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Wed May 23, 2012, 05:45 AM

Greek euro tragedy nears final act Nouriel Roubini

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/economics-blog/2012/may/18/greek-euro-tragedy-nears-final-act



Greek National Theatre performs Oedipus Rex. Photograph: Sipa Press/Rex Features


The Greek euro tragedy is reaching its final act: it is clear that either this year or next, Greece is highly likely to default on its debt and leave the eurozone.

Postponing the exit after the June election, with a new government committed to a variant of the same failed policies (recessionary austerity and structural reforms), will not restore growth and competitiveness.

Greece is stuck in a vicious cycle of insolvency, lost competitiveness, external deficits, and ever-deepening depression. The only way to stop it is to begin an orderly default and departure, co-ordinated and financed by the European Central Bank, the European Union, and the International Monetary Fund (the troika), that minimises collateral damage to Greece and the rest of the eurozone.

Greece's recent financing package, overseen by the troika, gave the country much less debt relief than it needed. But, even with significantly more public-debt relief, Greece could not return to growth without rapidly restoring competitiveness. And, without a return to growth, its debt burden will remain unsustainable. But all of the options that might restore competitiveness require real currency depreciation.

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