• Tue. May 30th, 2023

Old Democracy, New Economy – Is This A New Starting For Greece?


May 27, 2023

législatives le 26 mai 1985, Grèce. (Photo by Alexis DUCLOS/Gamma-Rapho by way of Getty Photos)Gamma-Rapho by way of Getty Photos

I was when told a story by a dependable supply (the story is as well superior to bother verifying) that in the late 1980’s at a summit of European leaders, Greek prime minister Andreas Papandreou arrived by car or truck in the courtyard of a sumptuous hotel. As he stepped out of the limousine, the windows of a suite on the fourth floor of the hotel had been flung open and appeared Charles Haughey, Taoiseach or prime minister of Ireland, who at the leading of his voice declared ‘Andreas Papandreou, you are my hero!’.

In a lot of respects, Haughey was correct, he and Papandreou had been incredibly alike – clever and corrupt, leaders of huge grassroots political parties (political scientists compared Fianna Fail and Pasok, the celebration Papandreou founded, as the most enduring political machines in Europe).

Haughey and Papandreou each had fascinating private lives and tastes – Haughey in his grandeur sent the bill for 14,000 pounds (a lot of dollars back then!) worth of Charvet shirts to the Irish state. Papandreou had been the Dean of the economics faculty at Stanford, but couldn’t handle the Greek economy, and later couldn’t handle his private life. I had the pleasure to devote a lot of time in Greece in the late 1990’s, when the behaviour of Papandreou’s third wife ‘Mimi’ provoked a lot of debate.

Each males, it could be stated, opened up the way for their nations to execute into the early 2000’s but each also sowed the seeds of the downfall of their economies in the post 2007 period. In each instances, what had been dominant political parties have been lowered to substantially smaller sized players.


This substantially was evident in final week’s Greek election – even though the share of the vote that Pasok held rose to 11% from eight%, it is a shadow of the machine it was. Kyriakos Mitsotakis the son of Andreas Papandreou’s political rival Konstantos Mitsotakis, has won an impressive victory and will probably do even greater in a second election at the finish of June, such is the apparent want amongst Greeks for prolonged financial development.

As an aside, recall that in the dynastic atmosphere of Greek politics George Papandreou, son of Andreas, took more than Pasok as Greece headed into the euro-zone debt crisis – and to reinforce the notion of dynastic politics, George Papandreou was also the area-mate at Amherst of Antonios Samaras – New Democracy prime minister from 2012-2015!.

Obtaining gotten to know Greece incredibly effectively in the 1990’s I visited there throughout the ‘Troika’ period. There is basically not sufficient recognition of the devastation of the Greek economy and of its society, by Greece’s personal excesses, the euro-zone crisis and the medicine applied by the IMF and EU. For a nation that suffered the worst depression in contemporary history to now commence to get pleasure from consecutive years of sturdy development is a incredibly superior point.

Greek society and the way the nation is run have changed even though there are echoes of some of the issues I recall from the news in the 1990’s – corruption in procurement and transport (witness the causes of the trains crash in northern Greece in February) and there are nevertheless bugging scandals.

Bond yields

The good challenge for Mitsotakis now is not so substantially to prolong the uptick in the economy – investors are currently re-rating it (bond yields are beneath Italy and the UK) but to make decisive departures with the modus operandi of the previous in terms of the way the state is run. The other glaring (to my expertise) location for reform is education – notably in generating a substantially greater secondary and tertiary education technique so that young Greek persons are satisfied to stay in Greece for their education and to then operate there.

A new improvement for Greece is a transform in the fortunes and behaviour of its bigger neighbour. In the 1990’s there was continuous tension involving Turkey and Greece more than each Cyprus and the compact Greek islands close to the Turkish coast, resulting in frequent close make contact with involving the Greek and Turkish air forces. Recyyp Erdogan took energy just just before Greece hosted the Olympics and for a extended time the overall performance of the Turkish economy, the scope of its infrastructure developing and its developing part as a model for Middle Eastern states place Greece in the shade.

Turkey’s progress has been squandered, and its economy is now not far from a crisis. The be concerned for Greece is that Erdogan tries to build tension with Greece as a distraction from the consequences of his personal extended term in workplace. Whilst the Greeks are utilized to this (each Mitsotakis and Alexis Tsipras have handled relations with Turkey effectively), it could be an unnecessary complication just when issues are going the correct way.

I am the author of a book known as The Levelling which points to what is subsequent just after globalization and puts forward constructive suggestions as to how an increasingly fractured planet can create in a optimistic and constructive way. The book mixes economics, history, politics, finance and geopolitics. Markets are the greatest spot to watch and test the way the planet evolves. Most of my profession has been spent in investment management, the final 12 years at Credit Suisse exactly where I was the chief investment officer in the International Wealth Management Division. I began my profession as an academic, at Oxford and Princeton.

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