Should Greece stay in the eurozone?

Here, Greek Prime minister Lucas Papademos addresses lawmakers during the crucial vote in Athens.

Jeremy Hobson: Let's get reaction on Greece from Diane Swonk, chief economist with Mesirow Financial. She's with us live as always from Chicago. Good morning.

Diane Swonk: Good morning.

Hobson: Well Diane, it sounds like the Greek government is committed to staying in the euro however painful that may be for them. What do you think of what you just heard and the potential for impact over here?

Swonk: Well I think the important issue is that Greek government has realized that staying in the eurozone is the lesser of two evils for Greece. And very appropriately pointing out, listen, we have to get with the game and play fairly with the rest of the eurozone that if we were to opt out, we’d not only be an island, we’d be an island without any resources.

We would be cut off entirely and the other option is just not an option for the Greek people. And it’s hard to sell the lesser of two evils to your population when they’re already feeling pain but it is the reality and I think it’s encouraging to finally hear from Europe and these periphery countries that they are thinking about growth down the road as well.

Let’s face it: Greece got into its problems for many reasons but not the least of which is they’re not competitive. They were cheating the system because they weren’t playing the game fairly. And they weren’t working as many hours as they were needing to, they weren’t working as long as they needed to and now they’re starting to begin to address those reforms. We’ll see, you know, whether Greece can keep its word but that’s something going along the periphery of other countries as well and that’s where the ray of hope is for Europe down the road.

Hobson: Diane Swonk, chief economist with Mesirow Financials. Thanks as always.

Swonk: Thank you.

About the author

Diane Swonk is chief economist with Mesirow Financial, based in Chicago.

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