Friday, November 11, 2011

Greece Elects a Non-politician as its Savior Prime Minister

Dr. Lukas Papadimos became Greece's Prime Minister on November 11, 2011 through a consensus process that included the ruling socialist party, the opposition conservative party and the President of the Republic.

A member of no political party, Dr. Papdimos is a wise and unusual choice. A physicist and electrical engineer with a doctorate in economics, all from MIT, and professor of economics at Columbia University and the University of Athens. An academic and a numbers man.

Furthermore, Dr. Papadimos has had extensive experience in national banking affairs. Between 1980 and 1985 he worked at the US Federal Bank in Boston. Between 1993 and 2002 he was manager at The Bank of Greece. This was followed by the vice-presidency at the Central Bank of Europe until 2010 when he became financial adviser to the prime minister.

It appears that Dr. Papadimos is "what the doctor ordered" for Greece with its huge banking and debt financing crises. It remains to be seen whether the members of the Greek Parliament will re-orient their thinking around the goal of saving the country as opposed to their petty politicking, service to special interests, and focus on pet regional projects and re-election ambitions. (This may be too much to ask of parliamentarians who consistently did wrong for the country for decades.**)

I can only wish Dr. Papadimos the best of luck, and congratulate him for his bravery to pilot a half-sank ship in the middle of a hurricane.

(**) As an outside observer with a bit of knowledge of politics I am alarmed by the similarities among the Greek Parliament, the US Congress, and the Hawaii Legislature. Simply put, they keep making the wrong choices time and again, and driving the debt to the Billions and Trillions.

Like in Greece's past, all political "change" in the US and Hawaii has been fake. Until the knife reached the citizens' bones (as it has in Greece.) Although I hope for a big improvement, it may be too late and too painful to return Greece (and the US and Hawaii) to fiscal health and prosperity within a generation.