OPINION

Reform or stagnation?

Greece has made significant progress in recent decades, achieving a prominent position politically, socially and economically. For the first time in our history, we can speak of a continuous, undisturbed, positive democratic balance of 32 years. But there is the widespread feeling that the impetus of the post-dictatorship period is fading. Stagnation and corruption are common and a lack of strategy is evident. The thread of reform was cut some years ago, though most believe that wide-ranging reforms are needed in education, public administration and the economy. Reforms face the double danger of deferring to the logic of political cost and postponing everything indefinitely, as well as of choosing the wrong objectives and antagonizing the public, who do not see how those reforms will benefit them. This logic afflicts the entire political spectrum, especially the two major parties. Since 2000 their public discourse has been ruled by electoral concerns and not by real social priorities. Public discourse has been confined to the issue of corruption, which is a big issue, but instead of being tackled, it is used as a banner by the big two when it suits them. The low level of public discourse leads to the lack of an agenda, cockfights about the obvious, the demonization of opposing viewpoints and the equation of corruption with conspiracy and of an open mind with lack of principles. Yet in private we agree that Greece cannot progress without an awareness of priorities in a rapidly changing world. Producers’ initiatives must be encouraged and received ideas and practices banished. Greece must become inventive and flexible and quit navel gazing. Stagnation and conservatism or reform and progress? The answer lies in politics. The rest concerns only those few who want to enjoy power in government.