Winner of the New Statesman SPERI Prize in Political Economy 2016

Saturday 28 May 2016

Neoliberalism, Mirowski and me

Philip Mirowski is a historian who has written a great deal about both the history of economics as a discipline and about neoliberalism. He knows much more about the history of both subjects than I do. I was therefore somewhat dismayed that, in responding to some comments on his 2014 paper “The Political Movement that Dared not Speak its own Name: The Neoliberal Thought Collective Under Erasure” (pdf), he chose to start by making some comments on my recent blog post discussing neoliberalism.

He didn’t like it, for two main reasons. First, he disagrees with my definition. I have no problem with that, because I would never have the nerve to try and offer a definitive summary of the term. As I wrote in that post, I was just saying what I mean by the term when I use it. I’ll come to why he thinks that it was - to use his own words - ‘untutored’ later.

The second “more glaring error is to counterpose the beliefs of orthodox economists, who judiciously accept or reject various doctrines on the basis of their empirical relevance without bias, to those of the Neoliberals, grounded as they are in an impetuous ‘ideology.” In particular, he takes objection to my suggestion that economics can be used to critique neoliberal ideology. Here unfortunately there seems to be little correlation between his criticism and what I actually wrote.

He suggests that what he calls the ‘Neoliberal Thought Collective’ (NTC) has many more representatives in the economics profession than I could imagine. But how does he know what I imagine? At no point do I say that all economists are free of neoliberal ideology, and in the past I have argued exactly the opposite. But the fact that some economists might be neoliberal in outlook does not mean that economics cannot be used to critique neoliberalism. It is a category error that anyone who understood economics should not make. More on this below.

He also rather oddly says that I provide no example of how economics can be used in such a critique. It is odd because I give an example in the post. What he might be suggesting is that this actual/potential critique has not been effective politically, but that is something very different. It may just reflect that economists tend to be ignored when what they say is inconvenient, which is something I have talked about elsewhere.

Having said all that, in a tit for tat style, let me revert to Daniel Dennett’s rules, and say that I actually agree with some key points from Mirowski’s paper referenced above. First, we both agree that neoliberalism exists! Second, one of the key points I wanted to make in my post was that neoliberalism was not the same as mainstream economics. On page 8 of the paper he writes: “First, and this cannot be stressed enough, however much they sound alike, Neoliberalism and neoclassical economics are two completely different schools of thought.”

The way he sometimes describes it the NTC can sound like a great conspiracy, but another way of putting it would be to say that many neoliberal thinkers see themselves as part of a very political project. That is a third area of agreement: in my post I described it as a political movement or ideology. Fourth, I also agree that the lack of any self-identified group calling themselves neoliberal is not an issue.

What about definitions. In the paper (page 22) he outlines 11 ideas that the NTC believes in. I suspect one problem he had with my short definition (“hates ‘big’ government, dislikes any form of market interference by the state, favours business interests and opposes organised labour.”) is that it sounds libertarian. But I put ‘big’ in inverted commas for precisely that reason: neoliberals can be quite happy to use state power to achieve their objectives. They are not libertarian, which is a fifth point we agree on.

I have no wish to argue with his 11 statements, partly because I do not see neoliberalism as being particularly “coherent and consistent”. If there is a difference of emphasis between us, it is that he stresses support for the market and I stress dislike of the state interfering in (or undertaking what could be) market activities. One reason I would give for this difference is the corporation itself. It is possible (although not desirable, for reasons outlined many years ago by Ronald Coase) to set up ‘internal markets’ within corporations, or even break up corporations into a set of markets activities. This is not part of the neoliberal agenda: item (9) of his list of neoliberal beliefs is “Corporations can do no wrong—by definition.”

Another reason may be more personal, and that is austerity. Once you use basic macroeconomic theory (theory which Mirowski describes in his response as “just a sequence of faddish enthusiasms”) to see why the various reasons used to justify austerity make no sense, you are left with two explanations for why neoliberals would want to champion it. One is a dislike of the idea that state action might be needed to ‘mend’ the market, and the other is what I call ‘deficit deceit’: using austerity to shrink the state. At least a majority of academic macroeconomists, and possibly a clear majority, now view 2010 austerity outside the Eurozone periphery as a mistake, which does not fit well with the idea that economists are part of the heartland of the NTC?

Austerity is an example of where economics is really important to any critique of neoliberalism. It is here where I fundamentally disagree with Mirowski. Indeed, it is difficult for me to see how any effective critique of neoliberalism could not be based at least in part on economics. Take Mirowski’s second neoliberal belief: " “The market” is an information processor, and the most efficient one possible—more efficient than any government or any single human ever could be." Any economist should distinguish between an ideal market and any actual market. An important part of economics involves outlining the conditions under which markets are ideal in organising exchange, and the consequences of any departures from that ideal. That distinction is something an ordoliberal would recognise (at least in the case of the degree of competition/monopoly), but is generally ignored by neoliberals.

So if you want to analyse, for example, why setting up internal markets in the NHS, or privatising NHS activities, might or might not work, you need economics to understand when markets work well and when they do not. They might not work well, for example, if information about quality is difficult to obtain. (Economics is not the only discipline you would require: you would want to talk about motivations, and how a market ethos can damage shared goals, for example.) More generally the idea that you can critique an ideology which puts such faith in all markets without using the discipline that studies market efficiency seems strange to me.

Another example concerns the minimum wage. The neoliberal view would be that this a bad policy which will only reduce employment. It is economists who have both gathered the evidence and developed the theory to show otherwise. If economists were hopelessly embroiled in the NTC, why would this happen? I’m not arguing that it is not possible for economists to be influenced by neoliberal or ordoliberal ideology (the apparent opposition of most economists to the introduction of the minimum wage in Germany might be a case in point), but just that it has not happened to the extent Mirowski imagines, and it certainly has not become embedded in economic theory. When he says at the end of his response here that “it seems likely that opposition to neoliberalism will not arise from within modern economics, either” he almost has to be wrong.

Let me end with the example I gave in my original post and he appeared to ignore: capital requirements for banks. A substantial increase in capital requirements is a simple way of avoiding another financial crisis, and furthermore, because of its simplicity, a way that can hope to survive against relentless political pressure from banks. That the idea makes sense in terms of basic theory means that even economists like John Cochrane support it. In his time at All Souls in Oxford he would certainly have talked to the economist who has recently been pretty vocal in his calls for higher capital requirements in the UK. Mirowski overestimates the extent to which neoliberal ideas have become “embedded in economic theory”, and underestimates the power that economic theory and evidence can have over even those academic economists who might have a neoliberal disposition. If the tide of neoliberal thought is going to be turned back, economics is going to be important in making that happen.    


  1. Your regular reminder that understanding neoliberals and their enthusiasm for "free markets", austerity and structural reform is considerably easier if you view it through the lens of class interest.

    High Marx otherwise though.

  2. I cannot take seriously anyone who would unironically use a term like "Neoliberal Thought Collective", nothing about this is coherent. Nobody could seriously say that someone like John Cochrane and Brad DeLong, whose interactions are mainly spending most of their time (online) screaming at each other, are part of the same 'Thought Collective'. Yet this is what we expect out of a term so uselessly broad and under-appreciating of nuance as 'neoliberalism', so as to cover literally everyone from moderate or centre left like Paul Krugman or dare I say even Stiglitz, to the extreme (economic) right like Mises - absolute insanity.

    This is actually worse than when people on the far right describe EVERYONE else that disagrees with them as being part of a socialist thought collective, but at least socialism is an actual real tangible thing that people literally self identify themselves as, yet there are no self identifying neoliberal organizations.

    1. It is built on inproper equation and anayalism of them! they have to fail ,but they don't understand why they doctors bloodletting giving the patient arsenic its a total failure to evolve! from the begin of man we have collaborated from cavemen acting in hunting parties,cultivation of land for crops was never achieved individually! the greatest draw back for humanity,is the values the creation of money as had on achievement!

    2. Hmmm. Looks like your perspective is rather limited. If you are a 17th century Muslim resident of Constantinople reading about how Christians are killing each other en masse in the Thirty-Years war over differences in the role of the Papacy, you still think of them as being part of a single thought collective, given that they both adhere to kooky notions about the divinity of Jesus and the Holy Trinity.

      For critics of the Neoliberal Thought Collective (Mirowski's excessively cumbersome term for pro-corporate, state-managed market ideology), the fact that Brad DeLong and John Cochrane argue like shrews about the role of fiscal policy is just a storm in a teacup. What matters is that neither has any major differences on the legitimacy of corporate governance and its influences on state governance and policymaking. That makes them part of the same thought collective, from the point of view of a critic like Mirowski.

  3. A June 2016 paper by the IMF:

    "Neoliberalism: Oversold?"

    They focus on the problems of "capital account liberalization" (or financialization) and "fiscal consolidation" (or austerity.)

    Things are changing, even in the belly of the beast. When I first began studying economics the IMF, would force SAPs or (structural adjustment programs) on governments in exchange for loans. This was echoed in the advanced economies by politicians on the right and center-left pushing deregulation, financialization and deficit reduction over expanded government investment and regulation. Then the housing bubble and economic crisis happened.

    There is resistance in the economic profession but also important political movements of non-economist citizens who vote for Corbyn, Sanders, Syriza, Podemos, Trudeau, etc. I would suggest that those who are voting for UKIP/Leave or Trump are voting against establishment neoliberal policies that haven't worked for the average voter.

  4. "The way he sometimes describes it the NTC can sound like a great conspiracy".

    True. At times, however, I couldn't avoid thinking of the Borg, from Star Trek: "Resistance is futile".

  5. Commiserations Simon,

    I've long been a big admirer of Mirowski's fantastic work in the history of economic thought, though not always convinced by what he's argued. But who cares? It was bold, stimulating and well informed.

    I read Mirowski's Never Let a Serious Crisis Go to Waste" with great disappointment as to the new impatient, sneering tone thinking that not only is it a poor invitation to those who may not agree with all of his views to join him in fighting those things about neoliberalism that they agree are egregious. The sneering tone invariably leads to misunderstanding of others because it is so ungenerous in understanding what others might be trying to get at, as your post points out.


  6. The reason behind the secrecy of neoliberalism is that it is based on individualism,so even admitting their is a hayek society is proof that he was wrong!

  7. One is a dislike of the idea that state action might be needed to ‘mend’ the market ...

    Any economist should distinguish between an ideal market and any actual market. An important part of economics involves outlining the conditions under which markets are ideal in organising exchange, and the consequences of any departures from that ideal. That distinction is something an ordoliberal would recognise (at least in the case of the degree of competition/monopoly), but is generally ignored by neoliberals.

    As I understand Mirowski, the mere acceptance of 'The Market' as the ultimate point of reference - the ideal, as you call it - means you have already succumbed to the NTC. So even if empirical or theoretical analysis renders particular instances of the 'free market' impractical, unattainable, ethically unpalatable etc., it is still the overall asymptosis to which any serious 'micro founded' economist as well as anyone else within the NTC tent aspires. He describes ordoliberalism as a predecessor that, together with austrianism and the Chicago school, make up neoliberalism. So ordoliberals might stress a stronger separation between the state and the market whereas neoliberals have no qualms merging the two and subjecting all forms of life to market logic, but they both share the same ideal - namely 'The Market'. A term that is in itself short hand for freedom, a state of nature etc..

    ...The Heads of State or Government, on the basis of an awareness of a common destiny and the wish to affirm the European identity, confirm their commitment to progress towards an ever more ideal market among the peoples and Member States of the European Community...

    1. Markets exist. Economists study them.

    2. It’s not that simple in the modern economy where many markets only exist because of property rights existing under laws that economists have helped to inform. The market for carbon permits is an obvious example but the vast area of intellectual property markets also depends on economics-informed law.

    3. 'More generally the idea that you can critique an ideology which puts such faith in all markets without using *the* discipline that studies market efficiency seems strange to me.'

      Neoclassical economics (what you call 'economics') has a method for analysing social reality. Other schools of economics have completely different methods for analysing social reality. Mirowski's belief (I think) is that neoclassical microeconomics isn't useful for analysing social reality (and in particular neoliberalism). He probably thinks that there are better analytical tools that can be used to explain the phenomena that he describes as neoliberalism, which he would still classify as coming under the heading of economics (just not neoclassical economics).

      So it's not true to say that Mirowski thinks that *the* discipline which analyses markets shouldn't be used to analyse neoliberalism. He think that *a* (your) discipline isn't a useful tool, but that there are other disciplines (contained in the set 'economic schools of thought' but not in the subset 'neoclassical economics') that could be used.

    4. Thanks for your reply. I'll refrain from waiding further into the morass and leave Mirowski to speak for himself.

    5. And after the 19th century, they have studied markets in near-total isolation from the environmental, legal, public policy, and class/race/gender politics in which they are imbedded. I think the subsequent 126 years after Principles of Economics have shown clearly the outcome of such introversion.

  8. The striking fact about people that represent the Neo-Liberal agenda is that none of them proclaim themselves to be Neo-Liberals.

    Neo-Liberalism is the transfer of wealth and power upwards and those that espouse Neo-liberal theology understand that, The Koch Brothers are the most prominent forerunners of this doctrine and used their personal wealth to create institutions that would propagate their mythological belief system.

    The Koch Brothers and the Cato institute:

    The clear projection of Neo-Liberal doctrines can best be evaluated by the economic impacts around 1970 where incomes departed from productivity growth and where that productivity increased exponentially whilst incomes fell proportionally.

    1. Hmm your definition of neoliberalism seems more akin to left-wing thought in the modern West. Tax all you can from the middle-class and hand it out to your wealthy donors and friends.

  9. «you are left with two explanations for why neoliberals would want to champion it. One is a dislike of the idea that state action might be needed to ‘mend’ the market, and the other is what I call ‘deficit deceit’: using austerity to shrink the state.»

    There is also at least another, perhaps more likely, explanation why "*fiscal* austerity" or more precisely "slowing down fiscal expansion" is pursued, other than doctrines of market non-interference or of shrinking the state: that it is quite popular and a vote winner with the citizens in the upper-half of income and wealth, who are those who bother to vote and donate to parties and who are swing voters live in marginal southern seats.

    Do some blogging Oxford professors (or ex-City economists) bother to read the Mail or the Telegraph or chat with some members of the "conservatory building classes" of the southern parliamentary districts?

    These *voters* genuinely like higher unemployment and lower wages for the employee and servant classes (cheaper help is always hard to find), even if as much as bigger capital gains and rents and profits for themselves.

    Talk of (unqualified) "austerity" seems to me the usual pointless obsession with the fantasy of "austerity": neoliberals/aligned Economists don't advocate austerity or state non-interference with the market, or shrinking the size or power of the state, and this has not happened, and neither has "austerity": the neoliberal/aligned Economist recipe, at least in Anglo American countries, has not been "austerity", but its exact opposite: the use of the powers and resources of the state for relentless, ruthless boosterism and inflationism, but of asset prices rather than labour.

    This policy has been called "private keynesianism" by the perceptive C Crouch (a sociologist IIRC) and it is an expansionary one, based on boosting private spending via (effectively state-guaranteed) borrowing rather than public spending funded by taxes or deficit borrowing.

    "Private keynesianism" is probably the "signature" neoliberal policy, born perhaps in the USA from J Wanniski's "Two Santas" papers recently republished by B Bartlett.

    As our blogger has also noted a few times, the biggest story has been and continues to be that interest rates have been falling for 30-40 years, plus credit and leverage have been zooming up for 30-40 years (for friends of the ruling parties only), which is the opposite of "austerity", so most anglo-american culture countries have had 30-40 years of uninterrupted reckless neoliberal expansionism. As one (many!) neoliberals said "Reagan proved that deficits don't matter" (but only when they fund wars, tax cuts and bigger asset prices...).

    There have been some calls for *slower fiscal expansion* and indeed this has happened occasionally, but it has been more than compensated for by extraordinarily expansionary credit and interest policies.

    There is a good argument that under an inflation target policy, some governments have deliberately slowed down fiscal expansion to "force" (more likely "provide cover for") the central banks running extraordinarily expansionary credit and leverage regimes (but only in favour of big governments connected speculators and banks).

    Even the phenomenally "aligned" Economist Mervyn King has mumbled something against this.

    Since I find our bloggers posts usually quite interesting even if often a bit too "conformist" and he knows very well that overall policy has been and continues to be overall expansionary (except, as intended, for employment and wages), I wonder whether his obsession with the fantasy of "austerity" is "deformation professionelle" of the "Old New Keynesian" type.

  10. «"The way he sometimes describes it the NTC can sound like a great conspiracy".

    True. At times, however, I couldn't avoid thinking of the Borg, from Star Trek: "Resistance is futile".»

    Well, in particular in the USA, wealthy donors and sponsors can turn mere professors on "middle class" $600,000/year wages like L Summers into owners of significant wealth also thanks to $1,200/hour consultancy fees like G Hubbard.

    Who wants to bite then hand that might feed them? Or to have a colleague whose "unaligned" views might deter the donors or sponsors who can bestow such generosity towards their supporters?
    So it can be an "emergent" conspiracy, one that arises out, Adam Smith style, of the "invisible hand" of self interest for Economists to become "aligned" and ostracize "unaligned" colleagues.

    A couple of quotes:

    «Every year I publish papers in the top journals and they’re pure shit.” Doctor X, who by now had had a glass or two, felt bad about this, not least because “students these days are so idealistic and eager to learn; they’re really wonderful.” Furthermore Doctor X could and would like “to write serious papers but what would be the point?”»
    «The amount of funding Doctor X’s department receives depends not on how many papers or their quality its members publish, but instead on in which journals they are published. The journals in Doctor X’s field in which publication results in substantial funding will not publish “serious papers” but instead only “pure shit” papers, meaning ones that merely elaborate old theories that nearly everyone knows are false. Moreover, even to publish a “serious paper” in addition to the “pure shit” ones could taint the department’s reputation, resulting in a reduction of its funding.»

    And that was in the UK, where private donors and sponsors are nowhere as generous as those of the USA.


    «But to put it bluntly, the entire situation smells very, very bad. Enormous conflicts of interest among former government officials and/or economists, particularly those who specialize in regulation or antitrust policy, are now the rule rather than the exception.
    In addition, many of these economists violate their own university regulations by spending more time consulting than doing academic work, by not fully disclosing their consulting relationships, and by publishing research favorable to their clients without stating that they consult for the industries discussed in their publications.
    Now, given this situation, suppose you're a graduate student in economics or management, writing a Ph.D. thesis on telecommunications policy.
    Choice A: attack the clients and publications of all the senior professors supervising your work, and who are critical to your career.
    Choice B: make lots of money working for them, and then continue in their footsteps.
    Perhaps unsurprisingly, very few seem to opt for choice A. A number of prominent economists are privately very disturbed by this situation, but they are outnumbered and few dare to comment publicly about it. University administrators seem to be remarkably timid about reining in this problem.»

    An interesting detail for which I can't find now a quote is that K Lay, Chairman of Enron, funded 35 (thirty five) university chairs, in disciplines like accounting and Economics. Which head of department or administrator or professor wants to bite that kind of feeding hand?

    Resistance is not futile, but difficult, until the middle and lower classes realize that politics and Economics are (in very different ways) often pay-per-play, and they need to donate and fund the advocates for their own interests, instead of leaving that "burden" only to their "superiors".

  11. «Searching obituaries, the team found 452 who had died before retirement. They then looked to see what happened to the fields from which these celebrated scientists had unexpectedly departed, by analysing publishing patterns.»

    An amusing quote from LR Wray, one of Minsky's students who wrote of H Minsky early career:

    «He was writing it under the direction of Harvard Professor Joseph Schumpeter, who, Minsky joked, "committed the cardinal sin of a dissertation advisor -- he died"»

    H Minsky realism, once again :-).

  12. When Mirowski (p.10 of his article) states “the distinguishing characteristic of neoliberal doctrines and practice is that they embrace this prospect of retasking the strong state to impose their vision of a society properly open to the dominance of the market” he grasps the essential point. What irked neoliberals of all varieties was not the size of government as such but its use to implement reforms that shifted the balance of market power from capital to labour, or from a narrow elite to the broad population.

    From Pinochet’s coup through Thatcherism and the Washington consensus to austerity and the humiliation of Greece, neoliberalism has sought to reverse that shift. That involves shrinking areas of government, whether social insurance or regulatory, that restrain the power of capital. But it also strengthens areas that enhance that power, such as police/military forces or support for banking and intellectual property rights. It also means shielding decisions from popular influence through institutions such as independent central banks and trade treaties.

  13. Mirowski's main concern is establishing that everybody other than Mirowski is a moron

  14. Neo-classical economics is connected to Neo-liberalism as classical economics is connected to classical liberalism. It puts the market at the centre of analysis, this includes, and in many ways particularly so, (microfoundational) New-Keynesian economics.

    You cannot offer radical solutions while you insist on standardising such a framework. It is an old debate and one of the key attackers of this framework was JM Keynes:

    "Perhaps the reader feels that this general, philosophical disquisition on the behaviour of mankind is somewhat remote from the economic theory under discussion. But I think not. Tho this is how we behave in the market place, the theory we devise in the study of how we behave in the market place should not itself submit to market-place idols. I accuse the classical economic theory of being itself one of these pretty, polite techniques which tries to deal with the present by abstracting from the fact that we know very little about the future (Keynes 1937: 215)"

    I suggest you read this:

    I put my own views on this earlier on the comment sections of Lars Syll's blog:

    The economic problem is defined as limited resources and unlimited wants. That from the beginning elevates the market. It is a cynical view of both individuals and society. It is inherently anti-social. A whole subject is built around the notion of constrained optimisation. No justification is really given for the adoption of this key philosophical foundation. Generations of economists have been told that free trade, capital and labour flows are good without really asking serious questions about them. Power relations are pretty much ignored. The subject is positivist and rational choice based ( a common factor with neo-liberalism in political science – where it is just one school of thought- and neo-classicism in economics – where it is considered that all analysis should be standardised). There is a strong suggestion that the economy follows natural laws that have no proper basis in history or scientific observation. One is that there is a natural rate of unemployment – very useful for constraining the state in dealing with social problems which could achieve full employment but would change the relationship between capital and labour. Large scale immigration – particularly of cheap labour – and free capital flows are considered all-good and the social implications of these policies (marginalisation, community frictions and again a change in the relationship of capital to labour – are played down). Models show returns to stationary states in the long run – again historical fiction. Implied is that the state is either fighting these universal natural laws or is called in to places where this apparatus which ‘should’ optimally allocate resources – by laws of nature -occasionally works suboptimally. What is disturbing is a lack of philosophical context to the elevation of the market to the centre stage of macroeconomic analysis – even though an economy is a social system – or the contraptions that are used as analysis – models -seem to be considered sufficient intellectual devices to deem well developed theories and proper deliberative discussion unnecessary.

    Put another way, neo-classical economics bows to market idols - even if it tweaks general equlibrium models to allow for frictions, it is still the core framework; and in so doing marginalises philosophical considerations relating to human and social behaviour.


  15. "A substantial increase in capital requirements is a simple way of avoiding another financial crisis, and furthermore, because of its simplicity, a way that can hope to survive against relentless political pressure from banks."

    I think there is a bigger contradiction between the want for more lending and the want for responsible lending than you acknowledge here. If lending becomes riskier there is a good chance that there will be less overall lending especially when there is difficulty assessing the risk of projects. This seems to me to be the reason why governments are reluctant to increase capital requirements very much. After all every central banks seem desperate for the banks to increase their lending and I have a hard time seeing how that can work whilst said lending becomes riskier.

  16. «and the humiliation of Greece»

    That's the usual delusional "thinking". The right-wing greek governments of 2008-2012 engineered quite deliberately a fraudulent bankruptcy of the greek state, by borrowing hundreds of billions thanks mostly to colossal, long-term, fraud in public accounts, described by the greek prime minister in the greek parliament and thus undisputable, and then distributing the loot to their ravenous political machines. The percent of yearly GDP borrowed with no intention to repay, of payouts to favoured constituencies, of spending on imported goods, are almost the same (at the peak 20% of GDP each, an astounding fact that is ignored by the delusional "thinkers"). Baseline greek GDP stayed the same, like in several european countries, between 2004 and 2012; the only changes in between were the inflow of fraudulently borrowed money, and its spending it on imports. It is rare that a scam is so clearly documented in the data.

    1. And the point of that being? If the people of all countries were to be held accountable without exception for the economic fecklessness of their politicians, we would all be beggars. But that is what is being asked of Greece, with or without humiliation.

      Anyone who informed themselves about the political/fiscal quagmire that Greece was sinking into in the decade after joining the euro zone would never have lent the country a single penny, and that is why I have a hard time sympathizing with anyone who demands that Greece's creditors take anything less than a 100% haircut. To say nothing of using repayment (and the concomitant threat of shutting down the banking system) as a tool to reduce not just public sector salaries or pensions (necessary) but to also savage public sector employment at a time when the Greek private sector is completely unable to offset the gap. To believe that the Greek economy can quickly pull itself up by its bootstraps after such therapy is the actual delusional "thinking".


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