Citizens of the eurozone countries didn't know when they formed the monetary union that they were not only losing their sovereign and democratic rights to control their most important macroeconomic policies. They had also ceded this power to people with an anti-social-Europe agenda. Now Greece is trying to get some of that democracy back.
For the moment what matters for the vast majority of Greek people is that for the first time they feel they have a government which, despite its compromises, has proved that it made its best effort to bring Europe back to the table for a fair and equal negotiation about the terms of the Greek bailout program.
The president's forceful messages recognize that the crisis at hand is about much more than one nation's membership in the EU, but rather about protecting a global economy still fragile from the effects of the financial crisis and ensuring the strength of the Western alliance in these times of increasing peril.
Every day brings more headlines in the European debt drama: "Greece elects anti-austerity government." "Greek Finance Minister says he won't negotiate with the 'Troika.'" "Anti-austerity movements gain ground across Europe." What's behind these stories? What does the future hold? Are there any implications for the U.S.? Here's an overview of the situation as it currently stands.
Does anyone in their right mind think that any country would willingly put itself through what Greece has gone through, just to get a free ride from its creditors? If there is a moral hazard, it is on the part of the lenders -- especially in the private sector -- who have been bailed out repeatedly.
In the following interview, Mario Seccareccia, a professor of economics at the University of Ottawa, talks about why what happened to Greece was entirely predictable, why the Greeks were right to reject austerity in the recent election, and what challenges the country faces in forging a sustainable path forward with the left-wing Syriza party at the helm.