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Greece in the Metapolitefsi: Political Democratization and Economic Globalization

The Institute for Hellenic Culture and the Liberal Arts recently hosted Kostas Kostis, Professor of Economic and Social History at the University of Athens and Director of the National Bank of Greece Cultural Foundation (MIET) at our Hellenic Studies Seminar on March 19, 2024. This year marks the fifty-year anniversary of the Greek Metapolitefsi – the period of restoration of democracy in Greece that succeeded the fall of the 1967-1974 military dictatorship. The anniversary has prompted a reflection and re-examination of the political, economic, and social developments of the period. This is all the more necessary when we consider that the assessments of historians and political scientists—not to mention the opinions of the greater public—still vary greatly, indicating that contemporary Greek society has yet to come to a shared understanding of the Metapolitefsi’s accomplishments and shortcomings.

Professor Kostis’ talk, entitled “Metapolitefsi: Greece in the Era of Globalization,” focused on the development of political democratization and economic globalization as experienced by Greece in the post-1974 Metapolitefsi era. Yet, Professor Kostis also cautioned against the current “crisis of democratic capitalism” and illustrated how this phenomenon – fueled by inequality and insecurity in Western democracies – has given rise to authoritarianism and plutocracy.

The seminar, attended by faculty and students, sparked a lively discussion during the Q&A session. The conversation continued over refreshments, reflecting the importance of exploring Greece’s journey through the Metapolitefsi era amidst contemporary global challenges.