Sunday, September 9, 2012

Primary Greek tax evaders are the professional classes

by Phillip Inman


September 9, 2012

There is one good reason for Greece to stay in the euro: to combat corruption. It is a sad fact that the country is riddled with it and needs outside pressure and support to sort things out. Athens is not the only place in Europe wrestling with corruption, but we'll come to that later.

Even if Greece and its prime minister, Antonis Samaras, could overcome the huge loss of pride and reap some of the economic benefits of quitting the single currency, they would still be left with a corrupt economy, much of which strengthens the power of unions and trade associations.

City economists tend to ignore the problem when they assess the pros and cons of euro membership. They have arrived at the collective opinion that leaving the eurozone is the best, if not the only, option for Athens. Central to the argument is that an independent drachma would immediately be devalued, making Greek exports more competitive and at a stroke wiping out many, if not all, of the country's debts.


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