This 11-Year Old Has the Worst Solution to the Euro Crisis

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There are two things everybody loves: kids and pizza. The only thing better than either, of course, is when a kid makes a pizza policy metaphor. Which explains why this chart showing how to solve the Greek debt crisis by an 11-year old Dutch boy has been taken the internet by storm.
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Here's how 11-year old Jurre Herman describes his entry for the Wolfson Economics Plan (and yes, that is a pizza at the top):

Greece should leave the Euro. How do you do that? All Greek people should bring their Euro to the bank. They put it in an exchange machine (see left on my picture). You see, the Greek guy does not look happy!! The Greek man gets back Greek Drachme from the bank, their old currency. The Bank gives all these euro's to the Greek Government (see topleft on my picture). All these euros together form a pancake or a pizza (see on top in the picture). Now the Greek government can start to pay back all their debts, everyone who has a debt gets a slice of the pizza. You see that all these euro's in the pizza's go the companies and banks who have given loans in greece (see right in my picture).

Now here comes the clever part of my idea:

The Greek people do not want to exchange their Euro's for Drachmes because they know that this Drachme will lose its value dramatically. They try to keep or hide their Euro's. They know that if they wait a while they will get more Drachmes. So if a Greek man tries to keep his Euros (or bring his euros to a bank in an other country like Holland [or] Germany) and it is discovered, he gets a penalty just as high or double as the whole amount in euros he tried to hide!!! In this way I ensure that all Greeks bring their euros to a greek bank and so the greek government can pay back all the debts. I hope my idea helps you!!!! Of course if a country has paid back all his debts , he can return to the eurozone.

Try to get past the pizza. I know: it's spectacularly adorable to imagine Greeks piling their euros into a giant "pancake or pizza." But wait. The Greeks will have all of their euros confiscated to fill this (metaphorical?) debt-paying pizza? That's a cute idea. But it's not a good idea.

Greece's troubles are twofold. It has a competitiveness problem and a debt problem. Bringing back the drachma would solve the first, but, under this plan, would exacerbate the second. The real burden of Greece's euro debts would skyrocket overnight once its people are paid in drachmas. A far better plan would be to drachmaize all debts, or simply write them off completely. There are real costs to doing this -- i.e., being shut out of international markets -- so Greece should probably wait to fully default until they're running a primary surplus.


Again, I hate to pick on an 11-year old kid. This diorama is adorable, and Jurre is probably just repeating what he's been told. This plan makes sense to a child. The adults should know better.

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Matthew O'Brien

Matthew O'Brien is a former senior associate editor at The Atlantic.

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