This site is for archive purposes. Please visit for latest updates
Go to Top

Greece’s Economic and Political Traps

Konstandaras, N. (2014) “Greece’s Economic and Political Traps“, The New York Times Opinion Pages, 26 Οκτωβρίου.


Five years into the Greek crisis, it is becoming increasingly difficult to hope that it will end anytime soon. Perhaps we expected too much: that the largest international bailout in history would help set the economy back on its feet within a couple of years; that we could put the problems that had brought us to the brink of bankruptcy behind us; that our political system would change, with new forces sweeping away incompetence and corruption.

But it would take a revolution to overturn frameworks, mentalities and behaviors developed over decades. What we have had, instead, is a relentless devaluation at every level: Greek society has lost a great deal, and gained little in return. We are caught in two traps — economic and political — that combine to make escape seem impossible.

For the past few years, Greece has been in the hole of austerity and recession. Our gross domestic product contracted by over a quarter between 2008 and 2013, with household wealth dropping by 23 percent since 2007, according to a September report produced by the Julius Baer Group. The percentage of Greeks at risk of poverty or severe deprivation has climbed to 35.7 percent, from 27.6 percent in 2009.

Consequently, more and more people are falling deep into debt, with over a billion euros in nonperforming loans being added each month to the bill (of at least 75 billion euros, or over 34 percent of all loans in August). Tax debts were at €70.16 billion in September. Just as the economy’s contraction has made public debt an unbearable 174.9 percent of G.D.P., the lack of credit and ever higher taxes have ravaged businesses, pushing unemployment up and keeping it high. (After six years of recession, the economy is expected to grow slightly this year.)


Σχετικές αναρτήσεις: