Finding New Solutions to Greek Economic Problems by Extending Legislative Authority to Lower Levels of Government

The Greek government, in its current form, is letting its people down. The Greeks face nearly unprecedented economic problems. They’ve expressed their desire for change through every available mechanism, both inside and outside the structure of their government. The Greek government has proved incapable of the decisive action and creative problem solving that is required during this unique crisis, or of solving the systemic issues that created this crisis in the first place.

The American system, in which states can legislate independently from the National Government on certain issues, has the potential to solve many of the problems the Greeks currently face. Independent regional legislation offers ordinary citizens an outlet through which they can actively shape their own circumstances without having to fight through the gridlocked national government. This allows and incentivizes experimentation without making the nation as a whole vulnerable to the consequences of one region’s poor decisions.

The purpose of this essay is to identify components of the American political economy that can be applied to the Greek system to bring about positive change. It draws from a variety of sources including websites, government documents and journal articles.

Many of the sources used in this essay are expository documents published by governments aiming to explain as objectively as possible how governments or components of governments are supposed to function. These include the United States Constitution, the Greek Constitution, the American 2012 Census of Governments, and the framework contract outlining the division of powers in Greece.  Several documents such as “Decentralization, Local Government Reforms, and Perceptions of Local Actors: The Greek Case”, and “European Economic Crisis: Enhancing Good Regional Governance in the EU The Case of Greece” attempt both qualitative and quantitative analysis on various policies implemented by the Greek government in recent years. These academic analyses conclude that current policy and recent reform has been inadequate for Greece. What is required is improvement by means not currently being discussed within the framework of Greece’s relations with the Troika and the rest of the Eurozone. Many of the other articles used from sources such as The Economist, CNN and Reuters support this viewpoint with anecdotal rather than analytical evidence. Nearly all sources endorse change, though few offer substantial policy adjustments. This essay will propose a potential policy solution to the current problems Greece faces in the form of a structural political change at the regional level. For analysis of American policy, this essay leans heavily on Forbes articles, which may have a conservative bias, and lean towards support for policies that grant states high degrees of independence.

Nathan Whiteman is a Junior Researcher at I.R.T.E.A. since October, 2015 and Senior at Lawrence University studying History and Economics. He is President of Lawrence University’s Model United Nations. Currently he is studying in Athens with the DIKEMES program. His past work includes time as a Communications Intern with the Tenth Congressional District Democrats in Illinois as well as with Nancy Rotering’s Congressional Campaign. He has strong MS Office and research skills and experience with executive communications and policy analysis.

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Policy Paper No1 Nathan WHITEMAN