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Greece: Signs of Growth as Austerity eases

Weisbrot, M., (2014), “Greece: Signs of Growth as Austerity eases”, The Guardian, 23 Ιανουαρίου.

It was nearly four years ago that the Greek government negotiated its agreement with the IMF for a harsh austerity program that was ostensibly designed to resolve its budget problems.  Many economists, when we saw the plan, knew immediately that Greece was beginning a long journey into darkness that would last for many years.  This was not because the Greek government had lived beyond its means or lied about its fiscal deficit.  These things could have been corrected without going through six or more years of recession.  It was because of the “solution” itself.

Four years later, Greece is down about a quarter of its pre-recession national income – one of the worst outcomes of a financial crisis in the past century, comparable to the worst downturn of the United States’ Great Depression.  Unemployment has passed 27 percent and more than 58 percent for youth (under 25).  There are fewer Greeks employed than there have been at any time in the past 33 years.  And real public health care spending has been cut by more than 40 percent, at a time when people have needed the public health system more than ever.

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