The spring of growth

Growth will come either way, the Prime Minister recently announced in Thessaloniki…

The spring of growth |

Growth will come either way, the Prime Minister recently announced in Thessaloniki. It is only a matter of time, he estimated, repeating the well-known theory of the compressed spring, that the “enemy” Governor of the Bank of Greece first expressed a while ago. And clearly a vastly cheaper economy, where all production factors – from labor to real estate – undervalued, will attract the interest of investors and offer opportunities for profits.

More so when the Greek economy is operating at under 70% of its production capabilities.

However a Prime Minister who respects himself and the people’s agony, especially the young and the unemployed, has the responsibility to do all that he can to expedited the return to growth.

That is perhaps the country’s biggest problem: that the government and Prime Minister personally do not have a good sense of time, nor do they realize how urgent it is to kick-start the growth process.

On the contrary, they are procrastinating on a dangerous level, raising bureaucratic and other kinds of objections against ever investment effort and idea, which could mobilize the necessary forces and resources to reboot the Greek economy.

In the present financial and social circumstances rebooting the economy is of fundamental importance. The spring continues to be compressed, the tax burden is taking away strength and capabilities, the capital controls are drying out businesses, the credit deficit is creating an asphyxiating environment and many people are running out of strength.

The compressed spring that Mr. Tsipras refers to may break before it is even released and instead of an expected return to growth, we may see the economy and country take a permanent turn for the worse.

If the Prime Minister and his officers had a real sense of the circumstances in the country they would not waste a minute or exhaust themselves in pointless negotiations with the troika. They would address all outstanding actions for the present review without wasting any time, they would bring forward the second review and close all open investment fronts in the blink of an eye.

Furthermore, they would encourage the swift restructuring of the economy, they would give banks all necessary legal tools to manage non-performing loans and support foreign investments in the Greek economy by really making preparations for the country’s return to the markets and the international credit system.

After so many bitter experiences the Prime Minister has no more excuses. He may be seduced by the power games, but without progress and creativity everything eventually comes to an end. And some times in a bad way.

Antonis Karakousis
Originally published in the Sunday print edition

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