Class and Politics in the Greek Debt Crisis

  • Vassilis K. Fouskas
  • Constantine Dimoulas


The mainstream view on the causes of the Eurozone crisis is that it is a fiscal crisis that emanated partly from the incompetence of the peripheral EU states to collect taxes, partly from their own states’ profligacy with a huge and uneconomic public sector, and partly from the ‘fact’ that these societies are not working as hard as their northern neighbours. This mainstream view has been defeated by original work carried out in the past few years not only by Marxisant scholars and heterodox economists, but also by important financial commentators and journalists, such as Martin Wolf of the Financial Times. The Eurozone crisis, this winning approach argued, is a balance of payments crisis that is bound up with Germany’s anti-inflationary, low wage, export-led growth creating permanent surpluses for itself and permanent deficits for the periphery. This chapter aims at going a step further. Following a ‘global fault-lines’ approach1, it produces a historical reading of the Greek social and political economy, bringing into context not just economic indicators but also geopolitical and security ones. Thus, readers will become aware that periphery social formations, especially Greece, are connected with some inextricable historical and structural contradictions and fault-lines that go well beyond the country’s entry into the EMU in 2001 and refer to the country’s geostrategic and geopolitical location in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Balkans


  1. Aglietta, M. (2008). Understanding the structured credit crisis. In La Lettre du CEPII, 275. Paris: Centre d’ Etudes Prospectives et d’Informations Internationales.Google Scholar
  2. Bank of Greece. (1998, 2011). Annual reports of the Governors. Athens: Bank of Greece.Google Scholar
  3. Brenner, R. (2003). The boom and the bubble. The US in the world economy. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  4. Brenner, R. (2006). The economics of global turbulence. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  5. Busch, K. (1976). Die Krise der Europäischen Gemeinschaft. Hamburg: Europaische Verlagsanstalt.Google Scholar
  6. Chase, J. (1999). Acheson. The Secretary of State that created the American world. New York: St. Martin’s Press.Google Scholar
  7. Dellas, & Darvas, Z., et al. (2012). A comprehensive approach to the Euro-area debt crisis. Brussels: Bruegel. Available at Accessed 16 Jan 2013.
  8. Duncan, R. (2012). A new global depression. New Left Review, 77, 1–21.Google Scholar
  9. Epstein, G. A., & Wolfson, M. H. (2013). Introduction: The political economy of financial crisis. In H. M. Wolfson & G. Epstein (Eds.), The political economy of financial crises (pp. 1–20). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  10. EU. (2010). Ex-post evaluation of cohesion policy programs 2000–2006 co-financed by EFDF. Synthesis report.Google Scholar
  11. Fine, B. (2010). Locating financialisation. Historical Materialism, 18, 97–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Fouskas, V. K. (1997). The left and the crisis of the third Hellenic Republic, 1989–1997. In D. Sassoon (Ed.), Looking left (pp. 64–88). London: I.B. Tauris.Google Scholar
  13. Fouskas, V. K. (1998). Italy, Europe, the Left. The transformation of Italian communism and the European imperative. Aldreshot: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  14. Fouskas, V. K. (2011, December 5). A Greek tragedy: The making of Greek and Euro-Atlantic ruling classes. Open Democracy.
  15. Fouskas, V. K., & Dimoulas, C. (2012). The Greek workshop of debt and the failure of the European project. Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, 14(1), 1–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fouskas, V. K., & Dimoulas, C. (2013). Greece, financialization and the EU. The political economy of debt and destruction. New York/London: Palgrave-Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fouskas, V. K., & Gökay, B. (2005). The new American imperialism. Bush’s war on terror and blood for oil. Connecticut: Praeger.Google Scholar
  18. Frank, A. G. (1972). Lumpenbourgeoisie, Lumpendevelopment. New York: Monthly Review Press.Google Scholar
  19. Freris, A. (1986). The Greek economy in the 20th century. London/Sydney: Croom Helm.Google Scholar
  20. GHK. (2002). The thematic evaluation on the contribution of the structural funds to sustainable development EC. Brussels: DG Regio.Google Scholar
  21. GHK/PSI/IEEP/EC. (2003). The contribution of the structural funds to sustainable development. A synthesis report (Vol. 1, chapter 4). EC: DG Regio.Google Scholar
  22. Glyn, A. (2007). Capitalism unleashed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Gowa, J. (1983). Closing the gold window. Domestic politics and the end of Bretton Woods. New York: Ithaca.Google Scholar
  24. Gowan, P. (1999). The global gamble. Washington’s Faustian Bid for world dominance. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  25. Hellenic Statistical Agency (ELSTAT). (2011). Concise statistical yearbooks for the years 1980–2011. Athens: ELSTAT.Google Scholar
  26. Hobsbawm, E. (1995). Age of extremes. London: Abacus.Google Scholar
  27. Lapatsioras, S. et al. (2009). On the character of the current economic crisis radical notes.
  28. Lapavitsas, C. (2013). Profiting without producing. How finance exploits us all. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  29. Lapavitsas, C., et al. (2010). Euro-zone crisis: Beggar thyself and beggar neighbour. Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, 2(4), 330–368.Google Scholar
  30. Lapavitsas, C., et al. (2011). Breaking Up? RMF, SOAS.Google Scholar
  31. Manolopoulos, C. (2011). The Greek economy and the banking sector. Athens: Marfin Investment Bank.Google Scholar
  32. Martin, R. (2003). The impact of the EU’s structural and cohesion fund on real convergence in the EU. Brussels: European Central Bank.Google Scholar
  33. Michalopoulos, G. (2012). Financing Greek banks during the crisis. Athens: Alpha Bank.Google Scholar
  34. Milios, Y., & Ioakeimoglou, I. (1990). The internationalisation of Greek capitalism and the balance of payments (in Greek). Athens: Exantas.Google Scholar
  35. Milios, Y., & Sotiropoulos, D. (2010). Crisis of Greece or crisis of the Euro? Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, 12(3), 223–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Mundell, R. (1961). A theory of optimum currency area. American Economic Review, 51(4), 657–665.Google Scholar
  37. Pagoulatos, G., & Triantopoulos, C. (2009). The return of the Greek patient: Greece and the 2008 global financial crisis. South European Society and Politics, 14(1), 45–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Palloix, C. (1975). L’ internationalisation du capital. Paris: F. Masperó.Google Scholar
  39. Panitch, L., & Gindin, S. (2012). The making of global capitalism. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  40. Pavlopoulos, P. (2011). What the bailouts want to achieve is unconstitutional (in Greek, 12 October).
  41. Poulantzas, N. (1974). Les classes sociales dans le capitalism aujourd’hui. Paris: F. Masperó.Google Scholar
  42. Sassoon, D. (1986). Contemporary Italy. London: Longman.Google Scholar
  43. Sassoon, D. (1996). One hundred years of socialism. London: I.B. Tauris.Google Scholar
  44. Stockhammer, E. (2013). Financialization and the global economy. In M. H. Wolfson & G. A. Epstein (Eds.), The political economy of financial crises (pp. 512–526). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Tolios, Y. (2011). Crisis, ‘Odious’ debt and violation of payments. Athens: Topos (in Greek).Google Scholar
  46. Union of Greek Banks. (2011). The Greek banking system. Athens: UGB.Google Scholar
  47. Varoufakis, Y. (2015). Conversation with Lamond and Mars, Dromos tis Aristeras (in Greek, 17 July).Google Scholar
  48. Fouskas, V. k., & Gökay, B. (2012). The fall of the US empire. Global fault-lines and the shifting imperial order. London: Pluto press.Google Scholar
  49. Wolf, M. (2012, October 3). Lecture at Richmond University London, mimeo.Google Scholar
  50. Wolf, M. (2013, June 18). Financial Times.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vassilis K. Fouskas
    • 1
  • Constantine Dimoulas
    • 2
  1. 1.University of East LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Panteion University of Social and Political ScienceAthensGreece

Personalised recommendations