Sunday, August 14, 2011

Inside the Greek Volcano

by Nancy F. Koehn

New York Times

August 14, 2011

Government debt has been top of mind this summer. As Congress and the White House played a dangerous game of political brinkmanship over the federal debt ceiling, and, last week, as Washington tried to digest a lowering of the nation’s credit rating, we could better understand that America’s fiscal indebtedness had broad consequences for the global economy as well as our own.

It was against this backdrop that I read Greece’s ‘Odious’ Debt: The Looting of the Hellenic Republic by the Euro, the Political Elite and the Investment Community (Anthem Press, $29.95) by Jason Manolopoulos.

The author, who is also a founder of an emerging-market hedge fund, sets out to analyze the Greek fiscal crisis and its larger reverberations. “Not a single constituency emerges well from this story,” he writes. “Greek politicians, Greek society, trade unions, leaders of the European Union, the I.M.F., the world’s investment banks — each and every one has scarcely put a foot right in a collective display of hubris, miscalculation, overambition, deception, mis-selling, folly and, in some cases, sheer greed in a saga that has continued for decades.”


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