Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Graphics on Greek Debt Crisis and Larger Implications

I don't know how many of you have students asking about the Greek debt crisis. I know I was pleased when one of my students asked me to explain why it was relevant. But I ran across a few graphics (HT to the folks at Chartporn once again) that can help your students understand the ties that bind.

This first one is from The Guardian in the U.K. It uses a domino metaphor to show how Greek default would ultimately affect Britain.

This second one is from The New York Times. It's labeled "interactive." Frankly, I don't see it. But it does include all of the countries with major debt problems (Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain). It does remind me of a graphic one of my undergraduate history professors distributed showing the web of alliances in Europe prior to World War I. You should note that Europe's Big Three (Britain, France and Germany) are the most exposed as it is.

The third, also from The New York Times, is interactive and illustrates the debt levels of various European countries a number of ways. 

These can be used to illustrate concepts like fiscal policy, role of government, globalization and interdependence quite well.


Kyle Fulin said...

I looked at all three of the graphics and was quite confused. In class, we are learning about the Fed, monetary policy, and fiscal policy. How does this relate to fiscal policy?

Tim Schilling said...


It does not relate to the fiscal policy of the U.S., which may be your main point of focus.

It does relate to fiscal policy because it shows the effects of a government policy where expenditures exceed taxes. In any national government, expenditures greater than tax revenues means there is a shortfall. The difference can be made up by printing money or by borrowing.