Economy,  Greece

Syriza: more Keynesian than Marxist?

I don’t pretend to understand all the complexities of Greece’s economic crisis, or what the victory of what is routinely described as the “radical leftist” Syriza party portends.

What I do know is that the austerity designed to “rescue” Greece after the 2008 economic collapse was at least partly responsible for starving children and did not exactly work wonders.

So when a political party runs on an anti-austerity platform, and people no longer believe promises that better times are on the way, it’s no shock that Greek voters were not frightened by the “radical leftist” label.

I imagine a Greek version of this song from the American depression of the early 1930s would strike a responsive chord among a lot of poor and working-class Greeks.

As The Washington Post’s Harold Meyerson wrote, Syriza ran “on a platform of negotiating debt reductions to the country’s creditors and restoring some governmental programs and economic investment. If the European Union refuses such proposals, it’s also possible that Greece will drop the euro as its currency.”

History suggests that a country gets out of an economic recession or depression by spending and investing, not by cutting back and belt-tightening. This is what John Maynard Keynes advocated. It’s hardly radical stuff.

Update: Howie’s Corner raises some disturbing points about Syriza’s far-right coalition partner the Independent Greeks– whose racist and homophobic leader Panos Kammenos has said that “Buddhists, Jews and Muslims don’t pay taxes.”

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