Volume 3, Number 3 (2010)

The Greek economic crisis and its geography: from R. Kaplan’s geographical determinism to uneven geographical development

Costis Hadjimichalis

Harokopio University, Athens

On April 25, 2010, The New York Times published an article by Robert D. Kaplan entitled “For Greece’s economy, geography was destiny”. Following principles set out in his earlier writings, such as “The Revenge of Geography” (2009), Kaplan argues that Greece’s budget deficit, its poor economic performance, lack of transparency and abundant corruption, all result from its geography. Greece, he says, “…is where the historically underdeveloped worlds of the Mediterranean and the Balkans overlap and this has huge implications for its politics and economy”. R. Kaplan, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, and a national correspondent for the Atlantic, is well know to HG readers (see among others the responses to “The Revenge of Geography” by J. Morrissey, S. Dalby, G. Kearns and G. Toal, published in vol.2, no.2, 2008, pp. 33-51), and thus his NYT article could be overlooked, as it does not say anything new. We could ignore Kaplan’s views as overly-simplistic, were they not part of a wider school of neo-conservative geopolitics and part of the dominant views of the European elites.