On October 26, I had the privilege of addressing the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. My subject was the Greek crisis: what else? However, I decided it was an opportunity to go beyond the basic account of the woes in Athens and give an informed and attentive audience greater insight into what led Greece to this point.
Unsurprisingly, when talking about Greece we rarely look beyond the last three years but it is of vital importance that we start to appreciate what happened in the lead-up to the crisis. It is time to assess the economic, political and institutional mistakes that were at the heart of the country’s collapse.
This is a favourite topic of discussion between myself and Yiannis Mouzakis and we hope to soon announce a joint project on exactly this subject.
In the meantime, I hope you have the time to read the speech (it’s rather long) and post your comments. Keep in mind that it is an overview and cannot in any way be considered a comprehensive account – there’s only so much you can fit into 25 minutes. The text contains a few paragraphs, mainly on domestic political issues, that I had to cut out of the speech due to time restrictions.
If it suits you better, there is audio of the event available here, courtesy of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, who I’d like to thank again.
If you prefer to read the speech yourself, then please do so while adopting the voice of an accomplished public speaker (unlike myself) and perhaps throw in a few humurous anecdotes of your own. I’m thinking Peter Ustinov might be good example to have in mind.
Much as it is an honour for me to be speaking at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs today, I’m fully aware that I’m here because of a word – a Greek word – that carries many negative connotations: crisis.
Over the last three years, you won’t have read a newspaper article, seen a TV report or listened to a radio program that referred to Greece and didn’t use the word “crisis.”
And for good reason too: the problems triggered by the Greek debt crisis have sent the country’s economy into freefall, destabilized its political system and thrown its society into turmoil. Beyond Greek borders, the crisis has threatened to destroy the euro, pull apart the European Union and cause global financial havoc.