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Greeks On A Teetering Greece

We bring in the Greeks to talk about what’s ahead as their country teeters.

A Greek national flag flies behind columns of the Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens on Thursday, Nov. 3 2011. (AP)

A Greek national flag flies behind columns of the Temple of Olympian Zeus in Athens on Thursday, Nov. 3 2011. (AP)

It’s all about the Greeks in Europe this week, and really around the world. The Greeks’ debt. The Greeks’ crisis. The Greeks’ stunner of a sudden conversation about voting on whether or not to accept their own bail-out from Europe and the pain that would come with it.

The “hemlock ballot,” wags called it – and it’s off, apparently, already. Greece got in way over its head on debt and spending. Now it’s in a world of hurt and struggling over how to respond. In the Euro-zone, or out. In the streets, or off.

This hour On Point: we talk with Greeks about their close encounter with Greek tragedy, and ours.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Yanis Varoufakis, Professor of Economics, University of Athens, and author of The Global Minotaur: The true causes and nature of the current economic crisis.

Naya Kotsira, she is a civil servant who handles hiring and firing at Greece’s ministries.

John Psaropoulos, Greece correspondent for National Public Radio.

Vivien Ann Schmidt, Professor of European Integration at Boston University, where she is also Director of the Center for International Relations and Director of the Center for the Study of Europe

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times “Prime Minister George Papandreou appeared to be backing away from his plan to hold a referendum on Greece’s new loan deal with the European Union.
Before going into an emergency cabinet meeting, Mr. Papandreou suggested that he was prepared to walk away from the referendum proposal, saying that it “would not have been necessary if there had been consensus with the opposition.” He praised the opposition’s desire to support the new debt deal.”

The Wall Street Journal “CANNES, France—Europe’s leaders, making it plain that they’ve reached the end of their patience with Greece, demanded that the beleaguered nation declare whether it wants to stay in the euro currency union—or risk going it alone in a dramatic secession.”

Foreign Policy “ATHENS – Greece is no stranger to referendums. In fact, the world’s first plebiscite was held here in 483 B.C., when Athenian leader Themistocles won a vote to use silver discovered at the port of Laurium to build a fleet of 200 triremes. It set ancient Greece on its way to becoming a maritime superpower. Today, however, the words “Greece” and “superpower” don’t even belong in the same sentence. Themistocles’s descendants now face the prospect of another referendum — one that could decide whether Greece’s economy will sail on within the eurozone or sink into bankruptcy.”

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