Greece's Watershed Year
Forty years ago this month, a series of monumental events shaped Greece and its people, leaving a legacy that still determines our politics, economy and society. Greece is like a modern parable in its trajectory from the collapse of a military dictatorship, through the restoration of democracy and the euphoria of European Union membership, to the current battle with economic crisis and political uncertainty.
In Greece, 1974 was more important even than 1981, the year we joined what was then the European Economic Community, today the European Union. We hardly noticed 1989, and the collapse of the Soviet bloc, until Europe, our region and the global economy changed. Even 2001, when much of the world changed and when Greece adopted the European common currency, and 2004, when Athens hosted a successful Summer Olympics, were mere stops on the road from freedom to economic ruin.
The year 1974 set Greece on course for the greatest uninterrupted period of stability and prosperity in our history, but it also consolidated many problems that still plague us: deep mistrust of authority, resistance to reform, unbridled populism in politics and the media, a state-dominated economy that favors specific groups, and a political system that values expedience over efficiency and puts self-interest above the common good.
- article from The New York Times by Nikos Konstandaras