Features

The real reason Syriza won power – in one simple chart

It's easy to stereoptype Greeks as lazy freeloaders But this chart shows just how much they've had to put up with, and why they voted for Syriza.

150126-chart-b

Greeks get a terrible rap, stereotyped as lazy olive-eaters, sunning themselves tax-free as the euro crashes.

It would be easy to imagine voting in anti-austerity party Syriza yesterday was just another irresponsible move from a country of supposed freeloaders.

But, as Paul Krugman points out in the New York Times,Greece has had to impose far deeper cuts than those agreed upon in 2010.

As the troika' (European Union, European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund) slapped Greece with increasingly tough austerity measures, the country's primary spending kept dropping, sitting well below the level mooted in 2010.

So, why is Greece still in debt?

Well, the terms of austerity assumed a brief recession, rather than the extended period of depression Greece has experienced. GDP collapsed, so the debt problem got worse.

In other words, the troika got it very, very wrong, says Krugman, and is now paying the price.

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