OPINION

We need a vision

Greece is in need of a vision, a fairy tale to give us hope in the tough times to come. All the reforms, cutbacks and sacrifices we are being called upon to put up with in order to get the country’s finances in order are all well and good, but if Greece does not also focus on its growth and competitiveness, we are looking at a long period of stagnation ahead. The first thing we need is transparency and openness, an end to the cartels and closed-shop professions that have benefited only a handful of people at the expense of others. Furthermore, Greece needs to start generating real wealth. We can understand why a prime minister who has been forced to adopt unpopular measures that go against his ideological instincts would attack the business world, but Greece can move ahead only if it has strong banks, a presence in the Balkans and robust businesses. Whoever believes that economic growth in Greece will be boosted by party cadres handing out special assistance programs to friends and relatives is sorely mistaken. If we want the country to have a future, we need to set real goals for the next five to 10 years. Just think about how many billions Greece has spent on weaponry without, and in contrast to Turkey, building up a significant defense industry. So let’s put together a group of experts in this field to change things. In the agricultural sector, we could convince cooperatives to become pioneers in new crops and to improve the marketing of Greek products. In tourism we could give incentives to the owners of so many shameful hotels to tear them down and replace them with residences built in accordance with more stringent planning regulations. What we need is a little imagination, initiative and daring. For anything to change, however, we must first rewire the country’s young people who dream of a cushy permanent job in the public sector that requires very little effort.