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"The rest is history: welfare populism, cronyism, statism and corruption can describe the Greek political system for most of the period from 1981."Same period of time that things have been going the wrong way (in economic terms) here in the US... Time to remove from influence or exile "the acquirers" ie "the more-havers" ie "the greedy"; whom the Apostle Paul termed "pleonektes", these people are bad news...rsp
Or, if you like some capitalism, limit their venue considerably. Otherwise, you get paranoid multinational juggernauts who get their principals from their bottom line, fighting for survival against other juggernauts with a vastly similar raison d'être. Political corruption? No self-respecting juggernaut would ever THINK of venturing forth improperly accessorized.
Can I ask a question?Hatzis claims (correctly, in my view) that New Democracy and PASOK are responsible for the "welfare populism, cronyism, statism and corruption [that] can describe the Greek political system for most of the period from 1981".At the other hand, he also claims that Syriza and Golden Dawn are equally bad (which I find unfair and false, btw): the Greek people "seem to be falling into the same trap again, by rewarding demagoguery, political opportunism and arrogant ignorance. Their knee-jerk reaction was to vote for parties such as Syriza, the rightwing nationalist and populist Independent Greeks and the Golden Dawn."So, if both options (New Democracy/PASOK vs Syriza) are equally bad, whom should the Greeks vote for? I don't get it.Wait! I get it now: they should keep voting for New Democracy/PASOK. They created the problem, but there is no alternative.
Jan Hatzis is an economist. These are political opinions. How qualified is he to speak about Greek politics? I don't know.
Hey Tom,I guess Hatzis is a Greek citizen; I can hardly think of a better claim to the right of speaking about the politics of Greece.He is also a columnist and by writing op-eds he also tries to influence public opinion. And this is where I find his opinions troublesome.First, because I believe they are misleading and unfair. At an individual level, Hatzis is entitled to believe whatever he wants to, no matter how mistaken his beliefs might be. But he is attempting to do something more: he is trying to persuade the public of something that's wrong: that there is no difference between Syriza and the KKe at one hand, and Golden Dawn, at the other.Second, I also have a problem with Hatzis' opinions because they would suggest that there is nothing to be done, except to put up with whatever New Democracy and PASOK want.Needless to say, this does not mean he is wrong on his claim that there are parallels between Greece and Weimar. In fact, this claim of a similarity between present Greece and 1920s-1930s Germany is so true, that after New Democracy and PASOK fail (as they are almost inevitably bound to do, given their economic policies) Hatzis may reach the same conclusions the German elites reached in the 1930s: Hitler may be a bastard, but he is our bastard.Just my two cents, though.
Economists for the status quo, what an innovative thing... not."These guys were bad... but the alternatives are worse... so keep electing the bad and swallow the status quo."Baby-boomers again have skewed things towards their position (status quo) in Greece, but how long they can keep playing the game. What disgraceful generation of wealth destroyers.
"I guess Hatzis is a Greek citizen; I can hardly think of a better claim to the right of speaking about the politics of Greece."Does being a US citizen qualify one to speak (intelligently) about US politics. I think not. Most people are highly opinionated.I'll listen to political scientists who have studied the matter on this and attempt to separate factual assertions from assumptions and opinions, since many political scientists are opinionated too. But they at least know the methodology of the field, and some do apply it rigorously without bias.
"Does being a US citizen qualify one to speak (intelligently) about US politics. I think not. Most people are highly opinionated."I think Hatzis is wrong in his appraisal of Syriza and I thought that was obvious in my message. Maybe not, I guess.Regardless, in his article Hatzis, rightly or wrongly (I think wrongly, but that's me), is still selling the view that there is no alternative to New Democracy and PASOK: in his view, Syriza is as bad as Golden Dawn and he is trying to convince the public of that.Do you agree with Hatzis?
"I'll listen to political scientists who have studied the matter on this and attempt to separate factual assertions from assumptions and opinions, since many political scientists are opinionated too. But they at least know the methodology of the field, and some do apply it rigorously without bias."Regarding this second bit.Is there a methodology that enables only experts to pronounce an unbiased opinion on these matters?I don't think so and I sure hope not: democracy, after all, supposes that all people are entitled to have opinions. Should we just leave "unbiased experts" decide what is going on in a society?
"in his view, Syriza is as bad as Golden Dawn and he is trying to convince the public of that.Do you agree with Hatzis?"From what I have read, no. But I haven't heard anyone that I regard as an expert in Greece sociology and politics either.From what I have seen there is a lot of disagreement in reporting about both GD and S.
The reports coming out of Greece seem to be opinionated. I haven't seen any really objective factual analysis yet.
I dont think Syriza sounds that extreme... and Syriza has the young folks vote so sounds like soon they will get their chance which looks like they deserve after 30 years of going in the wrong direction by the others. You know another thing that is going on a bit below the MSM radar is the situation in Syria which looks like it continues to become more violent by the week.I'd have to think there are a lot of residents in Syria who would soon like to get the hell out of there and escape (refugee) to the west... and go to Greece... Greece needs our western support being on the front lines of the Arab chaos and those moron Germans keep screwing this up, what is wrong with the Germans???? they are a disgrace to the west.rsp,
I think that what is likely happening is what I saw happening during the Vietnam era antiwar protests, at which I was close up front, and also am hearing about now with Occupy. The media tends to emphasize the margin ("fringe") rather than the core. So both GD and Syriza both appear as scary, because those reporting on it seem to be talking about the core rather than the margin. I really haven't seen anything that would allow me to estimate the relative size of the core and margin, or how close the margin actually is to the core. So while I think what Hatzis says — I incorrectly said Jan above when I meant Aristides, they are both economists — is interesting input but not definitive. That said, that there is even a question about this is worrying. Extremism is a dangerous path and what I am particularly concerned about is over 50% of the police siding with GD. This is not surprising, however, since rightists are more attracted to the security force than leftists. How ultra-right the core of GD is remains to be seen.My analysis of Syriza at the moment is that the leader is a savvy guy and knew that Greece has a lot more leverage over Germany than other Greek politicians realize or at least are using. The creditor-debtor relationship runs both ways. If the debtor defaults, the creditor looses that asset. So there is room to negotiate a better deal. He was right about that and the Greeks would be better off if they gotten this.I don't see the left being a problem since the scale is presently tipped so far to the right. More balance is needed.
"From what I have read, no. But I haven't heard anyone that I regard as an expert in Greece sociology and politics either."Okay, so from what you have heard you don't agree that Syriza is as bad as Golden Dawn.However, you make this appraisal conditional upon the better, unbiased, opinion of an expert on Greek sociology and politics.Let's apply the same criterion (the expert unbiased opinion) in another subject.We all have heard from experts that Greeks are lazy, are used to live beyond their means, and they will overcome their difficulties if only they tighten their belts enough.Is that enough to convince us that well, austerity will indeed save Greece and the other Mediterranean countries?
Anonymous, "We all have heard from experts that Greeks are lazy, are used to live beyond their means, and they will overcome their difficulties if only they tighten their belts enough."Do you speak German, Have you ever spent any time in Germany? This is exactly what many Germans say and have said for generations about southern European. Do you have acquaintance with many Americans who have the same sentiments about black people?Are these people objective sociologists or biased if not bigoted?Have you listened to or read supposedly scientifically trained academic talk about US politics when it becomes obvious to you where their sympathies lies when describing the views of both sides?Have you seen Rashomon?
No, I haven't seen Rashomon.I have read Moron, though.
BTW, Rashomon is classical Kurosawa. Definitely worth renting and watching. You might even become a Kurosawa fan. He made a lot of great cinema, and in the West anyway is considered perhaps the top Japanese filmmaker and one of the greatest film artists of all time. Not only gripping narratives but fantastic production quality and direction.
The point is that most people have opinions that are skewed by personal, group, and cultural biases. Finding an objective view is not that easy, especially when emotions are as hot as they are in the EZ right now. Just because someone is Greek or even lives in Greece and is familiar with the scene doesn't make themn an unbiased observer.Historians and sociologists are still trying to unravel what actually happened in the 1930's. How was this possible?Or take US history. Compare the mainstream with Howard Zinn's account. Again, how was this genocide possible? Is Zinn's work closer to the truth, or was he so biased to the left that he couldn't see the obvious? Depends on your own viewpoint and whom you listen to about it.
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