A Beginner’s Guide to the European Debt Crisis
By Gonzalo Lira
For ordinary, non-specialist people just tuning in to the horror-show which is the European crisis, the whole mess can seem daunting and almost hermetic—like a secret language, or a really complicated code.
Euro-this and euro-that and euro-the-other—that’s all everyone seems to be talking about. That, and words like troika, haircuts, bailouts, yields, not to mention an alphabet-soup’s worth of acronyms like EC, ECB (they’re different), EFSF, PIIGS, IMF, EMU—
For us dweebs neck deep in this stuff, it’s all mother’s milk. At my Strategic Planning Group, we’ve been game-playing what do when the eurozone breaks up since May—but for people who’ve just realized, “Hey! Something’s going on over there in Europe!”, it can be a bit much, like tuning in to a soap opera five minutes before the end of the episode: Everything seems terribly portentous and important and shocking . . . but basically incomprehensible.
Which wouldn’t matter if this was a soap-opera—but this is real life. This European crisis will affect your financial future, no matter if it’s happening on another continent. This is major—
—which is why so many ordinary people are confused and frightened: Because it seems terribly complicated.