Rewriting Greek economic history – the right way (and the ‘Jan Strupczewski’ way)
The economic slump in Greece is even deeper than we thought and austerity played and even larger role in causing this slump. than we assumed, up to now. At least, according to two new serious studies by Elstat, one containing revised trade data and the other containing data on spending on health.
* The trade data show that the goods trade deficit (not the same thing as the current account!) was between 2006 and 2010 even larger than estimated up till now. Which means that (A) the macro economic capital inflow imbalance was even larger while (B) the spending bust after 2010 had even larger consequences than hitherto estimated (as the deficit dwindled even faster, thanks to an unprecedented decline in domestic demand).
* The health data show that health expenditures declined from about 9 to about 8% of GDP while the old data showed that the share of health expenditure was more or less stable at 9 % of GDP (mind that GDP declined with 25%). This means that (largely government financed) health expenditure declined even faster than we thought which i.e. contributed more to the slump.
Taken together, means that austerity was even more brutal than we thought. Economic history is, to quite an extent, ‘bean counting’. And counting more beans or counting them in a more precise way sometimes changes our view of the past. Which is what Elstat did. This contrary to the endeavours of mr. Jan Strupczewski, as far as I know a Reuters journalist, who does not bother to make any kind of serious calculation or even a basic investigation of even the data and qualifies himself as a non-serious journalist – writing an article which implies that Varoufakis is to blame for the consequences of the closing of the banks (not for the closing of the banks, no, the lack of trust inspired by Varoufakis is what caused the consequences of the closing of the banks. I agree, not a very consistent or serious position but that’s exactly the problem). Please, Jan, take a course inaccounting. Rewriting economic history? Please! But be serious and count the beans. Or do the kind of non-serious articles you write offer you more chances for career-enhancement in Brussels?