This site is for archive purposes. Please visit for latest updates
Go to Top

Greek Debt: Do the Right Thing

Dimitri Β. Papadimitriou (2015) “Greek Debt: Do the Right Thing“, The World Post US, 18 March.


“Greece’s government and people have indulged in excesses and corruption; now it is time to pay the price.” The argument for full repayment of Greece’s debt is well known, easily understood, and widely accepted, particularly in Germany. Sacrifice, austerity and repayment are righteous, fair, and just.

That view is coloring this and next week’s coming meetings between Greece and its international lenders, and with European leaders. A revision of Greece’s debt terms has not been on the agenda.

European leadership insists that repayment is possible, and that Greece’s economy will take off, if only Greeks are willing to bite the bullet and economize. The quasi-religious ground under the wishful thinking on economic growth is that with deep financial pain comes high moral ground.

Exactly the opposite case makes far more sense: It’s immoral to ask for widespread, long-term destitution in Greece in return for unaffordable debt payments.

Restructuring the debt would be the more virtuous route even if there were a plausible scenario under which Greece could repay the enormous amount due — there isn’t — and even though corruption, tax evasion, dysfunctional government and, at certain periods, excessive spending, have undeniably been problems.


Relevant posts: