This will be the last post of this year and my choice is to dedicate it to the Greeks. Yes, to the people of a country that has been almost destroyed in the last years for economic reasons, for the people who has seen everything change for the worst and left behind to pay errors committed in many places out its boundaries. It’s a tiny nation, with less than eleven millions people who found themselves deep down a national debt like never before.
The same country that hosted the Olympic games in 2000, a proud member of the European Union and part of multinational Euro currency, found itself labeled as a nation twisted by corruption, whose governments associate with the most famous international banks in order to hide the real numbers of its falling economy and the catastrophic consequences of many errors in the financial sector. In a matter of few months, from the end of 2009 and the first semester of 2010, everything crumbled down. The political leaderships, the national economic champions, the bank system, even the state-owned companies, nothing stands up under the combined strikes of IMF, WB and European Commission.
The price for the bailout was huge. Some may say cruel. Hardline reforms, the fast-selling of a lot of the national treasure, dismissal of ten of thousands workers from the state-owned companies, each and every move made under the severe scrutiny of foreigners – most of them from country like Germany, megaphones of economic measures based on the most liberal politics you may imagine. To put it blunt, they toss the Greeks to the wolves. But they resist. Even under the most severe conditions, they do everything they can to stand up. And after a couple of years where most of the rage of the common people runs into the political arms of the far-right movements (including a nazi-like party named Golden Dawn), now the political wind is oriented to a new parry, Syriza, and to its young leader Alexis Tsipras.
The Greek economy speeds up in the last two quarters, giving the best European performance in the last few months of this year. This important factor and renewed national pride are fueling up the hopes of the Greeks. They want to get rid of the excessive pressure given from the liberal-oriented economics, they are looking for a way to stop the increasing level of unemployment and to get their country back from the foreign control. A few weeks from now, we will know if this change could occur. If that happens, then maybe Europe will find in itself the force needed to change its economic politics and to finally look to the direction of a sustainable growth.
As usual, next you will find some suggestion for useful books about this thread.
Taso Lagos 86 Days in Greece (A Time Of Crisis)
Maria Negreponti-Delivanis The Lethal Crisis and the Greek Tragedy
Zoltan Pogatsa The Political Economy of the Greek Crisis
Yannis Palaiologos The 13th Labour of Hercules: Inside the Greek Crisis