A new Greece is born

Lector caveat: this is a fantasy tale. After one hundred and eighty years of pointlessly trying to emulate a western-type state, Greeks decide to face up to their true cultural facts. They are not children of the European Enlightenment, or the Renaissance. Nevertheless, they are democratic and communal. So in a historical referendum they vote to abolish the central State. Henceforth, Greece will be made up of cantons where citizens will practice a mix of representational and direct democracy. A national government with only three ministries will continue to exist: a ministry for national defense, for managing natural disasters and security and a foreign ministry. All other ministries and public organizations are abolished, or absorbed in the local canton governments.

Cantons are at liberty to pursue their own political choices. They are independent. They do not get finance from any central government. They have their own budgets and tax systems. Some cantons, where the influence of the Left is strong, decide to follow socialist models of governance. There is at least one canton where the Communist Party has formed a government. Other cantons liberalize and go for free markets.

As cantons are free to choose their way of economic and social development Greeks begin to experiment, for the first time since the Hellenistic era. Innovation flourishes and attracts bright minds from around the world, who come to work or set up their businesses in Greece.


  1. Kostas Tzimeas

    Revival of the City-state,a brilliant scenario, consistent with the greek mentality. However, very soon it would lead to peloponnesian or trojan wars…

  2. George Zarkadakis

    Not necessarily Kostas. If anything there have been many “Peloponnesian” and “Trojan” wars fought since 1823, albeit between special interest groups rather than bronze-clad heroes – and we all know where that has led… Why not think about it in a different way: would Greece (a “Greek state”) ever go to war with Cyprus (another “Greek state”)?

  3. Kostas Tzimeas

    I was a bit brief in my comment, so I will try to explain more my opinion:I think that the “canton” concept as you describe it, would be a brilliant basis for a novel (in my imagination it would be in a “Saramago” way). This novel could explore the possibilities of this political formation, it would give an opportunity to examine the “psyche” of the modern greek society. I think I waw writing my own end the end of that novel when I mentioned the conflicts among greeks with history repeating itself (forgive my pessimism).
    In real life, I also believe that a decentralized scheme would be a very attractive model for Greece, provided that some strong connecting bonds remain (otherwise our everyday “trojan wars” could end up really bloody-yes i can imagine greeks hurting each other: the civil war, the period of instability after it were examples.)

  4. George Zarkadakis

    I am happy you see the relative merits of the cantonization of Greece, and thank you for the novel tip! (I will indeed consider it!). Yes, I agree with you that if Greeks ever decided to go the Swiss way we ought to keep some strong connecting bond between us; I suggested so myself in my brief fairy tale: central government exists but only has three ministries (defence, security and natural disasters, and foreign affairs)…we can also retain oru flag and national anthem of course. Civil wars in our modern history occured – in my oppinion – because conficting ideologies competed for the same prize, i.e. the central government. Take the prize away and you solve the problem of fatricide, as well as the more (again in my oppinion) pertinent problem of corruption and crony capitalism…

  5. Kostas Tzimeas

    To complicate things a bit more: I think this model would be even more interesting for EU. Cantons to replace national states and thus undermine the national differences that impeach the real union. I am looking forward for your novel on greek cantons!
    Good luck with your projects

  6. Aritsa Markantonatou

    Τι ωραίο όνειρο,Γιώργο!
    Είμαι σίγουρη πως ο Καστοριάδης θα το επικροτούσε!

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