Economic Meltdown: A Greek Tragedy

Milos Bicanski

Greece. 2009 – 2014

Part 1 of 2

To the rest of the world, the image of Greece’s economic collapse is one of angry, masked protestors clashing with police outside parliament. But anger is only one of the myriad emotions Greeks are experiencing as they try to weather this crisis. Shame, despair, grief, and loss are there in equal shares too.

Greece is a country in a free fall, experiencing an unprecedented economic meltdown that has been accompanied by the disintegration of its infrastructure, the degeneration of its political system and the unraveling of its social fabric. Industrial production and manufacturing have collapsed, while hundreds of small businesses across the country close each day. The prospects for the future look no brighter as young, educated professionals leave the country in search for opportunity abroad, further decimating the country’s social fabric and prospects of recovery.

The country has become a laboratory for the key global public policy challenges of our time: debates about the future of the Western welfare state, the European project, and the power of international banks and financial institutions play out on the streets of this small Balkan nation. Yet, in the discussions over bond yields and deficits, the very real human suffering behind the numbers is forgotten.

Greeks have been told austerity measures will save the country from an even worse fate. But after years of pay cuts, tax increases, and drastic cuts in services, many are losing faith in the prospect of recovery.

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