An absence of workable models

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The findings of recent opinion polls are truly paradoxical: The overwhelming majority of Greeks claim to accept the need for reforms while simultaneously rejecting any initiatives proposed by the government.

Some regard these answers as hypocritical. Everyone claims to want reforms as long as they are not inconvenienced by them; they want everyone else to change except themselves.

Perhaps this is indeed the way things are. After all, double-talk is one of the standard features of public debate - on all levels, not just that of handling the economy.

But there is also another interpretation - that Greeks have realized the existing status quo needs to change.

The only problem is that they have not been offered any cohesive alternative approach. The entire political system has failed to propose anything more promising than a lot of hot air about various Western European "models." And those who dare to venture further than this have invariably been accused of "callousness" or "neoliberalism." The recent dismissal of PASOK's former economic policy coordinator, Giorgos Floridis, is proof of this.

And this state of affairs cannot be blamed on an absence of policy, nor are political parties exclusively to blame. In general, public debate has become crippled.

Discussions revolve around ostensibly left-wing stereotypes of the "good" state and the "bad" market. There has been no scope for shaping a new way of seeing things; as a result, there is no alternative "model" whose implementation we can look forward to.

KATHIMERINI English Edition, 21/04/2006