Russia’s invasion and war against Ukraine has already entered its second month and there is no indication for the time being that it will end anytime soon.
On the contrary, everyone believes it will be protracted, though no one can precisely predict the timing of when it will end, its intensity, its depth, or whether it will expand into a broader, generalised conflagration.
The economic, social, political, and other repercussions of the war are multiplying as each day goes by and they impact on the entire planet, especially on poorer countries, and particularly those with energy and food dependence.
There are 40 countries that lack petrol and natural gas and are dependent in terms of electricity production and grain supplies and will thus be subject to more serious pressures.
This is all the more true now, in a world that is interconnected and interdependent.
In a globalised economy with open markets, events such as wars take on greater dimensions than in the past and lead to more violent turbulence.
Thus, the disruption of the global supply chain, that began with the COVID-19 pandemic, due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine was generalised and expanded and took on fiercer characteristics, as evidenced in the international inflationary spiral. Moreover, the concepts of energy and food security acquired a different connotation and greater urgency.
Greek households are already experiencing the first round of negative repercussions. The prices of food, electricity, and food have skyrocketed, and all the data suggest that we are still at the start of an inflationary wave.
Managers of retail sales chains speak of a “very brutal and unchecked current of price increases” which unavoidably will trigger a strong wave of demands by workers, who already see their paltry income dwindling due to rapid price increases on basic goods.
The government is fully cognisant of the situation but for the time being is on the maintaining a cautious stance, as it cannot know the duration and intensity of the crisis.
Essentially, it is husbanding its fiscal resources to retain sufficient funds that can support the country in the event that the international situation spins entirely out of control.
It is pinning its hopes on a common European stance on the energy problem, and more importantly, it believes that the shock of the current crisis will be of smaller intensity than the two previous crises – economic and public health.
The government and finance ministry note that they will curb expectations and that the growth rate will be smaller than projected but positive.
They are more concerned about inflationary pressures than anything else, as they know that due to dependence on energy and foodstuff there could be a double-digit rise in inflation.
Whatever the case may be, the war revealed the value of fundamental basic goods.
Hence, it is necessary to revise our productive model and turn to the exploitation of our own natural resources.
The land as a means to produce food, wind and air as energy sources, and the sea as a basic means of transport take on an added value in these trying times.
It is up to us – the Greek people and the country’s political and economic leadership – to honour and exploit to the greatest degree possible Greece’s natural resources.
“If you deconstruct Greece, in the end you will find that what remains is an olive tree, a vineyard, and a ship. Which means that with all that you can reconstruct it,” Nobel Prize-winning poet Odysseas Elyitis said long ago.
Perhaps the time has come to revisit everything from the start.