Hope is not a strategy

The albinic white elephants are extremely rare in India. They are also an expensive and priviledged possesion. However, they demand such a degree of care and maintenance that renders them practiaclly useless. For them to turn from a liability into an asset, special plans have to be made.

Similar is the Eurogroup’s agreement extending the Greek bailout program by four months. It is a hard won agreement that buys precious time for Alexis Tsipras, but unless the Syriza-led government starts working hard over the drawing board, the much celebrated agreement will prove to be a bridge to nowhere.

While the Greek government sits on a timebomb and needs to swiftly device plans that meet the already-agreed-upon fiscal goals, one cannot but realise that to open, right now, a national dialogue on immigration or education -as proposed-, is a scheme that is shooting at the stars. In the meanwhile, the country has reached its treasury bill ceiling at the ECB and the certainty that its banking system will maintain any liquidity at all, is just not there.

Greece has received warnings regarding its pension system and the last government had a suitable plan at the hulls. The Syriza government now promises to raise the average pension, without proposing any counter-measure. In an equal attempt to pinpoint symbolic action it plans to rehire previously fired public television employees by raising taxes accordingly up to 35 million € and close down a major privately owned goldmine, on questionable environmental grounds. The loss of thousands of jobs in that case, obviously does not interfere with Syriza’s fetish for the protection of  labor.

But even if the above policies found many people to be on board, they lack the structural reform orientation. They do not only misdirect the public attention from Greece’s obligations, but at the same time perpetuate the accumulation of more problematic state involvement in the economy.

This government is fresh and its will to push for romantic left agendas was predictable. But they quickly need to realise that no government designs policies in a vacuum, wishful thinking does not help balance any budgets and to elevate hope at the status of national strategy is wilfull blindness, at best. Hopefully, the Greek government does indeed want to continue with the structural adjustment program and the four month deal will not be used as a curtain to hide behind. Hopefully, they will make those realizations and the four month extension will not be turned into a non-producing “white elephant”. Hopefully.