' Η περιφερειακή οργάνωση της ελληνικής οικονομίας (1948-1974)

Part of : Πόλη και περιφέρεια : έκδοση μελετών του χώρου ; No.2, 1981, pages 7-38

Parallel Title:
Regions in the Greek Economy
This article examines the main arguments concerning the post-war evolution of greek regional structures and attempts their evaluation against the background of changes in the national economy. A central objective of the study is the comparison between the ideological content of theories and the realities of a growing economy which could not be made to conform to any doctrinaire interpretation. I. Post-war Transformations of Greek Economy a. Stabilisation of social formation (1948-1962) Immediately after the civil war the aims of development policy were restoration of the social order and economic recovery rather than regional equity and growth. The role of American Aid Mission was decisive in the orientation of efforts towards the revival of agriculture and the provision of basic infrastructural facilities like electricity and road networks. When industrial development policies appeared they were marked by a total commitment to the liberal doctrines of trade and development despite the keynsianism which pervaded the implementation of the Marshall plan. The results of the conditions prevailing during this first period could be summarised in the creation of a narrow industrial base and an increasing dépendance upon external flows for the financing of trade deficits. b. Industrialisation and capital accumulation (1962-1974) From 1962 onwards and until the economic crisis of the early '70s, the national economy was characterised by a gradual shift towards manufacturing. This process has been shaped by three major phenomena which mark the period: the association with EEC in 1962 immediately after the termination of American Aid, the massive invasion of foreign investment capital, and the massive internal and external migratory flows of rural population. Under the influence of the above phenomena the whole socio-economic profile of the country has been totally transformed by the end of this period; urban population exceeds the rural for the first time while the industrial and service sectors predominate over the national economy. II. The Processes of Regional Differentiation a. Regional Policy Regional policy was based upon the belief that the role of public involvement in the regional distribution of development should be restricted to financial compensation for the cost created by any existing barriers to factor mobility. Accordingly regional policy was restricted to a system of financial arrangements in order to attract employment at the provinces. This system of incentives has been criticised from all sides as incoherent and inadequate. Another line of regional policy was based on the elaboration of a regional plan along the lines of the french idea of «métropole d équilibre» aimed at the containment of the growth of Athens as the principal problem of regional disequilibrium. This plan has remained totally at the theoretical level and was never realised. b. Regional Structures The most pronounced fact of greek regional development is the concentration of population and economic activities in Athens. This concentration continued throughout the post-war period and is reflected in all possible indices of growth like national income, employment in manufacture, share in manufacturing products. However towards the end of the studied period, around the beginning of the '70s, the pace of Athenian growth was slowingdown while new areas along the Thessaloniki-Athens-Patra axis were growing faster. This tendency for a geographically contained decentralisation could be seen as the specific effect of a more general tranformation of the productive system characterised by the emergence of a system of modern plants and the marginalisation of small and medium units in the traditional industrial sectors. This process created its own structural problems of adaptation both in the growing «centre» and in the remaining «peripheral» regions. As a result the observed decentralisation coincides with an increasing polarisation between the growing and the stagnating regions. III. Uneven Regional Development: a Debate a. The variations of criticism There are four lines of criticism approaching the issue of uneven regional development: The first line is based on the assumption that in the event of a communist victory in the civil war greek regional development would have followed the socialist principles of autocentric industrial-territorial complexes with emphasis on heavy industry. The second line is that of liberal technocrats and social-democratic politicians emphasising the inefficiency of the administrative mechanism. According to this line regional policy was responsible for the waste of opportunities and the inadequate mobilisation of regional resources. The third line stems directly from the theory of dependency. This theory has been adapted to Greece by socialist intellectuals who had found that the growth of Athens and the narrow industrial base of the productive system provide a verification of the idea that greek development has been distorted according to the needs of world imperialism Finally, the fourth line of criticism was based on the theory of state-monopoly capitalism. The key for regional uneven development lies to the complementary relationships between the state and the national and transnational monopolies. State, so the argument runs, intervenes for the benefit of the monopolies at the expense of regional interests. b. Some problems of theory and practice The first two forms of criticism are irrelevant to any understanding of the structural aspects of greek regional problems; their value lies rather on their moral content. The third approach seems unable to account for the actual transformation of regional productive structures which does not seem fit to the static model of structural dependency. Finally, the fourth line of criticism, however relevant, remains too general and thus it fails to explain the regional variations of state regulatory practices; besides, some crude versions of this theory seem to be no more than a restatement, in more radical terms of the new «liberal interventionism» which promotes selective, sectoral and repional, policies of a corrective character The theoretical and practical answer to the above issues should be found at the level of repional productive structures and their role with in the context of national and international division of labour
Subject (LC):
References (1):
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