Vacillations around a pension reform trajectory: time for a change?
Discussion of pensions in Greece displays a paradox: reform is universally acknowledged to be important, urgent and mature, yet the political class avoid and postpone all discussion. This results in a syncopated reform path. A historical overview indicates that reforms are best understood as interrupted and unsuccessful attempts to complete the original blueprint for the pension system which was formulated in the 1930s. These define a reform trajectory around which there exist centrifugal forces pulling away (cross subsidies), and homeostatic mechanisms bringing back on track (public finance). Thus, the original 1930s design is implicitly accepted as a maximal aim of reform, while the question of its appropriateness is never raised. This analysis explains reform failures by problems in the content and preparation of reforms, rather than on the strength of opposition (which, in any case, was highly predictable). A fresh start, provided there is adequate preparation, is a possible way out of the impasse.
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