Don’t kill the patient through medicine overdose!

The Greek National Council on Research and Technology, the highest-level independent advisory body to the Ministry of Education on matters relating to research infrastructure and funding, has issued a statement regarding the current Greek situation. The main point is this:
There is no doubt that extensive reforms are needed, also in the area of research and its link to technology and production. Our Council is actively engaged in this restructuring, and we can attest to the determination of those involved in this process to transform the research landscape and to promote research excellence. Given the present state of research infrastructure and institutions in Greece, putting pressure to implement reforms across the board (such as research center closures and mergers, and reduction in research personnel) in a very limited time of a few weeks can be detrimental to the ultimate goal, namely that of providing the necessary preconditions for future growth. This is a time when international creditors need to be firm in their pressure for reforms but not impatient and unreasonable in the time frame they require. The patient needs to be cured, not killed due to overdose!

You can find the letter in English here. A related interview by Michael Haliassos in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung here.

About M_Haliassos

Goethe University Frankfurt

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One Response to Don’t kill the patient through medicine overdose!

  1. Greece should return to growth in 2014, Mr. Reichenbach (Head of the EU Task Force in Greece) said. Perhaps that made some people feel good. Excuse me; feel good?

    Another at least 2 years of economic decline? Put differently: another at least 24 months of a development which has already tested social peace quite noticeably every month? By the way, growth after 5 years of decline is not growth; it is only the beginning of getting back to where one already was before.

    Now if that is not a final call that something needs to be done urgently to revive a dead economy, then I don’t know what is. Or does anyone really believe that social peace can survive another 24 months the experiences of the last 24 months?

    A well-known international consulting firm published a report which suggests how 500.000 new jobs could be created over the next 10 years. Over 100 specific projects are identified. What should be done?

    Well, first of all – read the report! Secondly, take the first 10 projects, implement them in 2012 and create 50.000 new jobs next year. Any further questions?

    Yes; who should finance this? Well, certainly not the government because government money tends to end up in the wrong pockets (and the government has no money anyway). Private money should finance it! But who would invest in Greece these days?

    Any investor will invest in Greece if he is offered an interesting project, a security for his investment and a competitive business framework. Can this be done quickly in the whole country?

    No, it cannot! But it could be done very quickly in selected parts of the country. The Chinese didn’t want to throw out communism but they also saw that without some capitalism they would never get their feet on the ground. So they started with selected Free Trade Zones. Why not learn a bit from the Chinese?

    So the recipe is quite simple: take the first 10 projects for 2012; structure them professionally and invite bids from investors; define zones where investors are offered all the security, economic framework and profit potential which they desire — and get started!

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