Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Great to see MERA (Diem25) getting a look in, and Yannis Varoufakis back to create a little mayhem with his economically orthodox but politically "beyond the pale" policies. Like you, I am no expert on Greece, but from what little I hear things have been improving slowly off a very low base, with growth of 1.4% in 2017 and 1.9% in 2018 following a 30% decline in the years 2008-13 and stagnation thereafter.

Hopefully the conservatives won't be able to completely sell off all public assets and destroy all public services in their time in office. It would be ironic, but typical, if Syriza were turfed out just as the economy had turned the corner and New Democracy claimed all the credit despite putting that recovery at risk with unnecessary austerity policies.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Jul 8th, 2019 at 02:27:24 PM EST
According to Trading Economics, Greece GDP took another hit in 2015, and at lowest in 2016 was a mere 54% of 2008. The growth in 2017 and 2018 brings it up to 66% of 2008. Oh, and debt/GDP is still stuck at 180%, so the crisis may restart as soon as loans need to be rolled over and the Council and ECB wants to.
by fjallstrom on Mon Jul 8th, 2019 at 09:14:31 PM EST
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I was relying on Wiki which also states that Greece's national debt was reduced from 172% of nominal GDP in 2011 to 137% of GDP in the first quarter of 2012 following the biggest debt re-structuring in history since when it has crept back up to 182% due to the decline in GDP and interest paid to creditors who have made a killing since.

On the plus side, modest GDP growth has returned, interest rates on new borrowing have declined to almost 2%, and a degree of political stability seems to have returned with Syriza achieving 31.5% of the vote despite having to lead the country through the worst of it. Of course a lot of irreversible damage will have been done to personal lives and institutions in the meantime and any improvements will be modest indeed, even under benign economic scenarios.

My concern is that there have been a number of instances where neo-liberal parties, beginning Reagan,  have come to power on the back of a major recession just as the incumbent leftist/centrist parties in power have turned the corner. The neo-liberals have then made the situations much worse with needless austerity policies, only to take the credit when the economy rebounded some years later - just in time for the next election.

Trump has taken the opposite approach, needlessly boosting an already growing economy with tax cuts for corporates and the rich and taking the credit for a boom that was already happening anyway - while in the meantime greatly boosting borrowing Republicans had previously castigated Democrats for.

So we have two myths being propagated:

  1. Austerity helps economies recover, and
  2. It is the job of centrists/leftists to curb borrowing which neo-liberals can then boost to fund tax cuts for the rich and generate short term booms to their electoral advantage.

Part of the decline of the left is that they have allowed themselves to be brow beaten by the money markets/deficit scolds into curbing borrowing, and thereby slowing recovery, allowing the right to take power and letting borrowing rip despite this leading to the crash of 2008 for which the right, in most countries, seem to have miraculously managed to escape responsibility - at least after a short period in opposition.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jul 9th, 2019 at 10:47:04 AM EST
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