I do not wish to enter the field of politics and economics discussion, but ss a Portuguese (and proudly so), I resent the PIGS acronym. There are many people suffering in these countries, and going through very difficult times with the increasing unemployment and austerity measures.
All the best,
Paulo, I don't see how you can adopt two contradictory stances at the same time: it's impossible to distance economics from perception of worth. The same (almost) symbols of affluence in the individual apply in the case of states. When the bank balance is red, you're in deep poo poo, whether you like it or not.
In the case of Portugal - look at the prices they have been charging for property and, worse sin, time-share in the 'golf' resorts. Put that into a perspective that's slightly coloured by recent memory of revolution, property-grab and Communist rule, and it's a wonder that Portugal is still kicking on any level at all! I wouldn't invest a goddam cent in the place.
As for Greece, have you been there? Italy? My mother lived in Rome for a while and one of her friends, a dear lady just reached retirement age, told her that she couldn't access her state pension because she couldn't find anyone to 'speak for her'... Spain? A great country, but one beset with the endemic problems of culture and climate, especially in the south; Catalonia clicks to a different ethic. The deep south of Europe is much as I think the US deep south must be: mañana rules. But, I can tell you, the black economy here is as awake and alive as I guess it will also be in Greece. In many ways, I think the southern European problem comes down to tourism: so easy, in times of plenty, to do nothing other than fill millions of foreign bellies and bladders with poor food and beer at high profit margins. You can even go to university in Mallorca to study that...!
A few short years ago you paid through the nose for a thinly walled one-bedroomed drawer in a high-rise apartment block; today, that little cajón isn't sellable; you probably couldn't give it away.
What am I saying, am I happy to see all this? Of course not; my own financial state is held to ransom due to all this shit that's come home to roost. But yes, I do think these countries have been the architects of their own disasters. As for the € - I remember going to the vegetable market just when the change from the peseta took place: boy, did they know how to ratchet up prices! Even a friggin' café con leche was doubled
in price. Literally doubled. Then, we paid; today, they/we all
pay the price of greed and general sloth.
I'm only surprised that the day of reckoning took so long to arrive.