The excessive austerity that was imposed on Greece as a condition for the bailout made the debt problem worse, not better, by shrinking Greek GDP by a quarter, even as Greece cut down essential services to finance the build up of a primary surplus. The bailout package was not just financially unsustainable, but also economically wrong-headed, politically tone-deaf and socially callous. It has turned what was an aspiring first world country with third world institutions into a third world country with third world institutions. It has led to enormous personal suffering, triggered the rise of neo-Nazi movements, lain waste to productive capacity and created a cohort of the unemployed and the unemployable - a lost generation.
It has stretched Greece’s social fabric to a breaking point and perverted the democratic rights of citizens by vetoing their political choices. What is remarkable is not that Greeks have voted for Syriza, a new anti-establishment party that vows to get a better deal for Greek people, take on the powerful Greek oligarchy and stand up to Germany and the Eurozone. What is remarkable is that it took so long for them to do so.