What really went wrong in Greece?


Editor’s Note: Evan Liaras is the Davis Post-Doctoral Fellow in European Studies at the Institute of European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies at George Washington University. Harris Mylonas is Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University and Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies.

By Evan Liaras and Harris Mylonas - Special to CNNgreek-flag

After reading about the Greek debt crisis for over a year now, you might think you understand what it’s all about. You’re probably wrong. International media focus on how the Greek government and people spend their money. But an equally important problem is the inability of the Greek state to collect revenues.

The story constantly aired by various news outlets is simple enough. Greece, we are told, free-rode on the security offered by the rest of Europe to attract money from foreign investors, and then spent it lavishly on its bloated public sector. In case you don’t get it, BBC’s website has a recurring instructional slide show titled “What went wrong in Greece?”

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