REFORMS: The most dangerous deficit

REFORMS: The most dangerous deficit

The greatest threat to democracy is the fear of reforms and changes.

This, however, societies alienated and occurs the rut.

Alexis de Tocqueville

The history of Greece as a modern state is the chronicle of a rare intermittent delay in pursuing reforms, which dictate specific developments. Thus, the economic progress brought about by slower degrees, while institutions and our infrastructure usually fall short in relation to our economic progress.

It is also known that the Greeks are glib and creative. See what should be done. And when done, adapt to it and thrive. In reality, after all, is the development of the Greek diaspora.

However, in Greece displays a social conservatism postpone, suspend or overturn the reforms, depending on the circumstances. The phenomena of individualism and “shots” are the main causes of this “antidynamikis.”

But there are times when the Greeks of “cast” as written by Ritsos. And then the resulting bright intervals, eg, the period from 1909 to 1913. Unfortunately, however these intervals succeeding periods of regression. Costas Simitis in a speech he referred to the “strangeness of history” who wants Greece to move forward, but after hesitating and “returns back.” We are currently experiencing this “weirdness” of history.

The reforms and European roadmap is the constant guidance of my journey. So I concur side when those who believe that they represent and ensure the reform process in the specific political context. This is my version of progress, as opposed to maintenance, which is steadily antimetarrythmistiki.

I believe that the younger generation today convinced of the need to overcome the causes that have led to involvement reforms. So it is optimistic. The vision of progress with the aim to accelerate the pace of our order to converge with the most advanced partners in the European Union can again, rally the majority of the Greeks, the demand for modernization dictated reforms and undertaking political cost is always topical.


The weaknesses of our political system are the main cause of reform idle – often antimetarrythmistikon recant in our country. Since the establishment of the Greek state in the 19th century until today the main source of Greek ‘lag’, the main obstacle to the formulation of an effective, democratic and socially just society is the logic of electioneering and customer relationships that dominate our political system. Thus created a series of dead ends and glitches that undermines the development and progress of the country.

The partisanship

Pathogenicity was previously expressed by party leaders and favoritism. Today expressed partisanship, ie the tendency of parties to penetrate all aspects of our society and seek to attract-and often-guardianship of their favor. The unbridled kommatikopoiisi that prevailed after the regime change, has undermined the autonomy and independence of institutions, values ​​and goals of each social space. Has imposed itself as a logical pursuit of partisan interests by the Public Administration by Culture and Sport. Too has been replaced by televised and democratically liked. Why too has a long perspective and are often short-term unpleasant.

Where the objective of the parties is to capture the state dominates the trend is to maintain the Status-quo, which guarantees the benefits of customer relationship management. The suspension or preventing reforms that aim to serve the public interest, the general welfare, but endanger the party interest, is the inevitable consequence.

The statism

The partisan control of the state leads to gigantism and hence the expansion of bureaucracy and interwoven with this corruption. The statism born of partisanship and fed him. Sovereignty implies state intervention in all spheres of public and social life. Means, firstly, adoption procedures – typically bureaucratic and useless – which guarantee to enhance the numerical staffing of public areas, which has primary responsibility as the Public Administration. It means, secondly, strong state presence in the production process. Finally statism reflects the mindset that considers the ‘impersonal’ State responsible and accountable for everything and requires government intervention at all, shifting so-virtually eliminating-the personal responsibility of citizens and public officials. The combination of these phenomena leads to immobility and inaction.
The expanding statism and political spheres. Starting with the state funding, the existing parties tend to change in a closed oligopoly misprint and public services. Main symptoms peculiar party statism is to develop mechanisms and customer relationship managers and wealth associated with the state sector. The result is alienation from society and infertility in visions and new ideas.
The sections that attempts George Papandreou, opening society, enrollment friends, decentralization of party operation and parallel operation non-partisan organizations (ISTAME, everyday citizens) contribute to the desired privatization of PASOK.

The political cost

The fear of the political cost of any changes of status-guo, deterrent at the party, government and private levels. The fate of almost all policies ventured to implement reform intersections turned on examples to avoid. George Rallis, in the first election after the implementation of the educational reform of 1976 and the introduction of demotic, was rescued at the last position of the Members elected. Anastasios melon, after the implementation of the Law on the ASEP, closed the door (because windows are open) for partisan appointments to the State has failed to re-election.

The Arabs – unrip

The continued Arabs – unpick that accompanies not only the alternation of parties in power, and the alternation of Ministers of the same party, a major cause of failure of reform. The current opposition is not limited to realize the political cost that causes a reform in each government. Promises to overthrow the reform just take power. Characteristic behavior of the Karamanlis government towards large incision Kapodistrias plan to join the TABs. Recently, there have been violent incidents in areas, residents whose current prime minister had promised before the elections the “empowerment” of communities, because they kept the promise of only three communities, already threatened the continuation and expansion of antimetarrythmistikou wave and risks canceled. a difficult and important reform. The long-suffering sector of education is a model of the tide sweeping reforms. Although everyone omnyoun the need to implement a national policy on Education, almost every government and every minister consider their debt to overturn the policy of their predecessors and implement their own reform.

Benefits and Costs

The temporal distribution of benefits and costs of each reform is a serious bottleneck in the reform effort. The benefit, as a rule, is not immediate. Therefore, those who are going to benefit not realize and do not support the change. However, the cost directly incurred and those affected, usually or with all motivated by organized minorities react dynamically and prevent or reverse the change.

Crisis of confidence

The lack of trust in the real objectives of the reform, due to accumulated unreliability of the political system, fueling reactions, resulting in the solution of a problem to be considered more dreaded by the problem. Reactions justifiable to the extent that the partisanship and cronyism dominate public life, laundered and gather broad acceptance. Characteristic weakness of the evaluation of the management of education and public administration. The lack of confidence that the evaluation will be done by unimpeachable and merit, it allows those who are fighting for selfish reasons to prevent, so far, to implement.

For an effective reform movement

Reforms to be feasible and acceptable must serve the public interest by making meaningful and effective changes in institutions, game rules and policy instruments for the promotion of social, welfare and progress of the whole. Then only reforms have social acceptance and duration. This strengthens social cohesion, a fundamental prerequisite for a balanced economic and social development. Although reforms have usually technocratic starting point, the contents of which can not and should not be one-dimensional technocratic. They convey meaningful political, reveal their identity, encapsulate values, pregnant developments.

Social vision

Citizens side when a reformist vision, offer more even sacrificing acquired enough to be convinced that labors and sacrifices of serving goals that will improve the lives of their own and their children. Citizens are willing to undergo sacrifices for the sake of a vision, which gives them the right to hope. No reform can not succeed unless you convince those who are concerned that it is to increase the benefits of a third party, but the public interest. That’s why in a climate dominated by artfully cultivated phobias and exacerbated by phenomena such as government inaction for fear of the political cost, the reaction of organized minorities and magnifying (up deforming) the operation of ‘television democracy, “the necessary reforms, did not find social supports the desired intensity for social acceptance and safeguard them ..
A new social vision that is shared fairly Gravitational benefits of the market economy is the big challenge in substance must live. The combination of reforms and social cohesion requires an increased sense of social responsibility by the State and the social partners. Requires the creation of a new balance between public and private. Requires the state to set rules that apply to everyone, to ensure their implementation. Do not socialized costs or privatized benefit. This is the modern social demand. The progress of society is more connected than ever, with social cohesion policy. This is the great challenge for Greece and for Europe. This is the main difference between the center-left and center-right.

Strategic plan

The realization of large-scale reform requires a strong and well-crafted strategic plan. Modern Europe and Greece can no longer rely on intensive activities of unskilled labor. To meet with success in the international competition must invest primarily in education, vocational education and training in innovation and technology to improve the quality and to move up the technological level of the products and services we produce. The big challenge for our economy is to attract foreign investment and openness through increased exports. And even as the reforms necessary for growth, so important is the development of a socio-economic background of the reforms.
The plan, to be credible, it must transparently analyze the cost and benefit. No reform can succeed only when others lose and others win only. Compensatory policies for those who suffer a necessary complement any serious reform policy. I use an example on campus. The abolition of the seniority list for the appointment of teachers should be accompanied by paid retraining programs for former graduates either to compete on equal terms with the youngest either refocusing professional to join the labor market outside the education sector.

The political year

Bids political time (timing) is an essential element for the implementation of a reform plan. The grace period that is after the elections a government and the electoral cycle delimit the period which is offered to pursue reforms. Why this time period nor the government’s credibility is impaired or is strong fear of political cost. The productive time a government is essentially limited to the first two years of office. So I think we should seriously discussed in the new constitutional amendment, increasing the parliamentary term from four to five years. Five years, in my opinion, provides the government greater scope to implement a comprehensive program and be judged on its results.

The vehicle of reforms

The parties are the vehicle and their role in parliamentary democracy is essential for the promotion of reform. Are carriers rallying active citizens, and must generate ideas and policies. Thus, the current ruling party is the instrument that can ensure the commitment of society to a reform program .. The question is whether the current parties can respond to this weight.

The political climate

Essential prerequisite for the success of reform is the political climate. Political tensions not create favorable conditions for fruitful dialogue and consensus necessary for a reform project. One of the main reasons that the government Mitsotaki failed to implement reforms in the key sectors of Education and the Economy was the tense political climate because of referral Papandreou to the Special Court in the context of so-called “cleansing”. The same mistake, to a lesser extent, echoed the current government.

The process

Equally important as the choice of targets is the procedure to be followed for a successful reform effort. Requires long and continuous consultation exhaustive public information on the objectives of changes, decisions and measures properly. Many times poor or incomplete process determines the fate of a reform more than the substantial correctness of the same reform. However, even if all the conditions are ensured not neutralized, aprioori, the risk of social conflicts. Conflicts always be there but the possible cancellation or overturning a reform is reduced, it suffices to argue with sincerity, strength and competence.

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