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All talk and no plan

A man carries a ballot box at a voting centre in Athens on Friday.

By Nikos Xydakis

Tomorrow’s parliamentary election is just the latest in a series of tectonic shifts that started in 2008 -- from the early days of the Wall Street crisis, which sent shock waves around the world, to the economic meltdown of the weaker states in the euro area.

The crisis -- or, to be more precise, the bankruptcy -- of our country has exposed the weaknesses of Greece’s production base and the shortcomings of the state apparatus. At the same time, it has underscored the pathetic inability of our political system to grapple with emergencies and negotiate with foreign creditors.

Furthermore, developments have indicated that the elites and the more privileged sections of the population, as it were, were intellectually unprepared and incapable of grasping the severity and the myriad levels of the crisis.

The vast majority of Greece’s politicians, economists, academics, sociologists, philosophers and managers all expended themselves in analyzing specific aspects of the crisis (with varying levels of accuracy); however, they fell short of carving out a national plan that could save the country.

In fact, the memorandum that the Greek government signed with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund was the plan to deal with the crisis. It was a plan designed by foreigners on the basis of a pre-existing model.

Even today, some two-and-a-half years after the crisis first became evident, Greece’s leaders are yet to to hammer out a blueprint to reboot the country’s economy, based on its existing strengths and weaknesses.

Most political energy has been spent on producing rhetoric supporting or attacking the bailout agreement instead of being constructive and trying to think of ways to comprehend and overcome the crisis.

Even more worrying is the fact that the memorandum does not guarantee a safe path to usher the nation away from disaster -- even if it is implemented to the full.

The outcome of the ballot will express the anger, the fear, the despair and the instincts of the people. But the ballot cannot possibly produce a fully fledged plan, a convincing strategy, the vitality and the system which will be necessary to save the country: All these factors remain sorely lacking -- for voters and politicians alike.

ekathimerini.com , Friday May 4, 2012 (22:05)  
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