Athens, Greece—May Day 2010. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Union (EU) were putting together the final details of a $100 billion euro rescue package for the country. The Greek Prime Minister, George Papandreou, had agreed to a savage package of “austerity measures” involving cuts in public spending and lower salaries and pensions. Outside, riot police were deployed as protestors gathered to fight the austerity program. A country with a history of revolution and dictatorship hovered on the brink of collapse—with the world’s financial markets watching to see if the deal cobbled together would be enough to both calm the markets and rescue the Greek economy, and with it the euro, from oblivion.
In Bust: Greece, the Euro, and the Sovereign Debt Crisis, leading market commentator Matthew Lynn blends financial history, politics, and current affairs to tell the story of how one nation rode the wave of economic prosperity and brought a continent, a currency, and, potentially, the global financial system to its knees.
Bust is a story of government deceit, unfettered spending, and cheap borrowing: a tale of financial folly to rank alongside the greatest in history. It charts Greece’s rise, and spectacular fall from grace, but it also explores the global repercussions of a financial disaster that has only just begun. It explains how the Greek debt crisis spread like wildfire through the rest of Europe, hitting Ireland, Portugal, Italy, and Spain, and ultimately provoking a crisis that brought the euro to the edge of collapse. And it argues that the Greek crisis is just the start of a decade of financial turmoil that will eventually force the break up of the euro, and a massive retrenchment in the living standards of all the developed economies.
Written in a lively and entertaining style, Bust: Greece, the Euro, and the Sovereign Debt Crisis is an engaging and informative account of a country gone wrong and a must-read for anyone interested in world events and global economics.