Yesterday, SPA was fortunate to host a talk by Dr. James K. Galbraith from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. Co-sponsored by World Denver and the CU Denver Department of Political Science, we had an audience of more than 100 for this lunch event.
Dr. Galbraith had advised the Greek government in 2015, during their time of most severe fiscal crisis and budget conversations with the European Union institutions. Galbraith’s story was fascinating, and more about the institutions, politics and negotiations than about all of the details of the economics and budgetary issues. While he admitted that the Greek economy has many problems and that tax collections, incentives and regulations are still concerns, Galbraith focused most of his attention on EU choices that tended to favor banks and lenders over the interests of the Greek citizens, who have seen pension cut in half and unemployment rates exceeding 25%, while being one of the only major countries to run a budget surplus.
His conclusion was not optimistic for the future of the Euro monetary system and the European Union more broadly, unless it can become more flexible than it was in dealing with Greece. He also argued that current EU institutions are far less well developed or equitable than are comparable institutions in the United States.
A recording of Dr. Galbraith’s talk can be viewed on the School of Public Affairs playlist on YouTube.