The story of the Greek crisis is often painted as either one of the reckless borrower gambling with other people’s money, or the victim of an inflexible European project that squeezes its weaker members for the benefit of the stronger.
There may be some truth to both of these narratives, but to get a fuller understanding of the causes of Greece’s current problems you have to look further back at the country’s own history. What you find is a sorry tale of nihilistic political populism, a wilful suspension of disbelief by international partners and a series of unfortunate accidents that helped turn a promising post-war recovery into a nightmare for its citizens.
And it all started with the price of oil.
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