Tag Archives: Greek Financial Crisis

The Origins of the Greek Financial Crisis

13 Dec

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Antonis Kamaras
ANTONIS KAMARAS is adviser to the mayor of Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city.
December 13, 2011


Letter from Thessaloniki

Before the modern Greek state assumed its present day contours in the aftermath of the first world war, communities in the trading cities of Alexandria, Odessa, Salonika, Smyrna, and Trieste, already had a long history of running their own school systems, hospitals, and orphanages. This was partly a legacy of Ottoman rule. With the exception of political stability, the Ottomans were not in the habit of providing public goods so, when it came to public health and economic development, citizens had to fend for themselves. That system worked. Through local and communal organization, by the mid to late nineteenth century, the Greeks were one of the most prosperous and dynamic groups in Southeast Europe.