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Are we more Greek than Latvian?


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are-we-more-greek-than-latvian.phpPower Line:


Paul Mirengoff



In a piece called “Austerity and National Character,” Anne Applebaum compares the pursuit of austerity in Latvia and Greece. In Latvia, she reports, the Latvian government responded to the crash of 2008 by slashing public spending, firing a third of its civil service, and reducing the salaries of those who remained. GDP fell by 24 percent in two years, but is now growing at more than 5 percent. Meanwhile, the budget deficit has been reduced dramatically.


According to Applebaum, there were no protests or strikes during the two year downturn. In fact, the Latvians reelected the prime minister who imposed austerity.




But Applebaum insists that history, culture, and national psychology were also at work in both nations. Latvians are used to hardship and fiercely independent. Greeks, she says, are politically divided and used to being bailed out. Then too, one country is Northern; the other Southern, which may make a psychological difference.



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