While the market has been fretting over the debt situation in Greece, Morningstar Fund Manager of the Year David Herro says that, while Greece’s woes provide a cautionary tale, they won’t take down the global economy.
“We do not believe Greece will stop, or even slow, the growth of global prosperity, which not only enhances the environment for profit growth, but also improves living standards around the world,” Herro writes in commentary on Oakmark’s web site. “We think a greater danger is posed by the larger economies of the world that are also wrestling with substantial sovereign debt issues. We hope the situation in Greece will serve as a reminder to those in need of change to do so rapidly to avoid truly imperiling global economic prosperity.”
Herro says that Greek’s citizens need to “lose their ‘I am entitled’ attitude”, and work longer, embrace privatization, and rely less on government.
While he doesn’t think Greece will drag down the rest of the world, Herro says there are important lessons to learn from its problems. “This situation will pass, we believe, as all macro storms do, but perhaps there’s a broader lesson here: The state can only help those who cannot help themselves when there is a vibrant economy that provides the means to do so,” he writes. “If the size of the welfare state, and the funds needed to support it, strangle a productive private sector, there won’t be resources available for those most in need. Greece isn’t alone on this score — other European countries are struggling with these same issues, as are we in the U.S. None of us is immune to the consequences of spending too much of tomorrow’s tax collections today.”