In this paper we present two arguments. Firstly, we recognise that gradually since 2017, there has been some significant investment activity from domestic entrepreneurs; spin-offs have been created by universities; the number of companies escalating from start-ups to large-scale companies has increased; some multinationals have established branches in Greece; there has been some improvement in the complexity indicators for domestically produced products and there has been some increase in R&D, etc. However, investment is limited and, above all, very problematic in terms of its composition. Thus, the current account balance remains negative. The remarkable increase in exports was followed by a larger increase in imports, which, from 2017 onwards, began to make a modest recovery, surging during the 2019-2023 period. Over the last six years, the modest growth (less than 2% per year on average) of GDP is totally inadequate for the state of the country. In other words, since 2017, after years of deep recession and austerity, evidence of weak growth can be seen, nevertheless, it is clear that with the current structure of production and consumption, the current development model is unsustainable.
Secondly, we try to evaluate the policies of the two largest parties by looking at policies that have been pursued, not declarations both during the period 2015-19 and the corresponding period 2019-23. As an illustrative example, we use the development laws, which are laws of great political and fiscal importance. This comparison shows that in the period 2015-2019 the approach at that time attempted a break with the mindsets of the past with the aim of launching the country’s sustainable development and strengthening its resilience,, eliminating unemployment, promoting social justice and reducing regional inequalities, all within the framework of the many memorandum commitments. On the other hand, the policy implemented during 2019-2023 period relied on the logic that existed before the bankruptcy i.e. it did not have a specific development target, except perhaps to serve a select few.
Nowadays, a strategy for “quality development” is needed, based mainly on skilled human resources and aimed at gradually increasing the production of high value-added products and services, with an increase in industrial production in particular, and in exports, while reducing luxury and imported consumer goods and increasing savings. However, the above path to qualitative growth does not arise automatically through the mechanisms of the markets. There are no “easy” solutions. There is a need for a change on three levels, i.e. a change in economic policies and institutional reforms (e.g. a “development state” is needed that can conduct development/industrial policies) but also the creation of national and international alliances to support this change.
The current government on the contrary is cultivating an extremely frightening, politically driven complacency about the situation and prospects of the Greek economy that simply obscures the mistakes, while, at the same time, it is making a systematic effort to embellish the distorted past. What the country needs is a broader consensus and a different mindset to escape from the deep 15-year recession, which will mean following a new growth model.
* Report synopsis by
Lois Labrianidis, Economic geographer, professor University of Macedonia, member of the ENA Advisory Board, former General Secretary of Private Investments Ministry of Economy & Development
[Τhe report in Greek]