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27 April, 2018

The Greek experiment

Could Greece's situation be characterized as a huge economic-social-political "experiment"? And if so, who are those who conduct it?

by system failure

Greece is entering one more year of an unprecedented economic recession and still, no optimistic signs can be seen in the horizon. When the financial crisis erupted in 2010, there were already many people who spoke about an experiment that was taking place, for the first time in a region of a developed economic zone.

Could Greece's situation be characterized as a huge economic-social-political "experiment"? And if so, who are those who conduct it?

Part 2 - What happened before Greece's entrance into the neoliberal path of destruction

When neoliberalism started its big onslaught in the early 80s with Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher in power, Greece had chosen a different path with the then leader of the Socialist Party (PASOK), Andreas Papandreou.

Papandreou has chosen the path of implementing extended social policies and strengthening the public sector. The Popular Right mostly expressed by the rival power (New Democracy party) in Greece was accusing constantly Papandreou for being corrupted and for establishing corruption in public sector by hiring PASOK supporters in key positions.

While corruption was indeed a significant problem in Greece, it was not exclusively a product of Papandreou administration. It was evident also in previous decades under various administrations. Yet, when the economic crisis erupted in 2010, it was used as a pretext for the 'invasion' of IMF and the imposition of catastrophic policies that brought Greece in an even worse situation. IMF's history is full of pretexts related to corruption, in order to 'invade' in foreign countries and rescue - not the national economies of course - but the greedy bankers and investors.

Andreas Papandreou knew very well that neoliberalism would one day destroy his country. His words from a 1989 interview have been proven, unfortunately, extremely prophetic: “In case that we have a neoliberal solution in Greece towards 1992 and afterwards, the Greek economy will really suffer an extremely brutal attack from giants. We will surrender, whether we like it or not, to foreign interests and Greece will become the hotel of Europe in case that the laws of the market will exclusively prevail ... These are crucial moments.


In the European Summit held in Cannes in 1995, Andreas Papandreou described the undemocratic nature of the EU and the dark future of Europe: “I want to say that, indeed, I saw the directorate functioning because while many colleagues, PMs were telling me privately in the corridor that I was right, no one has spoken to cover my positions. What is the United Europe? Who governs it? What is our role for us, as national governments? These are basic questions. I find that we go to a kind of shrinking of national power, but not on the altar of a collective democratic process. On the altar of crises and interests ... I won't reveal names, who have spoken and what they said. But I tell you that there is a clear plan for the elimination of national governments which will not be able to play a significant role democratically, but they will subjected to the directions given by the directorate ...


This was one of the last statements of Andreas Papandreou that had sent waves of embarrassment to people around him because many of them, next year, were about to join Costas Simitis administration that thrown Greece, with almost a violent manner, into the neoliberal path of destruction.

Yet, previously, neoliberalism made its first, short rehearsal in Greece with one of its most fanatic supporters: Konstantinos Mitsotakis. Mitsotakis was in charge of a weak administration and governed for a short period (1990-1993), yet it was enough for many to understand what the neoliberal priesthood was planning for Greece the following decades.

It was the time of the collapse of the Soviet bloc and neoliberalism had crushed the last remnants of resistance in the ideological battlefield. Being member of the Western institutions, the small Greece would be impossible to resist against the onslaught of the neoliberal monster. Acting like an early IMF agent, Mitsotakis' administration rushed to cut government spending as much as possible, privatize state enterprises and 'reform' the civil services.

Despite the neoliberal fairy tale about the necessity of these 'reforms', at the end, Mitsotakis delivered an economy with high unemployment rate, sinking industrial production and dramatic rise of the public debt.

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