Mr. Stoiber correctly pointed out that the issue which Greeks needed to decide on was their standard of living. The Greek standard of living is still very much a function of Greece’s being a member of the Eurozone (easier access to foreign funding). Should Greece disorderly default and/or leave the Eurozone, Greece would face a dramatic fall-back in her standard of living (an orderly default could avoid that).
On the other hand, Mr. Stoiber said, staying in the Eurozone will require of Greeks continued and very significant adjustment pains. That cannot be avoided. Mr. Stoiber stressed that Greek society would need to reach a consensus which of the two paths they wanted to follow. And he expressed hope that Greeks would opt for staying in the Eurozone.
The surprise came from Mr. Syrianos (perhaps because he is an entrepreneur and not a politician). He didn’t talk about sovereign debt, budget deficit, PSI, etc. Instead, he talked about the progress – however minute – which Greece was already making. He talked about the increase in exports; the lowering of costs; etc.
Any Greek opinion leader – from politics, business, academia, media, etc. – should feel called upon to get a momentum going. A momentum which shows the battered Greeks that there can be a positive future. Any Greek opinion leader should feel called upon to propose ways out of today’s mess (politically, economically and spiritually). That’s what a country’s elite is there for!
I have zero sympathy for smart people explaining why Greece cannot compete in the world because she is a poor country. I have zero sympathy for smart people explaining why it is all someone else’s fault. That is plain immature!
Greece has never really made an effort to develop her potential. Greeks have never really experienced how much fun it can be to develop one’s potential. Bring some motivated Greeks together for some brainstorming and it won’t take long until they can see Greece as the future economic tiger of the Eastern Mediterranean.
JFK had appealed to the American youth at the time. In Greece today, the appeal has to be made to the Greek brain power, the Greek opinion leaders, the Greek elites of all walks of life: “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country!”
It seems to me that if people like Mr. Syrianos would make that statement their “battle hymn”, positive momentum could indeed be generated in Greece so that Greeks are motivated to help themselves.
I am fully aware that when main power centers of a society – like political parties, business leaders, professional guilds, public sector unions, the media, etc. – are fighting to preserve their privileges, it is almost a mission impossible to overcome such resistance. However, it can be done if there is unstoppable momentum backed by the people.