OPINION

Economy bound

Despite government reassurances, the signs from the crucial fronts of the Greek economy are grim. First, many uncertainties – both domestic and international – have had a profound effect on households that are cutting down on their expenses. This is reflected in the market and the crisis of commercial firms. It is also reflected in the illicit hikes in the prices of fruit and vegetables, which have had an adverse impact on consumer sentiment and spending. Furthermore, it can be seen in the drop in the price of office rents in commercial centers and the correction in real estate prices. Finally, it is mirrored in companies’ and banks’ balances, the stock market, and citizens’ scarce investments and savings. Overall, most people’s finances are worse than the picture painted by official figures. In other words, the overwhelming majority of Greeks are beset by economic uncertainty and find themselves at odds with the government’s optimism as expressed in the triumphant reports of high growth rates and the boom in the construction sector. The reason for this discrepancy is that the rewards of this growth are not dispersed throughout the country. They are unequally distributed in and around the capital, mainly absorbed by the largely mechanized construction sector, which means that only a small circle reaps the fruit. In essence, the economic policy model is unable to efficiently manage investment funds that go into the economy. The bulk of European Union funds is distributed among a small number of constructors, and the rest remains fastened to the cogs of an inefficient administration. In effect, society feels sidelined from the feast of EU funds. The State must alter its economic model. It must break its ties with the narrow circle of Athens-based interests and support provincial construction firms, which can mobilize the neglected forces of Greek society.