A Happy Future is a Thing of the Past: The Creek Crisis and Other Disasters, London: Reaktion Books, 2018; 218 pp.: ISBN 9781780239859, 14.95 [pounds sterling]
The events that preceded the Greek Crisis and are still ongoing have produced fundamental problems in the debate on the European Union's (EU) role as an interventionist actor in member states. Two ideological camps are now deeply entrenched in the debate with pro-austeriry member states utilizing their political muscle within the Council of the European Union to marginalize pro-capital stimulus member states. This political stalemate has challenged the normative authority of the EU, in turn, sowing discontent throughout the periphery of member state countries. The questioning of the legitimacy of the European Monetary Union (EMU) by member states has put into question the survival of the EU's political project. The book, A Happy Future is a Thing of the Past: The Greek Crisis and Other Disasters, is an ambitious undertaking that traces the history of the Greek political economy and the lessons that have been learned in addressing austerity politics. In doing so, the author points out the effects of neoliberalism and the rise of the Greek political party, Syriza, to address the economic austerity that has been imposed on Greece by the European troika.
Pavlos Roufos argues that mechanisms used by the EU to handle budget deficits, the independence of the European Central Bank, and the historically under-industrialized Greek domestic economy have exacerbated a deficit problem that was overlooked by European Central Bankers. The historical narrative that is presented in A Happy Future is a Thing of the Past: The Greek Crisis and other Disasters, illustrates state coercion tactics after World War II that have allowed political elites to marginalize workers' rights through weakening trade unions allowing Greek business associations to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for technologies through tax incentives and low rates. As a result, the self-serving governmental elites have been able to extract capital from the promotion of natural resources in trade deals without reinvesting revenues back into domestic industry or the state. These actions implemented by governmental elites have stagnated the Greek economy and put it in an even more competitive disadvantage when joining the EU.
Through his historical analysis, the author argues that the Greek economic calamity is a...