News Release

Greece: Time for Ending “Austerity” 


HARRY KONSTANTINIDIS, ckonstan at, @xkonstantinidis
Konstantinidis is a recent University of Massachusetts Amherst PhD from Greece. He is now a faculty member in economics at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

He recently stated: “The landslide victory shows that the political establishment which governed Greece between 1974 and 2015, and campaigned viscerally for the Yes vote has lost its grip on the electorate, despite fear mongering by the media (domestic and international); and of course, outright political interventions by the creditors as well as the shutting off of liquidity in order to force the Yes vote. The Greek electorate essentially voted against austerity — even if the consequences of the No vote may be unclear. The vote also had clear class characteristics: working class areas voted overwhelmingly No (in some cases by close to 80 percent), while the Yes vote only won in a few wealthy Athens suburbs.

“So, where do we stand today? Varoufakis has already resigned from his post as finance minister, but his replacement, Euclid Tsakalotos, should be expected to continue along the same political line. After garnering support from opposition leaders today, Tsipras should be expected to go back to the negotiating table with the creditors offering a series of reforms in exchange for debt relief. However, I think we should expect to see the Greek government propose a program that re-establishes collective bargaining and shifts the burden of adjustment on the wealthier strata of the Greek population rather than on pensioners and low-income people. Of course, the likelihood of such a plan being accepted is slim.

“However, this is the time for Europeans objecting to austerity measures that have crippled the Greek economy to oppose what has become the dominant economic thinking in Europe, despite being responsible for economic stagnation in most Eurozone countries over the last six years.”