Choking on austerity in Greece

Europe’s austerity policies (meant to bail out bad banks and screw debtors) have lead to mass poverty. Exhibit ‘A’ is Greece, which is literally choking on the fumes of its own destruction. At Atlantic Cities, Derek Thompson describes the disgusting air quality of Athens and its causes. Hundreds of thousands of Greeks are dirt poor and have no money to pay for heating. So they’re taking a collective step back in time, to an age when subsistence living was the norm. 

Greek unemployment is the highest in the developed world. The country’s GDP faces the worst peacetime contraction of any non-communist European country since the 19th century. Even workers with jobs often have to deal with delayed payments, furloughs, and lower take-home pay due to higher taxes. So, many families have made an understandable calculus: From now on, we’ll make out our own heat with wood, a match, and a fireplace.

Impoverished, unemployed Greeks are burning everything in sight, just to stay warm — and the ensuing smog is a constant reminder of the tragic, punitive response to the country’s financial woes.

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