Thursday, October 22, 2015

The origins of the Greek debt crisis, and the conditions under which the economy might be turned around from its current malaise, are both explored in depth in Greek Endgame: From Austerity to Growth or Grexit (Rowman & Littlefield, Oct 2015), the new book by Nicos Christodoulakis, Professor at the Athens University of Economics and Business, Research Associate at the Hellenic Observatory of London School of Economics, and Former Minister of Finance for Greece (2002-2003). 

The book contextualises the crisis in its European, international, and historical settings, analyzing the dilemmas inherent in the bailout strategy followed. The author argues that the Greek debt turned explosive after the 2008 global crisis, spurred by fiscal spree and complacency.

However, the problem of liquidity was intensified by the EU’s unprepared and irresolute response, hence the inevitable and massive bail-out agreement, a high-risk strategy under any name. The stringencies of the ensuing adjustment programme led, predictably, to more recession and unemployment, while social tension and political polarization became entrenched.

Making the point that a long-lasting growth and reform agenda has still to be decided on, Christodoulakis proposes key reforms that would allow Greece to return to growth and, at the same time, keep the Euro, an option that remains a cornerstone for the country’s economic and geopolitical stability.