GR Political Economy Digest #18

tsipras_IliasMakris

Here are the top articles on the political economy of Greece to read today:

  1. Greece: The gathering storm, by Nick Malkoutzis | Macropolis.gr, Mar 5 2015
  2. Eurozone QE is here. What could possibly go wrong?, by Alen Mattich | The Wall Street Journal (Moneybeat), Mar 5 2015
  3. Greece Struggles to Make Debt Math Work in Bailout Standoff, by Nikolaos Chrysoloras, Rebecca Christie and Vassilis Karamanis | Bloomberg, Mar 5 2015
  4. Greece outlines radical immigration reforms, by Preethi Nallu | Al Jazeera, Mar 5 2015
  5. 5 questions ECB boss Draghi will face at Thursday’s meeting, by Sara Sjolin | MarketWatch, Mar 5 2015
  6. Spain insists Greece will need a third bailout – as it happened, by Angela Monaghan | The Guardian, Mar 4 2015
  7. Germany says third Greek aid package not on Eurogroup agenda, by Andreas Rinke and Madeline Chambers | Reuters, Mar 4 2015
  8. Can Greece avoid going bankrupt this month?, by Mehreen Khan | The Telegraph, Mar 4 2015
  9. Greece’s survival depends on more than debt agreements, by Peter Foster | Financial Post, Mar 3 2015
  10. Austerity is not Greece’s problem, by Ricardo Hausmann | Project Syndicate, Mar 3 2015
  11. Syriza’s about-face, by Stathis N. Kalyvas | Foreign Affairs, Mar 2 2015

Photo: Ilias Makris (Kathimerini, 01/03/2015)

GR Political Economy Digest #17

NEIN

While Friday’s Eurogroup storm seems to have passed, today is an equally (if not more) important date for the fate of Greece. Yanis Varoufakis, the Greek Minister of Finance, is expected to send a list of proposed reforms to TIFKAT (The ‘Institutions’ Formerly Known As Troika) for approval. Analysts, markets, and entire governments might have sighed in relief on Friday, but it is today actually that will illuminate whether a substantial compromise has been reached in the last Eurogroup meeting.

There is not much to say at this point, other than to wait and see what Varoufakis has planned. The list of reforms is expected to be quite short (no longer than 3-5 pages) and concise. Hopefully, it will also include meaningful proposals that speak more of a “compromise,” rather than the hardcore Left platform of Syriza or ANEL. “Wait, what?,” you may ask. “Who cares about those hardcore Lefties and the few ultra-nationalist crazies of ANEL? They are a fringe part anyways, right? And they wouldn’t jeopardize their ascent to power so soon, would they? As long as the moderate part of Syriza is willing to compromise, then there is no problem!” Well… I would love to share your optimism, but I am quite wary of the influence of the anti-austerity and anti-reform hardliners. I am also quite confident that we will witness some important schisms in the next couple of weeks – iff (if and only if) Varoufakis and Tsipras are true to Friday’s deal. Some senior Syriza officials and important figures of the Left have already begun speaking up (Manolis Glezos, John Milios, Sofia Sakorafa, and even Mikis Theodorakis). I suspect that more voices will soon follow in tune. Will that be enough to bring the government down? This is extremely early to say. But don’t be surprised if the inter-governmental dynamics change drastically in the upcoming weeks.

In any case, happy Lent Monday everybody! Here is the list of the top articles to read on the political economy of Greece today: 

  1. Greece: Four more months of hope and risks, by Frederik Ducrozet | Credit Agricole CIB, Feb 23 2015
  2. Greek bailout: Athens submits economic reform plan today (Live updates), by Graeme Wearden | The Guardian, Feb 23 2015
  3. Tsipras tamed as economists declare Greece loses austerity fight, by Simon Kennedy & Jennifer Ryan | Bloomberg, Feb 23 2015
  4. Greece scrambles to send draft reforms to EU institutions, by Peter Spiegel & Kerin Hope | The Financial Times, Feb 23 2015
  5. In defence of can-kicking, by Duncan Weldon | Medium, Feb 23 2015
  6. A hard week ahead for Greece after a last-minute deal, by Max Ehrenfreund | The Washington Post, Feb 23 2015
  7. Greece’s future is its past, by Rebecca Harding | Pieria, Feb 23 2015
  8. Greece: A debt colony with a bit of “home rule”, by Paul Mason | Channel4 News, Feb 23 2015
  9. Varoufakis ‘absolutely certain’ Greek reforms will meet approval | Deutsche Welle, Feb 22 2015
  10. Spain said to lead EU push to force terms on Greece, by Nikolaos Chrysoloras & Karl Stagno Navarra | Bloomberg, Feb 22 2015
  11. Ten days that shook the euro; how Greece came to the brink, by Alastair MacDonald & Jan Strupczewski | Reuters, Feb 22 2015
  12. Greece readies reform promises, by George Georgiopoulos | Reuters, Feb 22 2015

Photo Credits: Ilias Makris (Kathimerini, 22.02.2015)

GR Political Economy Digest #16

pavlopouleto

Habemus Pavlopoulos! As of today evening, Greece has a new President of the Democracy (PtD). Prokopis Pavlopoulos, former Minister for the Interior, Public Administration and Decentralization (2004-2007) and Minister for the Interior and Public Order (2007-2009) with New Democracy, has just been voted as the new PtD. A lawyer and influential legal scholar in Greece, Pavlopoulos was nominated by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras himself on Tuesday noon.

But Pavlopoulos was both an unexpected and an unwelcome choice for the vast majority of the Greek people. He was unexpected because, up until the last moment, Greek media were almost certain that New Democracy’s Dimitris Avramopoulos (the current European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship) would be Tsipras’s pick. Moreover, the two other names thrown in the rumor frenzy by the press, former PM Kostas Karamanlis and former MEP Marietta Giannakou, did not point towards Provopoulos’s direction at all.  In a surprising move, and after not announcing his nomination as planned on Sunday night, Alexis Tsipras nominated Provopoulos instead yesterday.

But Pavlopoulos is also viewed as a highly unwelcome choice. He was Minister for the Interior and Public Order during the 2008 December riots that caused enormous damages in Athens and other major cities, but failed to handle the situation accordingly. He was heavily attacked back then, both by regular citizens who viewed their property being damaged or looted right in front of their eyes, and by the party of Syriza, who accused him, together with the police, for plotting various schemes and acts of brutality. Pavlopoulos is also infamous for authorizing more than 800,000 hirings in the public sector as a Minister for the New Democracy government, between 2004 and 2009. If the notion of ‘clientelism’ could be personified, he would definitely be one of the highest contenders for the title.

Despite all that, Pavlopoulos was eventually named the new PtD of Greece, voted by 233 MPs (out of a total of 300), including the majority of New Democracy MPs and former PM Antonis Samaras himself.

Leaving aside the election for the PtD, the Greek government has a lot of ground to cover in the days to come in order to secure the continuing financing of the country. But so does Germany and the rest of the Eurozone partners, if they aim to arrive at a substantive and meaningful deal with Greece. Accordingly, the ECB – which has emerged as a sort-of power broker in the past few weeks – has also a big role to play in all of this. Let us hope that both sides can pour some water in their wines, and meet somewhere halfway through, with the ECB acting as a constructive addition rather than impediment to an upcoming agreement. Otherwise, there is no way for this story to have a good ending. Time is running, and money running out. The sooner there is a deal, the better for Greece.

Addendum: It has come to my attention that few blogs and websites have linked to this post, with some people contesting the total number of hirings authorized by Pavlopoulos. Since this is an important issue, let me point you to a few more links on the subject matter. The accusations against Pavlopoulos have been leveled by the newspaper Ta Nea a while back. Indeed, not many other newspapers have delved into the matter, and Pavlopoulos has himself refuted the claims on a radio-show once. Nevertheless, there has been no official statement from neither Pavlopoulos, nor New Democracy to refute the total number of the hirings (that I know of). And even if there is, and the (yet to be disputed) number is wrong, one thing is for sure: Pavlopoulos did authorize the hiring of a hell lot of people during his tenure. He did nurture the clientelistic Greek state even further. And that is a sad reality.

The top articles on the Greek political economy to read before you go to bed tonight are:

  1. What deal could be struck to keep Greece in the Eurozone?, by Raoul Ruparel | Open Europe, Feb 18 2015
  2. Greece to submit loan request to euro zone, Germany resists, by Renee Maltezou and John O’Donnell | Reuters, Feb 18 2015
  3. Greece gets lifeline as ECB agrees €3.3bn extra emergency funds, by Jennifer Rankin, Graeme Wearden and Helena Smith | The Guardian, Feb 18 2015
  4. Greece’s game of chicken is starting to get dangerous, by Matt O’ Brien | The Washington Post, Feb 18 2015
  5. Power broker in Greek debt crisis could be the E.C.B., by Jack Ewing | The New York Times, Feb 18 2015
  6. Greece’s key pledges and requests at the Eurogroup meetings | Macropolis.gr, Feb 18 2015
  7. Calling Greece’s loan-agreement bluff: A giant red herring, by Gabriele Steinhauser and Viktoria Dendrinou | The Wall Street Journal, Feb 18 2015
  8. The world-historic depths of Greece’s economic misery, charted, by Jordan Weissman | Slate (Moneybox), Feb 18 2015
  9. Kammenos makes media threat, compares euro talks to resistance against Ottomans | Kathimerini, Feb 18 2015
  10. Even as progressives take lead in Greece, women remain out of power, by Joanna Kakissis | NPR, Feb 18 2015
  11. Why Angela Merkel is holding firm on Greece, by Mark Gilbert | The Chicago Tribune, Feb 17 2015
  12. Give Greece Room to Maneuver, by the Editorial Board | The New York Times, Feb 17 2015
  13. PM Tsipras declares war at home on Greece’s ‘oligarchs’, by Stephen Grey | Reuters, Feb 17 2015

Photo: Ilias Makris (Kathimerini)

GR Political Economy Digest #15

MAKRIS_KATHIMERINI

So many things have happened in the past week or so. And so many more are to come until the month is over.

Today, late at night, Syriza will announce its nomination for the new President of the Democracy (PtD) in Greece. Name-dropping about who will be nominated for PtD has begun as early as before the January elections. Two names that figured prominently in the rumors and speculations circulating via the Greek press are Dimitris Avramopoulos, a career-diplomat and former Minister in various Greek cabinets, currently serving as the European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs, and Citizenships, and Kostas Karamanlis, the former Prime Minister of Greece. Both of these people come from the New Democracy party (currently in opposition), and are considered emblematic figures of the center-right. Another name that circulated in the Greek press in the past few days is Marietta Giannakou, another (highly esteemed) member of the New Democracy party, who has served twice as Minister in a Greek cabinet, and was a MEP from 2009 to 2014. Out of the three, Giannakou is the less controversial choice, and the person with the biggest and most meaningful work legacy while in office. Nevertheless, given that she is facing some serious health problems at the moment, the chances are slim that she would be selected.

If you might wonder as to why the radical-left Syriza would nominate a center-right politician as the new PtD, no need to give it too much thought. It is standard practice for many years now in Greece for the party in power to nominate a seemingly un-harmful politician from the opposition as PtD, especially given the limited authority and leverage entailed with the ceremonial position. It is a clever tactic to show willingness to compromise in the spirit of democratic politics.

Tomorrow, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will meet with the Eurozone finance ministers to continue the negotiations that went south in last week’s Eurogroup. Tsipras remains confident that a viable solution will be found and that the negotiations will result in a “win-win” situation for all relevant parties. While the foreign press has largely drawn attention to the thin thread upon which Greece is currently walking on (as well as the devastating repercussions that will follow for the rest of the Eurozone if that thread won’t be able to hold Greece’s weight), Syriza’s official announcements, as well as the majority of the Greek press, have been intentionally painting a very rosy picture of the negotiations. For instance, while the Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis was, by and large, isolated in last Thursday’s Eurogroup meeting in Brussels, Greek media (TV, newspapers and portals) turned him into a heroic figure that supposedly went into the meeting with confidence, held the country’s head high, and “stole the show.”

Unfortunately, the reality is that Thursday’s Eurogroup meeting did not go that well. In fact, it didn’t go well at all. Varoufakis gave his (typical by now) theoretical talk, using fancy words and grand ideas. There were no data, no charts, no numbers from the Greek side. This, of course, did not sit well with the rest of the Eurozone partners who want exact numbers, specific percentages, and clear-cut reform proposals. But more importantly, at the last minute, when everyone thought that there was an agreement on the common press statement typically released at the end of the meeting, Varoufakis broke the consensus and no statement was released. By that time, many Finance Ministers, such as Germany’s Wolfgang Schauble, had already left the building.

I hope that tomorrow’s meeting will be more fruitful. We have already started to see certain glimmers of realism from the Greek side, something that even the Germans seem to have noticed. Given the number of protests that are planned to happen around Europe today in support of Greece, there might be a good chance that Germany will be pressured to loosen its stance. But this is only going to happen if Greece arrives at the meeting with neither generalities nor Varoufakis’s game-theory gimmicks, but rather with serious proposals, concrete plans, and specific numbers.

Without further ado, here are the top reads on the Greek political economy for today: 

  1. Eurozone must not allow Greece to become another Lehman Brothers, by the Business Leader | The Guardian, Feb 15 2015
  2. Greek prime minister ‘full of confidence’ ahead of Eurogroup meeting, by Caroline Copley | Reuters, Feb 15 2015
  3. Greeks brim with pride as country totters on the edge, by Karolina Tagaris and Deepa Babington | Reuters, Feb 15 2015
  4. Geopolitics versus politics in Greek debt drama, by Paul Taylor | Reuters, Feb 15 2015
  5. Greek exit from eurozone would be worst option, says bailout fund chief, by Andrea Thomas | The Wall Street Journal, Feb 15 2015
  6. Reforms, bloody reforms, by Frances Coppola | Coppola Comment, Feb 15 2015
  7. Eyes of the world on Greece, by Mike Peacock | Reuters, Feb 15 2015
  8. Greece’s Excess Burden, by Paul Krugman | The New York Times (Krugman’s Blog), Feb 15 2015
  9. SDOE to receive more power to go after tax evaders | Kathimerini, Feb 15 2015
  10. Greece and the euro: Hitting the ground running—backwards | The Economist, Feb 14 2015
  11. Greece faces  the cold stare of its creditor countries, by Arthur Beesley | The Irish Times, Feb 14 2015

 

Image Source: Ilias Makris (Kathimerini)

GR Political Economy Digest #14

  1. Greek finance minister says deal with EU will be done, ‘even at eleventh hour’, by Angeliki Koutantou and Karolina Tagaris | Reuters, Feb 14 2015
  2. EU states in unforgiving mood on Greece | The Irish Times, Feb 14 2015
  3. Deepening Ties Between Greece and Russia Sow Concerns in West, by James Marson | The Wall Street Journal, Feb 13 2015
  4. Reforming Greek Reform, by Dani Rodrik | Project Syndicate, Feb 13 2015
  5. White House warns Europe on Greek showdown, by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard | The Telegraph, Feb 13 2015
  6. The agony of Greece, by the Data Team | The Economist (Daily Chart), Feb 13 2015
  7. Yanis Varoufakis: ‘If I weren’t scared, I’d be dangerous’, by Helena Smith | The Guardian, Feb 13 2015
  8. Greece and Europe: No bail-out, no deal | The Economist, Feb 13 2015
  9. Greek Debt Standoff Awaits a Decisive Move, by Landon Thomas Jr. and Jack Ewing | The New York Times (Dealbook), Feb 12 2015
  10. Everybody be cool, by Yiannis Mouzakis | Macropolis, Feb 12 2015

GR Political Economy Digest #13

TRALALA

The Greek government is called to make some major decisions in terms of its economic program in the next few weeks. There is very little time available to Alexis Tsipras’s coalition, not much leeway, and yet too much to do. Although both the Greek Prime Minister and his Finance Minister, Yanis Varoufakis, have softened their tone with their international counterparts, the negotiations are far from over yet. The month of February will be decisive for the future of the Greek economy, but also for the longevity of Tsipras’s shaky coalition. Whoever thought that the most difficult times are past us is in for a newsflash. February will not be a sprint, but a marathon.

Here are the top articles you need to read today on the Greek political economy:

  1. “I’m the finance minister of a bankrupt country”, Interview with Greece’s Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis| Zeit Online, Feb 4 2015
  2. Greece has started debt-swap talks with IMF, minister tells paper | Reuters, Feb 4 2015
  3. Greece leaders hold key talks with ECB and EU chiefs | BBC News, Feb 4 2015
  4. It’s not just Greece and Spain that need their debt restructuring, by Jonathan Glennie | The Guardian, Feb 4 2015
  5. Greece is facing three massive tests of its debt plans today, by Mike Bird | Business Insider, Feb 4 2015
  6. Crunch time: Greece takes pleas to a hostile Europe, by Holly Ellyatt | CNBC, Feb 4 2015
  7. Not so strange bedfellows: making sense of the coalition between Syriza and the Independent Greeks, by Takis Pappas | Open Democracy, Feb 3 2015
  8. For Greece, GDP-linked debt may be more curiosity than cure, by Greg Ip | The Wall Street Journal (Real Time Economics Blog), Feb 3 2015
  9. Eurozone Should Give Greek Leader Some Time to Reach Compromise, by Hugo Dixon | The New York Times, Feb 3 2015
  10. Spain keeps hawkish eye on Greece as southern solidarity crumbles, by Tobias Buck | The Financial Times, Feb 3 2015
  11. Tsipras’ Greek balancing act begins, by Harris Mylonas and Akis Georgakellos | The Washington Post, Feb 3 2015
  12. A Greek Morality Tale, by Nobel Prize Winner Joseph E. Stiglitz | Project Syndicate, Feb 3 2015
  13. Greece’s rock-star finance minister Yanis Varoufakis defies ECB’s drachma threats, by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard | The Telegraph, Feb 3 2015
  14. Five questions about the ECB’s complicated relationship with Greece, by Brian Blackstone | The Wall Street Journal, Feb 2 2015

GR Political Economy Digest #12

eikonaki Once SYRIZA was elected in power (with the help of ultra-nationalist Independent Greeks), the international media were on an ecstatic frenzy. A historic win for the Left, coupled with the fact that it was achieved by a past underdog under the direction of a very young new leader, Alexis Tsipras, seemed like the perfect story for the media. Today, five days after the Greek parliamentary elections, the tone has turned from almost delirious to extremely worrying. It seems that everyone – including SYRIZA’s supporters – were betting on a softening of the party’s stance, once it came into office. But SYRIZA has shown no intention to tone down its rhetoric and move away from its worrisome programmatic pledges. In fact, SYRIZA has remained adamant in its pre-electoral promises. Although this is a fresh feeling for the Greek society, which is very much used to the U-turns of politicians once they get elected, it is also an evident cause for alarm – due to the nature of Syriza’s promises and intentions.

Greece has to fulfill its running obligations with its international lenders within the next few months, it needs to receive the last chunk of bailout money in order to pay salaries and pensions starting this month, and more than anything, it needs to implement the necessary structural reforms in order to open up the state and market within the country, changing the existing clientelistic political system, combatting the oligarchic structure, and tackling the problems arising from the extensive shadow economy and crony capitalism in place. Yet, what we have seen in the first few days of SYRIZA’s rule is not exactly close to ‘promising’ in bringing substantial change to the country. SYRIZA has pledged to re-hire about 10,000 former workers in the public sector (who have been fired due to its downsizing); it has announced that it would block all further privatizations pertaining to the biggest port in Greece, the Peireus Port, and has assumed a similar stance in regards to the country’s multiple regional airports; it has jeopardized the (unusual!) consentual agreement of all member states of the EU in regards to the sanctions against Russia after further aggressions in Ukraine; and it has stated (via the current Minister of Economics, Yanis Varoufakis) that Greece ‘does not need the last 7 billion euros’ coming from the final loan disbursement.

SYRIZA is playing an extreme form of hardball with the TROIKA and the totality of our European family. As things look now, it either has some extraordinary cards under its sleeves (an agreement with our European counterparts about debt-relief of some sort is quite possible. Straightforward debt-reduction seems highly unlikely.), which it will present in a sugarcoated manner to the Greek people in the upcoming weeks; or it is actually more honest than all of us expect, is prepared to collide with Europe, and ready to gamble the fate of the country within the EU/EZ, even if it does not have enough firepower to fuel a ‘heroic exodus.’

My prediction is that SYRIZA will perform a magnificent ‘kolotoumba’ soon (if it has not already, unofficially, under the table with the other Europeans). It is not a matter of where the party stands normatively in their economics or ideologically in their politics. It is a matter of hardcore realism. And when Varoufakis and Tsipras are faced with the fatal question of “how are we going to pay up for the salaries and pensions of millions of people,” the dilemma of playing hardball or joining the chorus of former Greek leaders who performed eloquent ‘kolotoumbes’ in order to save the country’s economy will (hopefully) disappear.

In any case, here is what you need to read about the Greek political economy today:

  1. Greece and its discontents, by the Charlemagne | The Economist, Jan 31 2015
  2. Greece and the euro’s future: Go ahead, Angela, make my day | The Economist, Jan 31 2015
  3. Europe’s Greek Test, by Paul Krugman | The New York Times, Jan 30 2015
  4. Portugal Won’t Join Greece in Debt Renegotiation |  Capital.gr, Jan 30 2015
  5. Greece awaits EU finance meeting; eurozone deflation deepens (With live updates), by Angela Monaghan | The Guardian, Jan 30 2015
  6. Greece really might leave the euro, by Matt O’ Brien | The Washington Post, Jan 30 2015
  7. Greece’s Political Chimera, by Nikos Konstandaras | The New York Times, Jan 30 2015
  8. Fitch: Greece-Troika Deal Still Possible but Risks Are High | Reuters, Jan 30 2015
  9. Greece looking for common ground with European partners, by Stelios Bouras and Alkman Granitsas | The Wall Street Journal, Jan 29 2015
  10. Greece Steps Back Into Line With European Union Policy on Russia Sanctions, by Andrew Higgins | The New York Times, Jan 29 2015
  11. Global Economy: Greece, EMU and democracy, by Antonio Fatas | Fatasmihov.blogspot.com, Jan 28 2015

GR Political Economy Digest #11

ALEKSISThe Greek elections might be over, but both domestic and international eyes will still be fully focused on the country for a while. Today, the newly formed government of SYRIZA and ANEL (i.e. Independent Greeks) announced the new Greek cabinet (more to follow on that in the next few days). The new government is tasked with a tremendous weight. It has proposed to break with the path of austerity and follow a more confrontational stance with our international lenders and European partners. In the upcoming weeks, the government of SYRIZA-ANEL will have to take some monumental decisions about the fate of Greece and the country’s economic orientation. Based on their populist-extremist, anti-austerity, and anti-euro(pean) rhetoric up to now, it seems to be ready to make a huge break with the past. Will they continue to remain as firmly adamant as they have proclaimed in the past three years, or will we start witnessing one ‘kolotoumba’ after the other? Stay tuned for updates…

Here are the hottest articles on the Greek political economy that you need to read today:

  1. Greece debt repayment in full is ‘unrealistic’ says Syriza | BBC News Europe, 27 Jan 2015
  2. Greece and Europe dig in on bailout terms after Syriza victory in Greek election, by Matthew Karnitschnig and Gabriele Steinhauser | The Wall Street Journal, Jan 27 2015
  3. European equity rally halted by Greece and weak corporate figures | Reuters, Jan 27 2015
  4. Greek bonds, stocks drop as leaders to spar on writedown, by Lucy Meakin | Bloomberg BussinessWeek, Jan 27 2015
  5. Greek Elections: Syriza’s Tsipras faces great expectations, by Giorgos Christides | BBC News, Jan 27 2015
  6. ECB, Syriza have broken euro zone’s German spells, by Pierre Briancon | Reuters Blogs, Jan 27 2015
  7. Greek Elections: Why Syriza is ‘playing with fire’ by joining forces with racist Anel, by Gianluca Mezzofiore and Gareth Platt | International Bussiness Times, Jan 27 2015
  8. Europe’s populists hail Syriza win in Greek elections from Left and Right, by Marcus Walker, Jason Douglas and William Horobin | The Wall Street Journal, Jan 27 2015
  9. Syriza’s Alexis Tsipras’s picks new Greek cabinet, by Graeme Wearden | The Guardian, Jan 27 2015
  10. Macro Horizons: Is Greece still the word?, by Allen Mattich and Michael J. Casey | The Wall Street Journal, JanMatthew Karnitsching & Gabriele Steinhauser | The Wall Street Journal, 26 Jan 2015
  11. Greece: Think Flows, Not Stocks, by Paul Krugman | The New York Times, 26 Jan 2015
  12. Greece’s new finance minister learned about tearing down capitalism from working at a video game company, by Tim Fernholz | Quartz, Jan 26 2015
  13. Profile: Greece’s new finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, by Phillip Inman and Katie Allen | The Guardian, Jan 26 2015
  14. Syriza’s win: Greece turns, Europe wobbles | The Economist, Jan 26 2015

GR Political Economy Digest #10

Ilias Makris (Kathimerini, 24 Jan 2015)
Ilias Makris (Kathimerini, 24 Jan 2015)

Only one day left before the Greek elections. With Syriza leading the polls, and New Democracy trailing far behind (Syriza is ahead with at least 4-5%, based on the most recent polls), a scenario in which Syriza can form a government without depending on any other party is all the more plausible. Regardless of the electoral result, the economic consequences of these unnecessary snap elections for Greece and its people are going to be felt for many years to come. Dire times are ahead, and only a few people seem to fully realize the upcoming repercussions.

A vast majority of Greeks expects Syriza and its leader, Alexis Tsipras, to perform an eloquent somersault (‘kolotoumba’ in Greek) in the next few days, or weeks, going back on the programmatic promises of ‘tearing to pieces the Memoranda’ and playing hard-ball with the Troika of lenders. They expect Tsipras to agree on a new MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) – even if Syriza will not actually call it like that – which they hope will be more lenient than the existing agreement with our lenders. Even if such a somersault does occur, however, and given that the Troika requests can be met somehow, Syriza offers no persuasive guarantees of continuing much needed structural reforms, of opening up a relatively closed economy prone to crony capitalism, and of fighting the existing clientelistic and oligarchic structures. On the contrary, it seems ready to implement a host of anti-liberal and statist measures on the tradition of the two former parties of the status quo, PASOK and ND (PASOK began this tradition in the 1980s, and ND quickly followed in order to ensure its electoral competitiveness).

Today, one day before the elections, things look quite gloomy and extremely volatile, to say the least. Tomorrow, we will be one step closer to ending this grandiose string of speculations. Will we also be closer to a Greek knockout? Let’s hope not.

Without further ado, here are the hottest articles on the Greek political economy in the past 24 hours:

  1. Greece goes to the polls and Europe holds its breath, by Harris Mylonas and Akis Georgakellos | The Washington Post (Monkey Cage), Jan 24 2015
  2. Greece: Austerity, Relief or Exit?, by Marcus Walker | The Wall Street Journal, Jan 23 2015
  3. After an anxiety-filled campaign, Greek voters consider a turn to the Left, by Suzanne Daley and Dimitris Bounias | The New York Times, Jan 23 2015
  4. Syriza’s rise fueled by professors-turned-politicians, by Charles Forelle | The Wall Street Journal, Jan 23 2015
  5. The last stand of Greece’s ruling elite, by Nathalie Savaricas | The Independent, Jan 23 2015
  6. Greece to need another bailout extension – euro zone official, by Robit Emmott | Reuters UK, Jan 23 2015
  7. Greece’s hope and change moment, by Yiannis Baboulias | Foreign Policy, Jan 23 2015
  8. HuffPost Exclusive: Greece pre-election poll | Huffington Post, Jan 23 2015
  9. Inside Syriza: Why young Greek are voting for the left, by Matthew Cassel | Al Jazeera America, Jan 23 2015
  10. As Greece prepares to vote, a new age of Eurozone tension begins, by Times / Fortune Editors | Fortune, Jan 23 2015
  11. Greece’s solidarity movement: ‘it’s a whole new model – and it’s working’, by Jon Henley | The Guardian, Jan 23 2015
  12. Greece’s Syriza could face schism after likely election triumph, by Damien Sharkov | Newsweek, Jan 24 2015
  13. Greek shares surge, by Alexis Barley | Wall Street Observer, Jan 24 2015
 Photo: Ilias Makris (Kathimerini)

GR Political Economy Digest #9

makris20012015_foto
Sketch by Ilias Makris (Kathimerini, 20 Jan 2015)

 

You can find the hottest articles of the day, starting from the best and building down, below:

  1. How Greece and Germany brought Europe’s long-simmering crisis back to a boil, by Marcus Walker & Marianna Kakaounaki | The Wall Street Journal, Jan 22 2015
  2. Let Greece profit from German history, by Jeffrey Sachs | The Guardian, Jan 21 2015
  3. Greece in limbo: Post-election 2015 scenarios, by Filippa Chatzistavrou & Sofia Michalaki | European Policy Institutes Network, Jan 21 2015
  4. Revenge of disaffected Europe risks crisis sparked in Greece, by Maria Petrakis, Donal Griffin, Ben Sills and Thomas Penny | Bloomberg News, Jan 22 2015
  5. Germany’s debt forgiveness of 1953 – The wrong precedent! | Observing Greece, Jan 22 2015
  6. Syriza is now a mainstream party and there is little for Europe to fear in its electoral success, by Theofanis Exadaktylos | LSE EUROPP Blog, Jan 21 2015
  7. 5 Things to look for in Eurozone QE, by Brian Blackstone | The Wall Street Journal, Jan 21 2015
  8. ‘For five years Greece has been like a patient slowly bleeding’, by Helena Smith | The Guardian, Jan 21 2015
  9. Still no exit for Greece, by Kemal Dervis | The Brookings Institution, Jan 21 2015
  10. National Bank of Greece is an asymmetric risk, by The Enlightened Investor | Alpha Seeking, Jan 21 2015
  11. Greece polls: Papandreou and Venizelos locked in political battle, by Peter Spiegel | Financial Times, Jan 21 2015
  12. Landmark election in Greece, by Yannis Papadimitriou | Deutsche Welle, Jan 21 2015

 

Photo: Ilias Makris / Kathimerini