Destruction as salvation or treating countries like private businesses?

19 Oct

“My basic aim, in this difficult period, [is} every family to have at least one working member” the Greek PM announced during the Thessalonica International Fair official opening last September.  He also assured everyone that his greatest concern is the country’s economic development. The striking irrationality generated by the Greek PM’s self-contradictory discourse (that fantasizes the possibility of development without employment, echoing the charlatanism of the “jobless recovery”), reveals the dramatic failure of the international policies imposed on the Greek society during the past two years or so.

If even a first year economics student knows that there is no development without employment, how is then possible for the Greek PM not to understand such a simple truth? In my view, the answer must be sought to the combination of three main factors: a) the extreme irrationality that characterizes European policies regarding the current systemic crisis, b) the Greek government’s flop to combat tax evasion and to tax wealth where it has been mainly concentrated, that is, in banks and large businesses and c) the absolute indifference of the national and inter/supra-national elites toward the productive rebooting of the Greek and the European economy, combined with an extremely anti-social obsession with the privatization of public property (infrastructure and resources), the deconstruction of public services and institutions and the abolition of all labour rights.

The first one forces an over indebted and productively stripped country to massively increase debt as well as unemployment at the same time, within a severe systemic destabilization. The formula is destined to fail, since it drains all sources of public and private income by bringing down the aggregate demand.

The second one inflates public deficits and passes the crisis burden on to the weakest parts of society, namely the wage earners and pensioners, the unemployed and the poor, who suffer the gravest consequences of the long-lasting and ever-hardening austerity.

Finally, the third one negates every possibility for a counter-recession policy, leaving the Greek economy to sink into the misery of its marginal position within the European division of production, while sharpening the overall contrast between importers and exporters within EU. Instead of planning and allocating resources to developmental processes, the EU and Greek neoliberal obsession with treating countries like private businesses, has condemned Greece to a postmodern rightwing “withering away of the State” that deprives society from infrastructure, institutions, resources, rights and services. The systematic dismantling of the Greek state institutions and the privatization of public property are now opening the door for the revitalization of colonialism within Europe.

Download the full paper here.

By Vangelis Lagos,   Sociologist, in Athens for Unite Scotland.

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