clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

This chart explains why Greece and Europe can't agree

If you want to understand why Greece and the rest of Europe are at such loggerheads, you could do worse than check out this chart I made by running a digital paintbrush over World Bank data on Greek GDP per capita.

World Bank data / Google finance

The magenta line is more or less how things look to Greek people. Since 2008 or so, under the watchful eye of European Union elites (the central bank, the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund, the government of Germany, etc.), the Greek economy has completely collapsed. And the Greek population has been thrown into a state of dire immiseration.

The yellow line reflects more how things look to European officialdom. Greece is about on track for where you would expect it to be if you extrapolated forward from the pre-euro era. The prosperity of seven years ago was a bubble, driven by imprudent lending and dodgy government finances. Meanwhile, though Greece is a lot poorer than it was it's not actually a poor country in the global sense. As a supplicant looking for charity, Greece is a lot less compelling than India or Guatemala or any number of sub-Saharan African countries.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Vox Recommends

Get curated picks of the best Vox journalism to read, watch, and listen to every week, from our editors.