Monday, July 13, 2015

Greece and Latin America

After a popular vote demonstrating support for the exact opposite, the Greek government has accepted painful structural adjustment in return for loans to help pay off old loans. Latin America did this in the 1980s and 1990s, and this is what happened over the long term: Hugo Chávez, Evo Morales, Néstor Kirchner, et al. The PRI lost an election in 1988 as a result so had to steal it. The big difference with Greece is that a leftist is doing the dirty work. How you qualify as "leftist" after that is beyond me--Prime Minister Tsipras is being rejected by the left and will have to pass any deal by allying with the opposition.

On NPR earlier I actually heard an analyst say this is necessary "for the children." Not even being tongue in cheek. We'll see how well children do when their parents are laid off in droves. Understandably, people will be open to a populist voice that offers solutions free of European domination. It would be surprising if such a voice didn't emerge. I don't know Greek politics at all, but the Latin American example and logic are useful.

That said, the parliamentary form of government creates a really different dynamic. Latin American presidents have more power, so a Greek populist would have to do quite a bit more negotiating to pass major reforms. The Hugo Chávez means of reaching power would also not work because you have to be a party leader who forms coalitions--it's extremely difficult to appear out of nowhere and win the election.


Alfredo 6:45 PM  

This show is not over by a long shot......

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