Scholarly Comments on Academic Economics

Classical Liberal Think Tanks in Greece, 1974–2024

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Abstract

Today in Greece, the term liberalism largely maintains its original political meaning, emphasizing individual liberty, free markets, and limited government intervention. Therefore, when referring to liberalism in the Greek context, it predominantly signifies political perspectives that align with classical liberal ideals, rather than modern social liberal traits. In the postwar era, liberalism in Greece was frequently marginalized as a fringe ideology. However, in recent times, it has emerged as one of the most significant and influential ideologies in the country. This paper examines the evolution of liberal think tanks in Greece since the restoration of democracy in 1974. In the half-century from 1974 to 2024, there have been nine professional liberal think tanks, with two still active as of 2024. The majority of these nine think tanks have had affiliations with political parties. We examine their contributions to the expansion of economic and political freedom, highlighting their engagement with wide-ranging audiences and their influence on the policy-making agenda. We divide these 50 years into three periods. The first period, from 1974 to 1993, is characterized by the main center-right party, New Democracy, adopting a more free-market stance. The second period, from 1993 to 2007, witnessed a decline in the influence of classical liberal ideas in Greece. The third period, from 2007 to 2024, marks the resurgence of classical liberal political movements, particularly during the Greek fiscal crisis, and their efforts to navigate and survive in a highly polarized political climate. As of early 2024, the position of classical liberalism in Greece is arguably more alive than at any point in the postwar era.