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Eurozone Crisis

Greece is on the brink of meltdown due to spiraling debt, and the deficit crisis is continentally contagious. Last year, the International Monetary Fund bailed out Greece to the tune of 110 billion euros, contingent on the implementation of strict austerity measures. On the heels of this dramatic action came bailout packages for Ireland and Portugal. And the Greek tragedy is far from over as the debate over whether to accept debt-forgiveness conditions upended the government in Athens. Furthermore, other debt-laden European nations risk going under.

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The Greek electorate has put the country on a collision course with its German paymaster that is almost certain to result in Greece being forced out of the euro before year-end.

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After six years of economic recession, which has seen Greece’s real GDP reduced by a quarter and its unemployment rate rise to over 25 percent, the Greek public appears to be at the end of its tether with economic policies imposed by the troika of the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, and the European Central Bank, which negotiate in concert the external assistance that they offer to Greece.

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Greece’s dismal economic performance since 2010 can be traced to the Troika’s insistence that Greece engage in massive budget belt-tightening within a euro straitjacket. Greece’s longer term interests might be better served by going through the short-term trauma of a euro exit that will at least offer the prospect of a return to longer-term economic growth and prosperity.

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Future of per capita purchasing power in Greece

The Initiative on Global Markets polled about 40 experts on, as shown above, the future of per capita purchasing power in Greece if it “explicitly defaults on its debt held by the official sector.”

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The International Monetary Fund’s lending program to Greece has been markedly unsuccessful. Lessons from this debacle suggest a need to reform the IMF’s policies on “exceptional access lending”.

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There are good economic and political reasons to think that European policymakers and markets are overly sanguine about the consequences of a Greek exit.

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To talk about the debt of “Greece” when what is meant is the debt of the “Greek government” seriously muddles thinking about the nature of sovereign debt and its frequent, historically speaking, deadbeat outcomes.

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Greece and its European partners appear to have insurmountable differences that will preclude reaching agreement on substantive issues — and will force Greece out of the euro.

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The word “Grexodus” might better convey the notion than “Grexit” that Greece will be forced out of the Euro well before year-end.

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Both Greece and its creditors have taken hardline positions on Greek debt relief, reflective of the real political constraints both parties face as they inch closer to debt negotiations.

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