Aris Melissaratos’ very academic article is the wake-up call Greece needs from its lethargic nap of the past 35 years. Ever since the left-leaning, non-capitalist advocates of the Andreas Papandreou regime, an era that transferred Greece from a progressive society in capitalistic thought and action to one geared toward socialism and dependence, Greece lost its way of the individual initiative. What was until then a steadily growing, albeit limited, industrializing society, was reverting to one agrarian in nature, and even less than that.
Aris’ explanations on how Greece arrived to the edge of the abyss are well defined, and his definitive but refined manner on how the Greek denizens decided to give the much-more-left SYRIZA a chance to govern because of no other end in sight, are the signs of the frustration and hopelessness the people felt for the failures of all other regimes for 35 years.
In fairness, however, we must understand the ages-old Greek psyche of Mom-and-Pop enterprises. Outside the ‘Big’ cities of Athens, Thessaloniki, Patra, and perhaps a couple-or-so others, Greek business society thinks in terms of ‘village mentality.’ Small enterprises outside the Mom-and-Pop family-oriented and -operated works are still in the Hellenic mind of the smaller in population regions. This does not in any manner mean that the larger cities should not develop and operate what Mr. Melissaratos so strongly and correctly advocates: “call to entrepreneurial action.” His practically direct documentation of very successful Hellene entrepreneurs throughout our planet is THE sign that, YES, Greeks CAN create that entrepreneurial society that the country requires.
Perhaps Aris’ most important, and significant, long phrase is that the Greeks “should appoint an international panel of proven (emphasis mine) Hellenic capitalists to devise and implement a new national strategy…..” on business activities. He is correct, not because he doesn’t think that the Helladics are not capable, for he thinks they are very capable indeed, but because no matter how much excellent “education” they may have received abroad, returning to Greece without several years of practical working experience in the “international” competitive sector leaves them short of expertise.
After the Greek Independence two centuries ago, it was the Hellenic Diaspora that helped Hellas return to the civilized world. Likewise, today, it is the 21st-Century-oriented Hellenic Diaspora that can help Greece advance to the modern and competitive level.
“Aris” is a very meaningful name, with many meanings, all positive. But the one I see mostly comes from “Aristos” — the very best. It is from this base as the source that the Hellenic American Community should concentrate and begin the ‘second’ Greek Independence assistance.
Dean C. Lomis, Ph.D.