Via Der Spiegel we learn tonight that austerity measures Greece put into place to halt the country’s slide into a kind of economic Armageddon have not exactly had their intended effect:
The feast of the Assumption of Mary on Aug. 15 is the high point of summer in the Greek Orthodox world. Here in one of the country’s many churches, believers pray to the Virgin for mercy, with many of them falling to their knees.
The newspaper Ta Nea has recommended that the Greek government adopt the very same approach — the country’s leaders have to hope that Mary comes up with a miracle to save Greece from a serious crisis, the paper writes. Without divine intervention, the newspaper suggested, it will be a difficult autumn for the Mediterranean state.
Recent economic data from Greece is indeed awe-inspiring, but not in a good way. Though Greece has managed to reduce its budget deficit by nearly 40%, in some areas unemployment is as high as 70% (it may reach 20% nationwide by 2011). Sales figures have plummeted across the nation and 17% of the shops in Athens alone have gone bankrupt. Some talking heads are also predicting a new spate of layoffs next month.
Greeks fear future unrest. “If you take away my family’s bread, I’ll take you down,” shipbuilder Nikos Meletis told Der Spiegel, “The government needs to know that.”
The riots against Greek austerity measures earlier this summer may have just been a prelude of what is to come.