In my time studying economics and and working as an economist, what always seemed quite strange to me, was the way the economy was always disconnected from ‘society’. Not only was it disconnected, but always prioritised.
The ludicrousness of this has always been the notion of ‘trickle down economics’: which relies on the idea that by making the wealthy wealthier, they will spend more and eventually wealth will trickle down to those who need it the most. The failure of this has economic policy been has been confirmed repeatedly by countless impressive economists including Paul Krugman and Joseph Stiglitiz (see a recent article from Salon here…)
I am not saying that ‘the economy’ is not important or that stimulating economic activity should not be a goal of policy, but that it is only a part of society: an integral part yes, but still, only a section.
This prioritising of the economy and seeing its management as an end its own right, rather than being there to serve the people within the community, is at the very core of neoliberalism.
We have been starkly reminded of this ideological approach in the events around Greece – particularly in the last few months. There has been many discussion around the Greek economy, the banks, the Germany economy, the European financial markets, the global financial markets and so on. There has been finger pointing, blaming, grandstanding and stare offs.
What has been missing, most often, is the impact on Greek society and the individuals who make this up.
It was with this in mind that I wrote this article for The Conversation titled, “‘Grexit and the impacts on the ‘average’ Greek.”
I also contributed to a second article which featured a range of ‘experts’ talking about the Greek crisis available here… In reading some of the commentary, you will see that people often talk of the economy like it is separated from society.
In the mind of many, the Greek crisis has come and gone. The truth is that the ‘solution’ is no solution at all… all that will happen is see the Greek economy continue to struggle, the society further fracture and will be back in the same place again in the next year or two…
The world seems to have leant nothing… and that is yet another dimension of the Greek crisis.