The fact that Greek citizens were given a choice means that the Greek referendum might actually be good for the country in the long run.
So, Greece has finally said it has had enough of its government’s austerity measures that have led to massive unemployment and widespread social unrest. But did it jump the gun? Also, is Greece being “ungrateful” to Germany?
Many foreign economists don’t think so. People as ideologically diverse as Milton Friedman and Paul Krugman have always argued that nothing good can possibly come out of a common European currency, implying that Greece should not pay the price for a fundamentally-flawed idea. The newest rockstar of the world of economics, Thomas Pikkety, also believes that Greece is absolutely right in shunning the disaster that the Euro is.
The Guardian carried a piece listing how top economists would vote. We thought we’d do something similar with our desi economists and business journalists. We contacted quite a few of them and managed to speak to some here and ask them which way they would have voted and why.
Jayati Ghosh, Professor of Economics, Jawaharlal Nehru University
No question about it – I would have voted No, a big big OXI. The current trajectory being forced on Greece is counterproductive as well as destructive of the economy and society. Nothing can be resolved unless the Greek debt is restructured and the excessively punishing austerity programme that keeps causing economic activity to decline further is changed.
Mihir Sharma, Opinion Editor, Business Standard
Would have voted yes, like all the older and wiser Greeks.
The Greeks think they can have everything – insult the people lending them money, have them lend them more money, stay in the euro while rejecting the need to do anything to fix their dysfunctional economy, and to top it all off try to be a cause celebre for every misguided Leftist in the world who thinks subsidising irresponsible first-worlders are a better destination for Europe’s taxes than, say, renewable energy or aid Africa.
Surjit Bhalla, economist
I would have voted with a yes — better for long-term growth and would bring about much-needed reforms.
Ritika Khera, economist
No, austerity would make the victims pay the price for what the culprits did.
SL Rao, economist and columnist
Yes. Many eminent people argue that Greece should not suffer austerity, that is, reduction in living standards. But they had gone up with little effort by the people and with funds from Europe, mainly Germany. The latter are now expected to support the Greeks in the life style they have got accustomed to because of other countries. This seems patently unfair. The Greeks must learn to cut their shirts according to the cloth. Ireland did this when it reformed after a similar crisis some years ago.
This article has been republished from Newslaundry.com.
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