Greece’s economic crisis is over only if you don’t live there

Matt O’Brien
April 26

Greece’s economic crisis is over only if you don’t live there.

Everyone else, in other words, might have moved on because Greece isn’t threatening to knock over the other dominoes that are known as the global economy anymore, but its people are still stuck in what is the worst collapse a rich country has ever gone through. Indeed, if the International Monetary Fund’s latest projections are correct, it might be at least another 10 years before Greece is back to where it was in 2007. And that’s only if there isn’t another recession between now and then.

Two lost decades, then, are something of a best-case scenario for Greece.

The numbers are staggering. It’s not just that Greece’s economy shrank 26 percent in per capita terms between the middle of 2007 and the start of 2014. That, as you can see below, might have put it on par with some of the biggest calamities in economic history — it was a little better than the United States had done in the 1930s, but a little worse than Argentina had done in the 2000s — but it didn’t distinguish it among them.

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