By Euclid Tsakalotos for Greek Left Review – #glrsi
In Greek Gods, Human Lives (Yale University Press, 2003), Mary Lefkovitz argues that the myths of ancient authors offered not only hope but also a means of understanding. Myths, like ideologies, are never wrong in any straightforward manner, and leftists have much to learn from understanding the role that various current myths play. Below I present three such overlapping myths about the Greek and the eurozone crisis.
The first has to do with Greek exceptionality. It is often argued, that whatever the case elsewhere, in Greece the root cause of the fiscal crisis can be found in a spendthrift and inefficient state, organized on clientelistic principles, and always willing to cave in to sectionalist demands, especially those emanating from powerful public sector unions. Read the rest of this entry »
By Jan Toporowski for Greek Left Review – #glrsi
Since the Greek crisis broke out in the Spring of 2010, many on the Left, their imaginations inflamed by the evident suffering of the Greek people and comment in the financial media, have taken up the theme common on the Right that the solution to the crisis lies in default by the over-indebted governments on their debts and withdrawal from the European Monetary Union. In this, those sections of the Left and the Right have misunderstood the significance of the case for default and withdrawal, and the way in which it is supposed to improve the situation for their countries. Insofar as there is a theory behind this, it is the old commodity money theory, which is also behind the mainstream optimal currency area theory, and that puts forwards the exchange rate as a substitute for real wages in maintaining trade competitiveness. The theory need not detain us here beyond observing that it does not work in a credit economy and, even if it did, Greece in particular is so dependent on imports that no devaluation of a ‘new drachma’, even on the most dramatic scale, could increase employment. The more important policy inspiration is the example of Argentina, which left its currency board with the U.S. dollar in December 2001, and rapidly came out of its economic crisis following a substantial depreciation of the Argentine Peso. Read the rest of this entry »
Greek Left Review
Greece’s participation in the Eurozone is now openly debated while at the same time the former-PM’s proposal for a referendum was quickly withdrawn for fear of further market distress. The newly appointed PM Loukas Papademos rushed to confirm that the ‘salvation government’ (formed by PASOK, New Democracy and LAOS) would proceed as planned in the implementation of the measures discussed in the recent European summit, in an attempt to reassure the markets and his European partners and secure the sixth bailout installment in November. The Greek political situation constitutes an index for the political management of the economic recession throughout the continent.
Greek Left Review, as of today, presents a series of articles in regards to the recent developments, their impact and their implications for Greece and Europe. Our aim is to offer some critical insights on issues concerning:
• the relation of the E.U. as a transnational structure to its constituent Nation States
• the causes of the Crisis, beyond the mainstream narrative around the Greek problem
• the interconnection between the political and the economic level and the future of Democracy in the Continent
• the probability of a Greek default and exit from the Eurozone and the possible implications this may have on the global scale.
We believe that the articulation of a persuasive and hegemonic program on behalf of the Left, should involve, among others, answers to the above-mentioned issues. In the weeks to come economists and theoreticians from the broad array of the Greek and the international Left will contribute to this discussion.
You can follow the archive of articles of this special issue, as these are archived here, or join the conversation on twitter through the hashtag: #glrsi
Graphic (borrowed) by FT’s Ingram Pinn
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