OPINION

Complacent fat cats

To be sure, the government was initially a bit slow passing the necessary reforms to liberate the economy’s productive forces, achieve robust growth, trim unemployment, and boost incomes. That said, it would be unfair to downplay recent initiatives to build an alternative economic model that is friendlier to exports and foreign investors. The new development law breaks away from the corruption-prone statist model that has bottled up the country’s productive forces. The new measures include heavy subsidies for high-tech sectors and the regions, a reduction of corporate taxes and red tape, a bill on public-private partnerships, and changes in labor relations. The ball is now in companies’ court. Now that conditions are improving and many people are reconsidering privatizations and patron-client relations, businesspeople must make investments and take risks that will affirm their status as the engines that drive the economy – unless they want to be seen as fat cats who move their dilapidated equipment to Bulgaria and Romania in search of cheaper labor at the first sign of trouble. How could Thomas Lanaras close his textile factory in Naoussa claiming losses, while Christos Akkas exports 95 percent of all his cotton produce at an ever-higher profit? It takes courage and good planning to be on the cutting edge of technology and quality. Businesspeople differ from fat cats by taking risks and competing against other firms thanks to their own capital, staff and proper corporate planning – not through state subsidies. We need more solid businesspeople, not fat cats who profit by pocketing state money and exploiting consumers.