How the Greeks Are Living Now

We don't talk a lot about politics on Neatorama, but surely you've heard that Greece is in a big economic trouble that threatens the very foundation of the European Union.

What's going on there? Russell Shorto visited Athens, Greece and wrote this intriguing story over at The New York Times about how regular Greeks are living today:

By many indicators, Greece is devolving into something unprecedented in modern Western experience. A quarter of all Greek companies have gone out of business since 2009, and half of all small businesses in the country say they are unable to meet payroll. The suicide rate increased by 40 percent in the first half of 2011. A barter economy has sprung up, as people try to work around a broken financial system. Nearly half the population under 25 is unemployed. Last September, organizers of a government-sponsored seminar on emigrating to Australia, an event that drew 42 people a year earlier, were overwhelmed when 12,000 people signed up. Greek bankers told me that people had taken about one-third of their money out of their accounts; many, it seems, were keeping what savings they had under their beds or buried in their backyards. One banker, part of whose job these days is persuading people to keep their money in the bank, said to me, “Who would trust a Greek bank?”

Link (Photo: Lars Tunbjork/NY Times)

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For a pretty educated perspective on this type of thing, check out Michael Lewis' "Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World"

Here's a podcast with him from WNYC:
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