Guardian: “Greece needs debts cancelled and growth”

An EU and a Greek flag fly in front of the ancient Parthenon templeIn an open letter that was published by The Guardian on Tuesday, 35 economists from all around the world ask for the cancellation of a large part of the country’s debt.

As economists, we note that the historical evidence demonstrates the futility and dangers of imposing unsustainable debt and repayment conditions on debtor countries; the negative impact of austerity policies on weakening economies; and the particularly severe effects that flow on to the poorest households.

We therefore urge the troika (EU, European Centra Bank and IMF) to negotiate in good faith with the Greek government so that there is a cancellation of a large part of the debt and new terms of payment which support the rebuilding of a sustainable economy. This settlement should mark the beginning of a new EU-wide policy framework favouring pro-growth rather than deflationary policies.

We urge the Greek government to abandon the austerity programme that is crushing economic activity and adopt a more expansive fiscal policy setting, targeting immediate relief from poverty and stimulating further domestic demand; to launch a fully independent investigation into the historic and systemic failure of the Greek public financial management processes (including any evidence of corruption) that led to the accumulation of debt, the disguising of the size and nature of the debt and the inefficient/ineffective use of public funds; and to consider the establishment of a judicial body or alternative mechanism that is independent of government and charged with a future responsibility of investigating corruption from the highest to lowest levels of government.

We urge other national governments to exercise their votes within official sector finance agencies and to pursue other diplomatic activities that will support a cancellation of a large part of the Greek sovereign debt and new terms of payment for the rebuilding of a sustainable Greek national economy.

  • Malcolm Sawyer Emeritus prof, University of Leeds
  • Danny Lang Associate prof, University of Paris
  • Prof Yu Bin Professor and deputy director, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
  • Prof Ozlem Onaran University of Greenwich
  • Prof Mario Seccareccia University of Ottawa
  • Hugo Radice Life fellow, University of Leeds
  • John Weeks Professor emeritus, Soas, University of London
  • Prof Howard Stein University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • Anitra Nelson Associate professor, RMIT University, Melbourne
  • Prof George Irvin University of London, Soas
  • Dr John Simister Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Mogens Ove Madsen Associate professor, Aalborg University
  • Wang Zhongbao Associate professor, editorial director, World Review of Political Economy
  • Dr Susan Pashkoff Economist
  • Andrea Fumagalli University of Pavia
  • Pat Devine University of Manchester
  • Professor Ray Kinsella University College Dublin
  • Alan Freeman Co-director, Geopolitical Economy Research and Education Trust
  • Eugénia Pires Economist, member, Portuguese Citizens Debt Audit
  • Dr Jo Michell University of the West of England, Bristol
  • Michael Burke Economist, Socialist Economic Bulletin
  • Paul Hudson Formerly Universität Wissemburg-Halle
  • Dr Alan B Cibils Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Guglielmo Forges Davanzati Associate prof, University of Salento
  • Prof Sergio Rossi University of Fribourg
  • Faruk Ulgen Associate prof, University of Grenoble
  • Tim Delap Positive Money
  • Eleni Paliginis Middlesex University
  • Grazia Ietto-Gillies Emeritus professor, London South Bank University
  • Professor Radhika Desai University of Manitoba
  • Michael Roberts Economist, ‘The next recession’
  • Michael Taft Unite the Union, Ireland region
  • Dr Andy Denis City University London
  • Peter Kenyon Chartist
  • Professor Emeritus Geoffrey Colin Harcourt UNSW Business School


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