OPINION

Commentary

The United States is under recessionary pressure, the economic slowdown is an undeniable fact in Europe as well, and Japan cannot escape from its savage economic downturn. Short-term prospects for the global economy are bleak, and the terrorist assault has put an additional strain; yet the majority of commentators, even though they regard the threat of global terrorism as containable, see no quick recovery from the crisis despite cheap currencies, the drop in oil prices and the ongoing restructuring of companies. In this highly volatile environment the Greek economy, with all its problems and shortcomings, will soon be receiving a tonic from the launch of the euro, which will bring even lower lending rates; and it will receive a boost from the third Community Support Framework funds and from organizing the 2004 Olympics. The effort to bring about these elements may carry an additional economic burden, but ultimately they will bolster broader economic activity. Under normal circumstances, the above factors could provide protection against the approaching crisis and its possible repercussions. It is clear, however, that their effect and dynamic is undercut by numerous shortcomings in the broader politico-economic and social system that have developed over the years. The corrosion of the political system, extensive political and business entanglement, the stagnation of the judicial system, and the yawning wounds of the modern Greek state nearly undo the effectiveness of those political tools that are available. But perhaps, the crisis also brings a unique opportunity to embark on a great reformist effort that will sweep the currently ailing system aside and shape the foundations for a national renaissance. All social levels convey a sense of corrosion, which makes a comprehensive reform imperative. From the health sector, education and public works to public finances, local administration and justice, it is obvious that the current systems are on the brink of collapse. At this point, just before the collapse, it is absolutely necessary to embark on a broad reform. Conditions dictate a transformation, and the means are there; the only thing lacking is political will.