(via The Guardian) // By Jennifer Hinton
So what is a sustainable path forward for Greece? If the Greek government could see that it won’t be able to re-start growth, and that GDP growth is a means to an end, not an end in itself, there are steps it could take to start paving a new path to prosperity for its people.
In addition to the basics – restructuring the Greek debt, deep reforms in the public sector to make it more transparent and accountable, and the strengthening of the solidarity economy – I suggest the following:
- Greece should go back to a national currency to have more autonomous decision-making with regards to its own economy, which it needs if it wants to pave a more sustainable path. This is not a simple move, so the government will have to have a plan for such a transition, with safety netsto protect the most vulnerable.
- The government should nationalise the banks and encourage people to start credit unions. This will re-align the banking sector with the needs of citizens and make the banks more resilient. Credit unions would empower people to take financial matters into their own hands.
- Greece should keep for-profit interests from buying up its common wealth. This could be done via land trusts, not-for-profits and amending the constitution to make it unconstitutional for the government to sell off the commons.
- The Greek government should start using a wellbeing or happiness index to measure success, as Bhutan does. In this age of inequality, working class people and the unemployed can easily slip through the cracks of GDP growth.
- Businesses and the government should shorten the working week and encourage job-sharing, so more people can have part-time employment. This would counter the current problem of some having no work while others work 50 hours a week.
- Finally, the government should create legislation and encourage not-for-profit enterprise in every sector to prevent the extraction of profits from the real economy and encourage social entrepreneurs and innovators to start up their own not-for-profits. These enterprises would help alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Greece, create a more stable economy and keep the financial surplus in the real economy. By building an economy around social purpose, Greece could usher in the post-capitalist era, rather than fall victim to the unavoidable collapse of capitalism we are witnessing.