Wikipedia reminds us of a lesson from primary school - that Greece is the birthplace of democracy. The CIA World Factbook tells that Greece's economy has a per capita GDP about 2/3 of the leading eurozone economies. Tourism represents 15 percent of the GDP and immigrants compose 20 percent of the workforce.
Consumer spending buoyed the economy following the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, but it plunged into a recession with the 2008 global contraction. The nation ran into a budget deficit, triggered by falling government revenues and increased government expenditures. Austerity measures reduced the deficit percentage, but fueled unemployment.
Is Greece's Austerity Budget a Big Mistake? explains that Greece has a 'primary' deficit of 5 percent (excluding debt payments). On June 29 parliament passed the austerity measures demanded by the creditor European nations.
In most western reporting, Greece is mocked as a nation that spends too much money and doesn't work hard enough. In Greece's Austerity Intifada, a Challenge to Western Economic Orthodoxy provides a counter-argument. I encourage you to read the article, but the executive summary is, regardless of how the nation got there, why should the citizens accept a decade or more of high unemployment, a lousy quality of life, and a dismal future? Greece's youth unemployment is already at 35 percent, and most economists expect it to go higher. Would you accept such circumstances upon yourself to satisfy European banks? Life is short.
Basically the imposed austerity measure "allows the international financial institutions and rating agencies the unilateral power to command democratically elected governments." This is scary isn't it? Particularly when the U.S. government had to bail out these world financial institutions in 2008 and are now separately goading it to reduce its deficit.
Mmm. A lifetime of observing human behavior has taught me that humans behave rationally when there is "economic security and prosperity for those who study and work hard, and play by the rules". When that contract is violated, people behave very nonlinearly.
That contract is now being broken throughout the western world among people who have memory of a better life. Western leaders should be concerned.