The perception that there is a group of countries (known by the offensive acronym ‘PIGS’) that are basket-cases of high government debt levels and ballooning public sector deficits, and that this is what has led to their recent financial crises, owes more to mythology than economic reality. Deficits are not the main cause for the problems in the crisis-hit countries, and nor are the situations the same in each country. Focusing in particular on Ireland and Greece, Burke shows that taxpayers are being forced to bail out the banks and speculators that were responsible for the crisis.
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