Title

Greek Debt and American Debt: Graduation Speech at the University of Athens Economics and Business School

Document Type

Discussion Paper

Publication Date

11-1-2011

CFDP Number

1837

CFDP Pages

13

Abstract

This is the graduation speech I gave on receiving an honorary doctorate at the University of Athens Economics and Business School. I talk about my Greek family, about how I got interested in economics, and then how in the 1990s I came to think about default, collateral, and leverage as the central features of the financial/macro economy, despite their complete absence (even now) from any textbooks. Finally I suggest that the Greek debt problem, and on a bigger scale, the American debt problem, can only be cured when lenders are prodded to forgive. That would be better for the borrowers but also for the lenders.

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