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Conflicting takes on Greece

January 28th, 2015

A liberal author warns that if Greece’s new anti-austerity leaders choose to keep their electoral promises, they will end up plunging their country into misery. A right-wing commentator agrees with a Marxist philosopher in believing that the victory of Syriza may bring renewal throughout Europe.

On HVG online, György Iványi, a former leading banker, calls the economic program of the new Greek government pure demagoguery and explains their victory with the inclination of the people to vote for dreams. He suggests that other countries, including Hungary produce very similar symptoms “both on the right and on the left”. In such fertile soil, he explains, “esoteric financial theories blossom undisturbed,” – theories which blame austerity as the cause, rather than the result of shortage. Now the new Greek leaders have cut back on their promises but still demand more respect – and money. “And what if the European Union does not give more, fearing to encourage populism elsewhere? he asks. Greece may easily find itself with even less money than so far if investors leave and households start withdrawing their savings.

In Magyar Hírlap, Zsolt Bayer for once agrees with Marxist philosopher Gáspár Miklós Tamás, who enthusiastically welcomes the victory of Syriza. Tamás admits that Syriza is a coalition of communist groupings, but its leaders do not seek an impossible communist revolution  Bayer believes Tamás’s only mistake is that he still believes in Marxism, but otherwise he is right in welcoming the Greek revolt against “hyper-capitalist and neo-liberal policies”. What the right-wing commentator finds particularly encouraging is a left-wing movement which “is finally not busy pondering where people belonging to the neutral gender should go to relieve nature”. He concedes that conservatives, on the other hand, tend to be nostalgic about an old world of class privilege. He hopes something new may have begun in Greece.

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