Features

Austerity Calling: Portraits of the New Greece


The Greek government’s approval of sweeping austerity measures in late June may have averted a default, but it hasn’t yet saved Greece. European governments have agreed to provide Athens with at least €12 billion ($17.3 billion) to help Greece meet its obligations for another month. What happens next is anyone’s guess. Under a French proposal, private creditors holding Greek bonds would roll over €30 billion of bonds maturing in 2014 into longer-term securities. Although the proposal has the backing of other euro zone governments, the Standard & Poor (MHP)’s rating agency says that if the plan goes ahead, it will declare Greece to be in “selective default.”

The most severe consequences of the crisis are being borne not by bondholders but by ordinary Greeks. The economy shrank 5.5 percent in the first quarter. Unemployment has hit 15.9 percent, compared with 11.7 percent just one year ago. Some 30 percent of Greeks under 30 are jobless. On the pages that follow, a cross section of Greeks, photographed on a single weekend in early July, details the impact of the crisis on their jobs, businesses, families, and livelihoods—and reflects on the uncertain future of a proud, battered nation. — Interviews by Tom Stoukas


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