Some of you have surely heard about the mess in Greece. The country is on the brink of bankruptcy, and as of this morning is now officially in default. It’s a mess over there, and it’s all Greek to most of us.
The New York Times and National Public Radio have provided excellent explanations for how Greece got into the situation that it’s in. I won’t regurgitate it all here.
It’s just a sad situation all around. On the one hand I have sympathy for the citizens of Greece, who have been suffering through economic hardships for a long time. On the other hand, the government of Greece simply has not done the job, being willing to run endless deficits. Their creditors in the Eurozone, for reasons I can understand, don’t want to keep bending the rules for Greece and bailing them out. If they do so, they will also have to bend the rules for countries like Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Spain, who are not all that much better off than Greece. These are the so-called PIIGS countries.
Greece is planning a referendum for this Sunday to decide whether or not to accept the austerity measures that the Eurozone creditors want to impose. Joseph Stiglitz says that he knows how he would vote if her were eligible to.
I have a friend from Germany who is planning to visit Greece in September. She said that she hopes they don’t have a military Junta by the time she gets there.
I don’t blame her for her concern. Greece had a civil war from 1946 to 1949, right after the close of the 2nd World War, and it was brutal. Fascists against communists. And then they had a military Junta from 1967 to 1974. The Director Costa Gavras’ film “Z” was essentially about life under the Junta. Great film, by the way. Highly recommended.
Puerto Rico is also bankrupt, and not far behind Greece. Except that they’re not in danger of having a Junta.
Happy stock market crash, everyone!