Skip to main content
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track on the Olympic Games
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week for 24 weeks
Complete Olympic Games coverage at your fingertips
Your inside track onthe Olympics Games
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Been down so long it looks like up to me. The title of Richard Farina's cult 1966 novel is an apt description of the current state of the Greek economy. After many years of decline and despair, it seems the mood is improving.

Greece registered 84.1 in the European Commission's December survey of sentiment. That is well below the European Union's long-term average of 100, but close to the current euro zone level of 87. The last time Greeks were this optimistic was in January of 2010, just about three years ago, when the single currency average was 95.1.

It could be a blip, like the 83 reading in February, 2011. The country has certainly not emerged fully from the traumatic adjustment period. The reported unemployment rate remains 26 per cent and GDP is 19 per cent below the peak. Still, Greece may finally be moving on from the period of shock and complaints. Sentiment in the industrial sector was the highest since September of 2008, before the crisis began. That suggests that the country's potential wealth creators see opportunities.

Story continues below advertisement

Of course, it will take years – and many adjustments to labour practices and government policies – before the former high can be regained. But it would be unfair to expect too much. Like an athlete who no longer has access to steroids, Greece will have to work harder in the future to do as well as it did when it could take advantage of performance-enhancing foreign credit.

At least the supply of raw materials needed for fairly rapid growth is ample. Labour can come from the skilled and massively underutilized work force. Thanks to all the red tape and corruption, efficiency can be increased without much investment. And the EU provides a huge market for additional output from this small economy.

Down so long, even moving sideways may feel positive for Greece. But perhaps the country really is moving in the right direction.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies