Greece Emerges from Economic Crisis with Increased Inequality
This. Is Dimitri Lascaris reporting. From coding loss Greece we've returned to Greece for the fourth time in the last three years in order to continue, our coverage of the Greek economic crisis this. Year were examining. The, current performance of the Greek economy and suggestions, emerging from the Greek government that. Greece has begun to emerge from the economic crisis and were. Privileged to be joined today by Professor, John Milius, professor. Munoz is a social, scientist in a Marxian economics scholar. He. Is professor political enemy and the history of economic thought at the National Technical University of Athens he's. The author of several scholarly, books and the director of the quarterly Journal of economic theory thesis. Bessie's and he, was the chief economic, adviser of syriza, the. Government of CDs until March 2015. Thank you so much of syriza the party is serious ok thank, you for correcting me and it's. Good to be with you today. So. I'd like to start professor, emelius by talking to you about the. Current macroeconomic. Performance. Of Greece for. The last two quarters for. Which there are statistics. Available Greece's. Experienced, economic, growth albeit, weak economic growth I, suppose. That in the. Circumstances of the economic, crisis were create Greece is seeing a crushing decline, in its GDP. Any economic. Growth, is. Relatively, positive and we're. Starting to hear as I mentioned in the introduction suggestions. From the government, that. These are signs that Greece has begun to emerge from the economic, crisis how would you respond to those suggestions well I am talking. In general, I would say that, there are no permanent. Crisis. And. Allow. Me to tell you that this is a quotation. By. Car marks there, are no. Permanent. Crisis, so it. It's. True that, the. Crisis. Is. Somehow. Beyond. The critical point, but, we have to discuss, what, this means for the majority of the people and what. We mean if, we say that we have some positive, signs of grow, and. The. Overall. Result. The, average is, this, positive. Index. For example of, the GDP, growth but, we are coming out of the crisis, with a more, polarized. Society, with. An, opened gap between, the rich and the poor, with. A, continuing. Humanitarian. Crisis, for, European. Standards. Of course, we. Do not have people. Of. Who. Starve but. We have people, who, are. Unemployed. We have a higher rate of unemployment and, we have a lot of people, who although they work, they. Work in very, precarious. Conditions. And what, they gain from their work does. Not suffice, for them to to. Live. Properly and, they have to be supported. By, institutions. Or by, their, family, or by, friends, and so on, so. Greece. Is a different, society, is an unequal Society. And we, have the elites, that is, the oligarchy. With, which, has, strengthened. Its position very. Much through the crisis, because. I have to tell you that. Austerity. Which. Was the enemy of syriza, that, the. Main slogan, of syriza, was, to end austerity. Is. Not a false, policy. For Leo legally. Because. What. Is the living standard, of the majority, of the people of the population. Is the cost of these, people, and during. The crisis, they are very. Anxious to, lower, all costs. And labor. Cost, comes first so. The. Crisis. Of, Greek capitalism. Is coming, to an end but. The crisis, of the majority of the people is, deteriorating.
And This, is a problem, and this is also something. That the. Greek left. Has to deal, with I want, to talk to you specifically about the unemployment rate in July a 2013. I believe it was in the range of 28%. Astonishing. You know this is the. Actually. Above the level of unemployment that existed during the United States in the Great Depression I believe now. It's down to 21% still, the highest in the eurozone by a significant, margin but. It's come down 25%, from, July. Of 2013, that to, is a statistic. Which the current, government, invokes, to suggest that they're making progress the. Other day, Yanni's varoufakis said, well that's really. Creating a false impression because, this is largely attributable, to the departure of unemployed, youths from Greece, what. Do you think, accounts. For this drop in unemployment do you think that this is. Indicative of, an improvement, in. The circumstances. Of the ordinary Greek citizen, well. Some. Sectors, of the economy are, expanding. Tourism. Succeeded. A very, high, growth. Rate so, it's. Something. That. Should. Be expected. That rate of unemployment. Would. Decrease. However. We. Have another, structure. Of employment. And this. Statistical. Reduction. Of unemployment is to. A large, extent, due, to the fact that. Part-time. Employment, has. Has. Rising, very much and, also. We. Have other. Forms, of precarious. Employment for. Example, the. Landing. Of. Employees. For, some hours, a week from, one, company to another and. So on so. We have a very, different. Labor market, as we had compared, to that that were before, the crisis, and. We. The the end effect, of it is to. Produce. Statistical. Results, with so reduction. Of unemployment. I have also to tell you that we have in a very. Extensive. A, very big, black. Market, that is people who are been employed, as. Part-timers. For two or three, hours a day and, they, actually work. For seven, or even ten. Hours, without. Being. Paid over. Over. Work. And so on, and, so. It's. A jungle the labor market, right now and. We. Have to be critical, of the. Final. Statistical. Outcome. That. Unemployment. Is. Going. Down of course it is going down but under conditions, which are very unfiled. Unfavorable. For, ordinary. Wage earners, and. Let's talk about the oligarchy, you mentioned the oligarchy, at the outset this. Was a major, plank. Of the CDs of platform, in 2014. In. The months leading up to its its, first. Government. And even. The language coming out of some members of syriza was quite, aggressive. They were saying they were going to crush the oligarchy since.
Cities, And now has had the cities of government has now had nearly three years in power in. Your opinion have they taken any meaningful. Measures to constrain, the power of the oligarchy, not at all not, at all III. Can, also tell you that before the elections, since. The. Summer of. 2014. The. Language, of tea of syriza, had changed. Instead. Of talking, about crushing the oligarchy. Or really. Distributing. Power, and, wealth to the benefit, of the social majority, they, started, talking. About growth in general. And part. Of the growth is the, profits. Of the oligarchy. I, can. Tell you at this point that one of the most crucial. Slogans. Of, syriza. That is a, very. Important. Chapter in, syriza's, program, was. To raise the minimum wage from. 583. Euros, a month to. 700. 551. Euros, as it was before the crisis, it was part of the Thessaloniki, platform, yes but in also before the desalinate, he long before, the thessaloniki, we were talking, about the generation. Of. 750. Meaning. That even, 750. Is a very, low wage for, a, person. Who had just finished the university. Or other studies. And is entering, the labour market and of, course. We. Had the Prime Minister after, the election. Of January. 2015. Talk about a, longer, lasting process, which. Was going to involve, the, ILO. To. See how it, could be. Achieved. Gradually. To. Raise. The minimum, wage from, 580. To 750. As if, it was a very, difficult problem. To do. It's. Indicative, of, the fact that. During. The last month, or, the last year before the election. Syriza. Was shifting. From a. Party, wanting, to represent the. Interests. Of the working class to. An ordinary. Progressive. Party, and let's say a traditional, social. Democratic, party who. Speaks about the, common interests. Of the oligarchy. And the wage earners, and everyone. As Greeks. Against. The Germans. Or the European, Union, or I don't know who who. Comes from abroad and so all together we, will see what, is best. And of course what. In the end his. Best, is the interest, of the inter. Preneur classes. And first of all of the big, capital vo legally. You. Know the timing of your departure. As. Chief economic, adviser to the series, of parties interesting, it, was in March of 2015. But, at, least. You. Know conventionally, speaking people. View the capitulation as having happened in July, after, the referendum and in fact that's. When the Finance Minister Yanis varoufakis resigned.
And If I might ask what. Prompted you, deceased to play that role in March of 2015, from your perspective, was the was that something that you decided to do because you saw. The writing on the wall you knew where things were heading and you couldn't associate yourself with it anymore yes, I knew what. Was going to happen or. Approximately. What was going. To happen before the elections, that's, why I wasn't. A candidate, and I. Refused. The. Office of the Prime Minister, to, choose between too. Many. Ministerial. Offices, the. Prime Minister, the day after, the elections, offered, me to. The. Ministers, to choose which. One I prefer and, I refused, I also refused to be an MP a member of the Parliament, which. Ministries, were those. The. Minister over navigation. Even, of tourism. Okay. And. But. I I, stayed. A member. Of syriza, and I try to do my best in, order to, show. To my. Comrades and. To, leftist people, to the voters of series, out of the Greek society that. There. Should, be a different, course and that things, were not going very well however. I, regarded. The agreement, of the 20th, of. February. Signed. By the varoufakis. A. Memorandum. Or the. Same, emerado. Because. They signed, an agreement to, comply, with everything. That. Was in the European program. Of. There four of them former. Governments. Without. Taking. Any money. Having. The European, institutions. That is the troika, all. The money a. Several. Billion. Of euros. To the Greek government, and they. Continued. To pay. Money. To the institutions. To the troika, although. The. Whole, plan was. That you. Receive the money to the troika, to give it back to. The institution's, due to which you of that is the ECB, and the IMF. So, they, they, didn't, receive the money but, they were still, paying by. Taking. Everything, that. Was available, in, universities. In the hospitals. In the, municipalities. And so on so. This was not. A. Policy. That. Was. Able to achieve anything, it, was clear to me after the 20th, of. February. That. They, were going, to sign. The final, and. Memorandum. Because, they, didn't, have any weapons, anymore. So, what what do you think precipitated. And. I appreciate, or maybe asking you to speculate here but. What do you think precipitated, the resignation, of the minister, varoufakis, if.
In Effect the, government had already signed, on to the, program under his tenure, what. Was the whole point of resigning, after the referendum. I'm. Not sure that I can answer this question because. The. Policies. Of faxes. Were very. Volatile. On. The, one hand she was. Making, extreme. Declarations. In, the direction, that. During. The crisis, there are no class differences. And we are all together. And. To, save the country and so on on the other hand. He. Was suggesting, that. Something. Different, should be made as regards. Their, debt. Obligations of. The country, so, I cannot, answer for. Sure I. Can. Suggest that. He. Had a hope that, a, change. Of course could, have happened. In the last minute, for, example, there were many people not only him. Who hoped. That, after the referendum which, was a major historical. Event event for this country. 3. Present the government, would stop negotiating. Negotiating. And her. Would. Say that we'd start, from the beginning, because we have, the. The. Mandate, of the of the big, majority of the Greek people that, we shall. Change course. However. Before. That they, have produced. A. Text. A paper of. 47. Pages the, salt code the so called 47. Pages. Draft. Which. Was the, propositions. Of the Greek government, to the institutions. To the troika, and if, someone. Read. This document very. Carefully. He. Or she would. Come. To the conclusion that this. Greek, propositions. Were not very different if different, from. The final result. So what. I suggest is. That the, government. Hoped. That. The. Result. Of the referendum would. Be. More. Beneficial, for, them, that, is something, like 5050. So. As to say that although we, came to power with, 36. Or 37 percent. Now we are. 50. Percents. The. Society. Is divided, there. Is no clear. Result. So we have to follow the, course that. We have already found. This. Is my suggestion, why, the whole, thing. Happened. The way it happened because, we saw the next day cheaper, has been. Ready, to. Conclude. The. Final. Agreement. With, troika. And also. Before, that to, make an agreement with the opposition. Parties, that is the Conservatives. And the neoliberal. Centrum, so. That all together accept. The. New, agreement. So. Maybe, everything. Was. Already. Prepared, long. Before, that is month before, the, final, agreement and. The. Way, everything. Happened, was. Scheduled. As to convince, people that a, big. Fight is. Taking. Place and, that Greece. Resists. And that, Athens, is the new Stella grant or I don't know what. And I am NOT saying, that, so. As a new, idea this, is how. Mason. The. Well-known. British. Journalist. Started. A, speech. In Athens, hello new Stella, grant. Okay. Maybe. This, was also, everything. A, communication. Issue so. I'd like to just ask. You to prognosticate about. The future based upon everything you've seen and heard what. Do you think will ultimately happen with, this, radically. Unsustainable. Debt that Greece has, assumed. You, know that at, the time of the capitulation. One. Could certainly call it that in July of, 2015. One, of the things that members, of the government were saying was what we have this commitment for debt relief we're. Going to get debt relief maybe, not tomorrow but it's coming and here, we are now in. Approaching. The end of 2017. And there has not been any meaningful debt. Relief measures adopted do, you think ultimately that there's going to be a negotiated, solution to the unsustainable, debt or do you think Greece is simply going to have to default no. No and. Nobody. Will allow a default in the euro zone that. Was. The. Actual weapon, that the government, had if. The government, stopped, paying. Tranches. To the troika, after. The January. 2015. Election, then. Everything. Could. Could. Have happened, differently. Because. It's impossible, for the ECB to allow a default, in the euro area, and. Also. An. Exit, from the euro area who. Would, mean. The, final, end of the euro area because, the. Italian. Or the, Spanish, interest. Rates are going to climb, to. Unprecedented. Heights. And, this is going to. Make. Everything, explode. So. I think that. Before. The. The. Debt becomes. A, real, problem, because now. The. Debt it's not a problem as it is going to be in, in a two years time when, Greece should, have to pay enormous. Interest. Rates and. Also. Repayments. Of, all that and. Now. Greece does not pay such amounts. Of money before, the time comes. There there, is going to be the. Restructuring. Of the debt in. A way that. The, debt will. Tim you to be. It, means. Imposing. Austerity. Policies. Now. That is they are not going to we are not going to have any radical, solution of the debt problem but. They are going to postpone. Conditionally. The. Date. Of repayment. So. That Greece. Should have, to follow even. After. The program has finished should.
Have To follow the. Same austerity. Policies, in, order, to have the agreement go, on that is the postponement. Of the postponement, of of. Payments. So, the debt is going to be there but. It's going to be restructure. It in a way so, that no, default takes place. Well. Well certainly if you're watching closely to see if your prognostication. Is is correct professor images, and we thank you very much for joining us I thank you all so very much and this has been Dimitri Lascaris for the real news from corinthos Greece.