|as a matter of fact, Greeks are forced to leave Greece to find a job abroad, so WE ARE THE REFUGEES OF EUROPE|
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With banks closed across the country and under 24 hours left to re-pay 1.6 billion Euros in debt, Greece is in financial crisis.
And while its European neighbours have offered a way to pay, it would mean more painful austerity measures for Greece — including tax hikes and pension cuts that have already led to so much pain across Greek society for the past five years.
The alternative is what's dubbed "Grexit" — leaving the Eurozone — with unclear, but no doubt severe consequences.
Yannis Zabetakis is a professor of food chemistry at the University of Athens. He's one of the lucky ones with a job in a country whose youth unemployment rate is over 50%. But that doesn't mean life is easy. We reached him in Athens.
Considering the high stakes, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has surprised some people by his refusal to give in to the cash-for-reforms deal being proposed by the Eurozone and the IMF. But American economist James Galbraith, who has been informally advising Greece's Finance Minister, doesn't think the government should give in. He spoke to our colleagues at As It Happens earlier this month.
The [IMF] predicted that if the program was acccepted, there would be a 5% reduction in Greek GDP and income and that it would be quickly recovered. In fact, there has been a 25% reduction and no recovery. And so the Greek position has been that these policies have to change and that failure has to be recognized and adjusted to. And the reality is that the creditors are still demanding the same policies.Eric Reguly agrees. He's the European Bureau Chief for the Globe and Mail, and he says that imposing further austerity measures in exchange for more loans is tantamount to a Ponzi scheme. He spoke to us in Athens.
- James Galbraith, American economist
This segment was produced by The Current's Pacinthe Mattar and Gord Westmacott.
Interview with James Galbraith - As It Happens
Greece shutters banks, 'financial earthquake' bloodies markets - Eric Reguly, The Globe and Mail
Greek debt crisis: Is Grexit inevitable? - BBC