Structures, Political Cultures and Social Practices
Shadow Economy, Corruption and Informal Political Exchanges: The Greek Case in a Comparative Perspective
In this chapter, the underground economy and corruption will be discussed in the context of informal political exchanges. After a short historical and literary overview, the main theoretical dimensions of these variables, and their links, will be examined. Then, indicators will be analysed (human development, level of underground economy, level of corruption, social capital, trust in institutions, negative and positive informalities, inequality, social conflict …) in order to relate the Greek case to other European countries (especially in southern Europe and the Balkans). The comparison will cover 14 countries, including Greece. The last section of this chapter will try to explain the reasons for the Greek situation, with reference to the economic and social history of the country. The conclusion highlights the multiple correlations (which can be obscur) between informality, economy and politics.
I will begin with two stories that permit a direct connection to be made between the dark side of society and the informal practices of democracy. The first recalls of one of Andersen’s tales: “The Shadow” (first published in 1847; Andersen, 1992: 344–355). It consists of an excellent parable – my interpretation is in parentheses: firstly, the Shadow (the dark side of economy, the political corruption) progressively seizes power in place of the Master (economy, democracy) … Then, the Shadow gets married with a wonderful princess (society) and the Master is condemned to death … Thus, there seems to be a fundamental problem when the shadow economy and the informal politics dominate societies....
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