On Measuring the Impact of Internal Devaluation in Greece: Poverty, Flexibility, Migration and Growthless Employment

This article takes a critical view on austerity policy and examines its social and economic consequences for the case of Greece. By introducing the concept of “growthless employment” it demonstrates that the implementation of internal devaluation policies had a substantial impact on the Greek society that needs to be addressed. Within a decade, household disposable income was reduced to an unprecedented level while the labour market was extensively deregulated as several indicators can display. The seemingly paradoxical case of employment without growth—hence, growthless employment—can be interpreted as the consequence of the intensity of the mix of austerity policies that was imposed as “one-size-fits-all” without taking the peculiar structure of the Greek economy into account. A descriptive examination of this idiosyncratic state of affairs is offered, providing new insights on how the level of depreciation can be better assessed. It is argued that the overall severity of the crisis is better captured by the level of disposable income whereas a modified measurement of poverty and income depreciation is introduced for the same purpose. Lastly it is maintained that Greece has suffered by an enormous outflow of its productive-aged population in the aftermath of the crisis. All the above concretise the idea of growthless employment in Greece.