can be collected. Here we have two major conceptual problems that demand analysis:

First, it is outraging the fact that the Greek government while having declared in the pre-electoral period three months ago that there will be no further social and security cuts to serve the debt, it is now taking a new series of austerity measures that will further lower pensions and wages. Greek citizens being already in a tremedously inaffordable position to buy basic goods, pay their loans, and finally to survive, are now once more faced with the red line of poverty. With official stats talking about a 1/3 of people being unemployed and with almost 25% of people living on the edge of poverty, it is at least outrageous to see a newly elected government to ignore the fundamental reason for which it was elected to govern -which is the non-taking of new cuts. On the other side, it goes without saying that this coalition government has no negotiational spirit, nor any sense of social reflexes and what the consequences of such a counter-social rally might be.

Second, it is equally enraging the fact that the representatives of troika have no idea where this austerity spirit can lead. It is more than apparent that the measures taken cannot be implemented for two critical reasons: the first is that people can no more pay even a penny, as in fact after so many cuts they get almost nothing. So how all these employees and pensioners will pay the new fiscal measures? The question is that people will not pay.

Moreover, another issue of deep concern is that the troika is no more convinced by the statements of the Greek government that it will efficiently combat tax evasion. Therefore, it is somehow obliged to demand new pension and wage cuts in order to soar Greek economy with a new loan. In this respect, troika is behaving without taking into account the human variable, in other words without carrying if people have nothing to eat, have no jobs, no future. I am really wondering why no side is examining the growth perspective and the possibility of including some growth reforms, actions, and clauses as a prerequisite of liquiding Greek economy instead of taking rougher anti-social measures.

After all, Greek society is faced with two options that both necessitate courage and patience: the first option is to press against the implementation of the new measures, and the second is to get prepared for the forthcoming elections. Even if elections generally break down the rythms of governing and pre-suppose a period a preparation, this period of dehumanization and degradation cannot keep going like that. People should realize that the old-fashioned and corrupted parties ruling Greece since 1980 have to be stopped from drilling the society until human exhaustion.

By the same token, people should after all trust a different political force and give the chance to SYRIZA to govern and try to reset the negotiational appeal of the country, aiming to reverse the humiliating conditions penetrating the Greek society. This will definitely be a tough process, but at least there is a chance hope can get back to the first financial experiment of the global and European crisis called “Greece”.

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Comments

  1. When will be held next elections? Until the old-fashioned and corrupted party-members having ruled Greece since 1980 are sent to prison it is difficult for Greece to be credited and trusted by the external world. People’s strikes and demonstrations should be aimed at sending the old guard to prison rather than stop wage-reduction and economics in general.

    1. Dear Elio,
      I pressume that as economic standards and social unrest are getting even harsher, the newly-agreed austerity measures wont be implemented in practice. Thus, I predict that a new election round would take place on spring 2013 or lately in autumn.

  2. The Euro is the main cause why Greece’s problems are so bad right now. Greece badly needs to get out of it, and no do not believe the Euro-propaganda horror stories, Greece would be infinitely better off without the Euro. Still there would be major problems, but the chief problem (the Euro) would be gone. Better off in record time, I reckon. And as for financial markets? Just don’t pay anyone back, and don’t borrow money.

    Oh, and the leaders of PASOK and ND should go to jail for treason against the people of Greece. And yes its treason to put peoples interests behind bankers interests. Bankers are not people, they are stealing and manipulating everything.

    1. Dear Marc,
      I firmly agree with your remarks over treason, but I hardly see an alternative economic model of management outside Eurozone. I believe that this goes beyond Greece, as a possible Greek exit would lure other states facing overdebtedness to do the same. This scenario is not at all elaborated by the EU and Eurogroup and would definitely lead to uncontrolable consequences and a possible breakdown of the entire European market. Still, Greece and other states should start pondering upon new alternatives so that they can be prepared for the impredictable.

  3. Dear Dimitri,
    the situation in your country is certainly difficult, but mostly self inflicted by the Greek people for the following reasons.

    1.) Belief of the population in unrealstic policy making by a corrupt cast
    2.) massive spending of inexisting money thanks to low interested rates after joining the Eurozone => this let to a standard of living that was completely inadequat to the economic capability of the country
    3.) Greek people should accept that they have to pay the price as they wanted to have similar living conditions as in central/northern Europe which is irrealistic with severe weeknesses in policy making, research and stable competive economy
    4.) Greece should compare to the other Balkan states and Turkey for a more realistic level of standard of living, comparison to industrialized countries is doomed to fail, as Greece has never reached this level.

    Cheers,
    flo

    1. Dear Flo,

      I definitely agree with some of your points, but I believe that it is unfair and biased to see the one side of the coin. It is not only a matter of Greek politics, but respectively a matter of European politics. It is not Greece that was admitted by itself in Eurozone, but it was a mutual decision of the European Union. In addition to this, austerity measures taken are not the solution to the problem, but they literally contribute to the aggravation of the problem.

      Furthemore, as you see, it is not only Greece, but also Spain and Italy, and soon France. When France starts to experience respective recession and downturn, then we will see the wider image. The entire Eurozone establishement is ill-shaped, and all member-states should sit down and discuss how growth and a different economic model can be achieved and implemented.

      After all, the most dangerous thing for the European Union and its citizens is to start blame each other or partially attribute responsibilities.

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