Dear Troika: It Is Crucial That You Tailor Your Decision

Dear Troika*,

The most consequential decision of your careers could be the pending economic assistance agreement with the Government of Greece. This letter contains important information about the Greek people that is critical to your decision but has been buried by inaccurate media reporting. It involves a subject area mentioned by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in his inaugural address with which I am sure you agree.

The Prime Minister referred to his aim of eliminating endemic governmental corruption that discourages voluntary tax payments and other adherences to governmental policies. He also expressed his intent to end practices of Greece's economic elites that are anti-competitive and that stifle economic development. And as importantly he appealed to the restoration of the dignity of the Greek people.

If the Greek people get a "breather" from their back-breaking and counter-productive austerity, as President Barack Obama and former President Bill Clinton have long advocated, and if these reforms of the Prime Minister become reality, an unknown quality of the Greek people will greatly benefit the EU.

The Greeks who immigrated to America - who were universally poor and uneducated exhibited this unknown quality. Unlike most other nationalities in America, the Greeks rose, in just one generation, to be among America's leaders in education and income. And those who emigrate from Greece today, on average, surpass even the very successful Greeks born in America.

Once out from under the restraints of the Greek system, Greeks excel economically in virtually every country to which they have immigrated. We are confident that the same dramatic economic success will occur in Greece once the fetters are removed.

If your agreement with Greece helps unleash the Greek people, hundreds of millions/billions in "pent-up" Greek-American investment dollars will flow to Greece. And a flood of non-Greek funds will follow once it is clear that a reasonable profit can be made from that investment.

To understand this ability of the Greek people to accomplish extraordinary things one must be aware of what the Greek people did when they and the world were put to the ultimate test. It was a time when the citizens of every one of our countries were brutalized by modern history's most extreme and threatening fascism. It is little known that Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin, Hitler's Field Marshall William Keitel and many others in a position to know, agreed with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill who said, "Were it not for the Greek people we do not know what the outcome of WWII would have been."

Another example of this exceptional Greek ability occurred when Greece's national religious leader became the only one in an occupied country to publically oppose the Holocaust. His actions were indicative of the unsurpassed sacrifice and courage the Greek people showed in the face of the Holocaust.

It is not an accident that the Greek people - 15 centuries before the wheel came to the Americas - measured the circumference of the earth within 10% accuracy, created the first computer, democracy, trial by jury, modern medicine and civilian control of the military, to name just a few,. Nor is it a coincidence that Greek-Americans who make up only one out of every 250 Americans made up 66% of the Rhodes Scholars in the Congress of the United States in the 1970s.

Finally, to truly understand the gross inaccuracy of the international media's portrayal of the Greek people in recent years you must watch a short YouTube video featuring world renowned Greeks called "The Greek Secret". In describing the uniquely Greek word "philotimo," it exposes a little-known, deep and pervasive quality that enables Greek people to rise so high above the norm.

It is crucial that you tailor your decision to fit the actual characteristics of the Greek people so that it will unleash their remarkable capabilities. It is only through such a focus and "breather" that any possibility of catastrophe can be avoided, the Greek economy grown and Greece's debt to GDP ratio finally improved.


Andrew Manatos Former Assistant Secretary of Commerce President, Manatos & Manatos

* = European Commission, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank