That Greek crisis no-one talks about anymore isn’t over
We asked Athenians how they're feeling about the economy now that negotiations over reforms have reached the next stage
Politicians and economists from Europe and around the world have been discussing what to do about Greece's economy for so long that it's basically disappeared from the headlines. But the difficulties Greeks face in their day to day lives as a result of this crisis haven't gone anywhere.
Last week, negotiators finally reached a new agreement to allow the next bout of funding to come through to Greeks – at least until July. The main outcome was that the
– basically the world's biggest piggy bank, lending money to countries in need in exchange for a promise to make some changes to the way they operate – agreed to help with the bailout, on the condition that Greece makes some reforms to its tax and pension systems.
It's a big step for the negotiations, but to a lot of Greeks, it's just another piece of news that things are going to stay pretty tight over the next few years.
Given how much 'the economy' has been in the news for Greeks recently, it's turned into something people feel pretty strongly about. To some, the only way out of the crisis is to completely reassess the principles behind how the economy works at the moment. To others, it wouldn't make a difference anyway – "the big fish" will always run the show.
We asked Athenians how they felt about the subject. Here's what they said:
"We should support the economy with all our might so that we’re strong enough to avoid being deceived by politicians and anyone else… I want to congratulate the British for leaving the EU when it’s taking advantage of small countries like ours!”
"Economics isn’t a scientific thing in any way. It’s a way of exchange - how to connect desires and promises."
"I guess in theory we should support an economy that works like a clock, and any practices, individuals, businesses, or government that would balance each other for the benefit of society...but in practice, we choose to support the type of economy that just brings food to the table."
"I started a shop a year ago, during the economic crisis. It’s a fashion store, with clothes by contemporary Greek designers. It’s a small action to support the Greek economy. The idea is that through everyone’s individual efforts to improve the economy, it might grow and become more of a collective idea - a growing economy can help societies flourish, through things like arts, and education, and it can decrease social issues too."
"A cause worth supporting is an economy that won’t extend outside the context of what’s moral. The true nature and purpose of money is as a medium of exchange - any deviation from that will go wrong. Aristotle actually condemned producing money from money - he said it was impossible to have a political democracy without an economic democracy."
"I don’t think the economy is worth supporting. The only people that think so are the ‘big fish’. The idea condition would be self-sufficiency; ‘economizing’ yourself the best you can."
"I’m very pessimistic about what the economy has done to the state of the world. I think it’s a predefined system - we’ve all got to find our position in it."
"The economy is suffering, in my opinion. A more nature-based economy could be the answer. But the real answer is changing our mentality, and trying to function as more of a community - creating an economy that respects the earth that feeds us!"
"The economy is the result of lots of variables. To talk about the Greek economy in broad terms, you could say the socialist economic policies of Greece have once again showed that any kind of socialist or collective system is bound to fail. So my stance is not to support any economic decision that’s socialist, or socialist-leaning."
"The economy is the cornerstone of society. It’s got to thrive for us to co-exist. Unfortunately, in Greece, the country is beautiful, but we’re not taking advantage of the assets we have."
"As people gather together to form a society, it becomes essential to find a way to manage and allocate the resources we have. That’s what economies are supposed to be for, and why I think it’s worth investing in…"
"If we don’t support our economy, we might as well just let it collapse."
"If the economy of our country is stable, we’ll have security. We won’t have to worry about the future, and the generations to come."