As Good As Our Bond (and Other Thoughts)

by John Psaropoulos

The stipulations of the May 2010 memorandum between Greece and the troika overseeing its 110 billion euro bailout are patently useful and necessary. Completing a limping privatization programme, reducing the state’s million-strong workforce and improving public transparency in major areas of expenditure such as healthcare are long overdue. So are a slew of development measures such as the opening of closed professions and markets and the parting of a Red Sea of bureaucracy.

But more than the obvious is needed. One of Greece’s greatest assets is its intellectual potential coupled with a national obsession with education. Drawing ideas from as many people as possible, something the government has tried to do by airing bills on, is a potential source of strength and innovation.

The country now needs the most imaginative, forward-looking and prescriptive ideas for policies it can generate, which could be implemented over the remaining two and a half years of the government's term and could boost competitiveness at relatively low cost. Here are a few to start with.

Bonds for taxes
Charter schools
Give the church a stronger social role
Liberalise energy
Give parliament’s audit committee the power to check political parties

(Posting date 16 March 2011)

John Psaropoulos is Director of College Development for Akto, the Athens College of Art & Design, and Greece correspondent for National Public Radio. From 2000 to June 2009 he was Editor-in-Chief of the Athens News, Greece's historic English-language newspaper, and has worked as Associate Producer for CNN in Atlanta. He studied Classics at King's College London (The University of London). He lives in Athens, Greece with his wife, poet A. E. Stallings, and their two Argonauts, Jason and Atalanta.
Mr. Psaropoulos maintains a weblog, The New Athenian, providing independent coverage and analysis of Greece and the region at .

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