Editorial: Time for a new productive model
The oft-neglected primary sector has exhibited endurance and may be among the few that can do well in these extraordinary circumstances.
The coronavirus pandemic public health crisis and its deep, sweeping repercussions highlighted the weaknesses and deficiencies of the Greek economic paradigm and model of production, especially their dependence on exogenous players.
The pandemic laid bare the country’s extreme reliance on tourism (it accounts for at least 20 percent of GDP) and consumption which accounts for 70 percent of the annually produced revenues of Greece.
The sweeping entrepreneurial ecosystem that developed around tourism was rocked to its foundations by measures of international scope including social distancing as the means to fight the pandemic.
Air, sea, and land transport along with hotels, rooms for rent, a number of interlinked service units, and coverage of a wealth of goods and services from cleaning stores and the transport of individuals to an industry producing towels, sheets, and furniture are reeling from the lockdown.
Restaurants, taverns, bars, entertainment centres , food and catering in general, and a host of other enterprises suddenly have no business.
Their sales and revenues were obliterated and no one yet can tell whether they will be able to recoup some of their losses this year.
Meanwhile, the income of hundreds of thousands of workers in this ecosystem is disappearing overnight and that is dragging down national revenues.
These losses, and the endless chain of disaster from which they arise, account for the extremely bleak projection of a 10-15 percentage point drop in Greece’s GDP.
The economic paradigm is failing and the model is problematic. They must be reconstructed and restructured.
These steps are mandated by the crisis.
It is indicative that the oft-neglected primary sector has exhibited endurance and may be among the few that can do well in these extraordinary circumstances.
Indisputably the Greek economy urgently requires a re-orientation and a bold shift in the productive model.
In the final stages of the previous, decade-long crisis the limits of the consumption and services paradigm became painfully apparent.
The vacuity of diachronic, grandiose declarations about the tourism industry is now plainly obvious and so the time has come for a real productive turn.
Political parties have a duty to take initiatives in this direction.
Now is the time to enter a new phase of production and to pursue industrial reconstruction and technological renewal.
This is the only way to shape conditions of economic and social growth.