This endless quest for growth will see Greece self-destruct

(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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

Continue reading at The Guardian.


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