OPINION

Unrealistic proposals

The reactions provoked by the proposals of the Center for Planning and Economic Research (KEPE) for boosting the Greek economy – mainly by putting a lid on real salary increases – are reminiscent of the response of citizens suffering from anemia during the Nazi occupation, when doctors advised them to eat meat three times a week, along with plenty of milk and two eggs – at a time when people were lucky to scrape together some beans and a few drops of oil. The doctors knew then that they were prescribing the unfeasible, just as KEPE’s economists are doing now. Whichever «expert» you choose, they are likely to make more or less the same proposals for boosting competitiveness: reducing labor costs, liberalizing the labor market, fully privatizing businesses and banks, and deregulating «closed shop» professions such as pharmacists, engineers and lawyers. However, the main aim of an organized and sensitive society is to determine how these proposals would be put into practice effectively to ensure the desired economic result as well as to increase economic welfare… Following the outcry by labor unions and opposition parties, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas reacted cautiously, stressing that KEPE’s proposals did not constitute «political decisions» by the government but only «grounds for debate»; but then, this response is to be expected from a predictable government…