Lost opportunities

We may deplore aspects of globalization but we cannot deny that it has been beneficial for most countries. The liberalization of transferring goods and assets may have made the rich even richer but it has also curbed poverty. The Greek economy has unquestionably benefited from globalization, a fact borne out by statistics. Cheaper goods and the opportunities created by globalization generated wealth for our country and its citizens. Over the past 25 years, Greeks’ per capita income has increased by 45 percent as compared to a 38 percent increase on a global level. But although Greece has benefited from globalization it has not reaped as many benefits as it could have. It did not exploit the massive capital transfers that were occurring in this new environment. And so, although direct investment – mostly focusing on countries belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) – reached around 732 billion euros on an annual basis, only a few hundred million of this ended up in Greece. This indicates continued structural weaknesses in the Greek economy which prevent it from fully exploiting the opportunities it is presented with. As long as the state fails to modernize itself, as long as markets are not liberalized, as long as the tax system remains labyrinthine, murky and bureaucratic, no one is going to want to invest in this country. Meanwhile, know-how, job opportunities and wealth keep draining away. It is the government’s duty to accelerate efforts to push through its program of reforms. This is the only way to ensure that the Greek economy will attract the capital it needs. Our past experience consists largely of lost chances. We should now take the necessary steps to ensure that such opportunities are not lost in the future.

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