A Citizen’s Guide to Greece 2015


January 30, 2014

On the “social” economy

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Written by: DW

Politis recently published a post on efforts in Northern Greece to encourage active citizens to involve themselves in matters of “social economy.” Below we share excerpts on the subject from an article by Andrew Higgins  in the New York Times.

“In their search for solutions, Greeks are tinkering with a new kind of economy with little precedent in modern Europe. The collapse of the Greek economy is challenging not only the survival of Greeks, but also some of the basic mechanisms of capitalism in a nation where the economy has shrunk by about 25 percent since 2008.

In the view of widening numbers here, Greece’s market-driven system has broken down, a victim of endemic corruption, budgetary mismanagement by the state and the overbearing demands of global financial markets.

In response, experimental ventures…  have sprung up on the margins in towns and cities across Greece. While they may not offer a long-term solution, and are too small to alter the overall shape of the economy, they represent a bottom-up effort to address an economic crisis whose closest antecedent may be the aftermath of World War II…

… the task of answering calls for a new economic order and bringing some relief to Greece’s misery has fallen to [the] people… [in] local nonprofit collective[s like] the Voluntary Action Group of Pieria.

The movement seeks to cut out wholesalers, shop managers, state bureaucrats or anyone else between producers and consumers who once took a share of profits and added to the costs of goods……

[This] is a small link in a long chain of ventures seeking to create a parallel ‘social’ economy, starting with what became known as the ‘potato revolution,’ a now nationwide movement that has slashed the price of potatoes by getting farmers to sell directly to customers…”


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