One of the most cherished neo-liberal myths is that the responsibility for the malaise of Greece and the origins of its debt lie squarely in the corrupt practices of state officials and public sector workers, its clientelistic party system and the inefficiency of its tax-collecting mechanisms. This, so it is claimed, has resulted in a weak civil society and a bloated state apparatus, which has suffocated the ‘entrepreneurial’ spirit of the Greek people and held down rates of growth and modernization. The failure of Greece, a peripheral state, to ‘catch-up’ with the advanced European and western core enjoying the fruits of globalization and European integration is attributed to this phenomenon. Overall, therefore, patronage, clientelism, nepotism and corruption are seen as responsible for Greece’s plight today.
Insight Greece: The Origins of the Present Crisis*
This commentary counters conservative, liberal, and social democratic explanations about Greece’s sovereign debt crisis. It advances an original analysis as to what the sources of the Greek debt are and what steps should be taken in order to emerge successfully from it. The argument put forth is that responsibility for the country’s debt should be placed squarely on the shoulders of Greece’s two main parties ruling the country since 1974 (New Democracy and PASOK) in conjunction with the Euro-Atlantic political elites, the inter-section of which is straddled by a comprador-cum-financial oligarchy Greek style. The solution is a debtor-led default and immediate exit from the eurozone. But, it is maintained that this cannot take place under the aegis of the old two-party corrupt regime.
The Greek people are not primarily responsible for the Greek debt. The cycle of debt creation via domestic and external borrowing was initiated and reproduced by the ruling elites for political and electoral purposes.
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