Greece fought austerity and austerity won. When Alexis Tsipras, the brash young leader of a left-wing party, became prime minister in January 2015, he vowed to stop taking the economic medicine that shrank the country’s economy by a quarter, saw more than a million jobs disappear and drove thousands of Greeks below the poverty line. His European counterparts, who had lent Greece more than 200 billion euros ($215 billion) to prevent its default, had a simple response: no. Six months later, Greece’s banks were shuttered, its stock market was closed, the economy was falling back into recession and the country stood on the brink of expulsion from the euro zone. Tsipras blinked, accepting a new, 86 billion-euro bailout on terms harsher than those he had rebelled against.
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