‘It’s all Greek to Me’ – the Irish vs Greek Debt in ‘Normal’ People Numbers

If you’re like me, numbers like ‘billion’ and ‘trillion’ tend to be a little, well ungraspable. Take the counting sheep analogy for instance… Sure, I can imagine 100 sheep, I can imagine 1000. Hell, I can imagine 60,000 (a typic9bc7ebfaeaefdad0841863a4015a89508b78dd58al Slane concert of sheep) but a million or a billion?! No chance! Never mind guessing how long it would take me to count them before, finally, falling asleep.

So I wanted to break the numbers down into something that made sense to me.

Total amount per person that Greece wants to borrow, €469,026. Total amount already owed per person already – if I’ve done the maths right – €3,168,137. In context, Ireland’s debt per person in June stood at €53,863 per head.

The average Irish salary (although it’s highly polarised) is €26,800. The average Greek salary is just €9,360. If both people were to pay off the debts by cutting 20% off their salaries per year, Irish debt would take 10 years per person to pay off. Greece debt however would take 19 years. Unfortunately however, 21% of Greeks population are already over 65, and this is rapidly rising. So really, there are only around 9 million people to pay it off, if we’re talking in these basic terms. So actually, we’re looking at something more like 21 years. If people stopped getting old and none of the young workers emigrate, which they will. And if the pension point was 65 in Greece, which it isn’t. A lot of people retire in their 50s in Greece and currently the net emigration in Greece stands at -4% a year.

At which stage the huge asteroid Apophis may well have wiped us all out as it plans to on it’s current trajectory. So yeah, whatever…

Relativity is a fine thing.

Feel better?

Ah, sure it’ll be grand like.

But if life gets you down Mrs. Brown, just remember…

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi, super article – thanks. I think your coffee needs to be a bit stronger in the morning perhaps 🙂
    If Greece owes €300,000,000,000 and has a population of 11,000,000 , then I think the debt per person is €27,000


    1. Rayray says:

      Apparently itd 358 billion and the population is 11.3 according to my linked sources.



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