Fiscal Sadism in Greece

Michael Stephens | September 17, 2013

In case you missed it, what with all the celebrating going on in the eurozone over the incredible success of austerity policies, the unemployment rate in Greece is now at 27.9 percent and the country is likely on its way to a third bailout.

C. J. Polychroniou argues in a new one-pager that offering Greece another bailout package like the first two makes no sense, and he provides some much-needed (and daunting) perspective on how far Greece would need to climb — assuming its economy started growing, and wasn’t still contracting (Greek output shrank by “only” 3.8 percent in the second quarter of 2013) — just to get its economy back to where it was before its version of the Great Depression set in:

“At this stage, in order for Greece to be able to service its debt and recapture its lost GDP and employment levels, one would have to rely on an outrageously optimistic scenario of economic growth: probably somewhere in the range of a long-term nominal GDP growth rate of 7–8 percent.

While Greece may soon end up with wages comparable to those of China, the odds of its experiencing growth rates close to those of China are probably the same as achieving time travel.”

C. J. Polychroniou, Fiscal Sadism and the Farce of Deficit Reduction in Greece


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