Skip to main content

Growth, not Grexit

Greece's European partners need to understand that the country's recent election result was an explicit rejection of five years of policies that have failed to deliver the expected results. All parties need to stop talking about "game theory" and work together to put a feasible plan on the table.

ATHENS – The message from the Greek election must not be misunderstood. The fact that more than 36% of the country's voters cast their ballots for Syriza, a far-left political party, does not mean that Greece has suddenly become communist. Rather, the electorate was expressing its indignation, despair, and wounded national pride.

Greece's European partners need to understand that the election result was an explicit rejection of five years of policies that have failed to deliver the expected results. Moreover, the burden of the crisis was distributed in an unjust way: most of the pain has been borne by the poor. And, with the “troika" (the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund) intervening in the most mundane decisions, a sense of bitterness and anger has permeated public opinion, even among staunch pro-Europeans.

It was this sense of lost national sovereignty that allowed Syriza to prevail. Humiliation was a force strong enough to unite leftists and nationalists, laying the groundwork for the creation of an unconventional post-election coalition between Syriza and the hard-right Independent Greeks party. So now, as talks over the country's debt burden and fiscal problems move forward, Greece's negotiating partners would do well to understand how Greeks will be viewing the process.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.


Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.;
  1. roubini130_GettyImages_iphonehandstealingpiggybank Getty Images

    The Great Crypto Heist

    Nouriel Roubini

    Cryptocurrencies have given rise to an entire new criminal industry, comprising unregulated offshore exchanges, paid propagandists, and an army of scammers looking to fleece retail investors. Yet, despite the overwhelming evidence of rampant fraud and abuse, financial regulators and law-enforcement agencies remain asleep at the wheel.

  2. ghosh11_GettyImages_thiefworldmoneybag Getty Images

    The Exploitation Time Bomb

    Jayati Ghosh

    Worsening economic inequality in recent years is largely the result of policy choices that reflect the political influence and lobbying power of the rich. There is now a self-reinforcing pattern of high profits, low investment, and rising inequality – posing a threat not only to economic growth, but also to democracy.

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.