Europe Owes More to a truth-teller in Athens
Published in The WSJ, August 22 2017
Creditors have been too timid in their support for the statistician who corrected Greece’s books. Few debacles in recent memory better represent the moral collapse of modern Greek society than the persecution of Andreas Georgiou. This endless ordeal is the culmination of failure at multiple levels of stakeholders, not least of which being the European institutions that have repeatedly bailed the country out over the past seven years.
From 1997 to 2009, a succession of Greek governments provided false data to the European Commission’s bureau of statistics, Eurostat. This led to three years of…
The Last Temptation
In an article entitled “The Last Temptation”, I try to explain why the IMF has rejected calls to re-enter the Greek bailout program, until two conditions have been met. First, the completion of the second review of the August 2015 program financed by Eurozone countries. Second, the restructuring of the Greek debt by Eurozone countries in a concrete manner that would make it sustainable over the medium term. The first condition was recently met with the passage of a large number of measures by the Greek parliament, as demanded by Greece’s European creditors.
The second condition remains pending. The…
Partners in Crime: The Destructive Role of the Greek Media during the Economic Crisis
Published in NewEurope, November 7 2016
The notorious interrelationship of vested (and frequently illegal) interests among the Greek political elite, entrepreneurs, and the barons of the Greek media is well established. There is perhaps no field that better illustrates how deeply ingrained clientelism is in Greek political culture than the media sector.
Politicians, media moguls and entrepreneurs have long been operating as a ‘triangle of power’, where business and political interests are intertwined in what has aptly been referred to by the Greek name diaploki (entanglement). What form did this diaploki take? For decades, Greek politicians would provide support to their favourite media…
The Dreyfus Affair and the Georgiou Affair
In a blog post on this website dated January 15, 2016 and titled “A Shocking Summary Statistic” I had noted that the prosecution of former Greek chief statistician Andreas Georgiou is an indication of the moral bankruptcy of the contemporary Greek ruling class— politicians, economists, civil servants, parliamentarians and the judiciary– in other words, of the members of the Greek “elite” that betrayed the ethical standards of their respective professions or public sector positions.
During the first months of 2016 the issue languished in the Greek Supreme Court, as a lower court had recommended in mid-2015…
The Athens Tram
In an article that appears on huffingtonpost.com on May 9, 2016, I draw a parallel between the Greek economy and the Athens tram and argue that few people have realized that six years ago the Greek economy was placed on rails from which it is nearly impossible to deviate.
Successive governments attempted to change the route of the tram, only to lose valuable time and eventually to realize that there is really no alternative than the route constructed by the engineers, namely Greece’s international partners (formerly known as the Troika and more recently referred…
The Greek Economic Crisis: Myths, Misperceptions, Truths, and Realities
An academic article covering the period from the beginning of the crisis in 2009 through February 2016 was published in the March 2016 issue of the journal Mediterranean Quarterly.
Charting the Future Now: European Economic Growth and its Importance to American Prosperity
On March 10, 2017 the Atlantic Council, an influential think tank in Washington D.C., launched a groundbreaking report under the above title, ahead of the sixtieth anniversary of the Treaty of Rome.The report, part of the Atlantic Council’s EuroGrowth Initiative launched in 2016, analyzes how Europe can best address short-term responses to populist concerns, provide medium-term deliverables, and chart a long-term plan for better integration. The main contributors to the report were Dr. Anders Aslund, Dr. Thanos Catsambas, Prof. Steve Hanke, Dr. Andrea Montanino, and Ambassador Earl Antony Wayne. Andrea Montanino, director of the Global Business and…
US Congress approves 2010 IMF Quota and Governance Reform
On December 18, 2015, after a 5-year delay(!), the US Congress ratified the most important realignment of the IMF governance and structure since the countries of the former Soviet Union joined the organization in the early 1990s. The quota and governance reforms had been approved by the IMF’s Board of Governors in December 2010 and the US remained the only holdout until today. Given the veto power that the US has on major IMF decisions, the reforms could not come into effect until the US Congress had approved them.
The Winning Strategy
In this article I set out a four-pronged strategy that would maximize the chances for the Democratic party to win the November 2020 presidential elections. The article briefly analyzes the surprising victory of Donald Trump in 2016, his efforts to dismantle all the policies of his predecessor, and his eventual move towards an illiberal democracy following the failed attempt by Democrats to remove him from office through the impeachment process. I conclude that the Democratic strategy should not focus on policies and lofty issues but, instead, should stress Trump’s mendacity, ignorance, immorality, ineptitude and psychological instability. You may read the…
The Scourge of Gun Violence
In a Letter to the Editor in the Washington Post on March 29, 2018, I argue that the March for Our Lives demonstrations are unlikely to be effective, unless students and young adults convince the voting members of their own families to withdraw support from congressional candidates who have hitherto backed the gun lobby. You may read my brief Letter here.
My Teacher, Janet Yellen
Much has been written recently about the current Chair of the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, who after a highly successful career at the helm of the Central Bank, will be replaced in February by president Trump’s new pick, Jerome Powell, a current Fed governor. In US and international media Yellen has been described as “superlatively qualified”, “extraordinarily effective” and as a person who “can be tough, [but] also warm and compassionate and a good listener”. In nominating Mr. Powell as her successor, President Trump himself called Yellen “absolutely a spectacular person”.
Let me add another dimension to her professional talents, less…
Why Some Stay Silent
In a Letter to the Editor published in the Washington Post on October 15, I argue that the analysis of the Harvey Weinstein scandal would be incomplete without an analysis of the social class that shrugged off the sexual harassment allegations against Donald Trump and voted for him in the 2016 US presidential elections.The same article appeared online on October 13 under the title “There Is a Culture That Accepts Men’s Abuse of Power”.
The Pundits’ Flaw About Mr. Trump’s Motives
In a brief commentary in the daily Naftemporiki I explain that most pundits are wrong in the interpretation of the true motives for the US president’s recent stunning remarks.
Officials and private citizens around the world have condemned the attack of May 25th against Lucas Papademos, former Prime Minister of Greece, as an offense against democratic principles, an act of cowardice, and an intolerable act of terrorism. But the culprits are not only the actual makers of the bomb used in the attack or the people who guided them. The true instigators of this crime are those members of Greece’s ruling class (politicians, academics, media owners and journalists) who distorted the truth to uninformed citizens about the major contributions of Papademos. Without his achievements during the November 2011- May 2012…