Europe Must Learn From the Greek Tragedy
— July 11, 2019
By Mervyn King
Despite an extraordinary depression, during which GDP fell by a quarter and real incomes by much more, growth remains sluggish — too slow to do much about an unemployment rate of 18% and a debt-to-GDP ratio of more than 180%. Coping with such a severe economic setback is difficult enough; requesting patience during a persistently weak recovery might be even harder. The new government’s biggest challenge will be to persuade the country’s voters that New Democracy will live up to its name and attend to their concerns. Given the background, this can hardly be taken for granted.
Parliamentary elections are not the only expression of popular opinion. At regular intervals, the various peoples of the European Union have been asked in referendums to support the next steps toward “ever-closer union.” Time and again, voters have demurred; time and again, the EU has plowed on regardless. This happened in Denmark, France, Ireland and the Netherlands — but one of the most striking examples of seeking, then ignoring, voters’ opinions was in Greece. In 2015 voters were asked whether the bailout conditions imposed by the so-called troika of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund were acceptable.
Read the full Bloomberg article.
Lord Mervyn King is the Alan Greenspan Professor of Economics and a professor of Economics and Law, a joint appointment with New York University School of Law.