Greece's 'Odious' Debt

Greece's 'Odious' Debt

The Looting of the Hellenic Republic by the Euro, the Political Elite and the Investment Community

By Jason Manolopoulos

Anthem Finance

Anthem European Studies

This book analyses the causes of the current Eurozone and Greek crisis. Jason Manolopoulos combines his experience of the global financial system, European politics and Greek society, to explore the economic policies, historical legacy, psychological biases that have shaped an ongoing drama.



May 2011

£13.59, $23.96

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About This Book

For more information please visit the book website:

Jason Manolopoulos combines his experience of the global financial system, European politics and Greek society to demonstrate how one of the EU’s smaller countries played a catalytic role in a crisis that threatens the future of the euro, and possibly even of the European Union itself.

He explores the historical legacy and psychological biases that have shaped an ongoing drama. While leaders of the European Union criticise ‘the markets’ for destabilizing the single currency, Manolopoulos interrogates the shared beliefs of the EU and the investment banking community – and how they colluded for a decade in the illusion that lending huge sums to peripheral eurozone countries was safe.

Policy and investment errors bear marked similarities with earlier financial crises – in particular the Exchange Rate Mechanism system and the Argentine debt crisis. This inability to learn history’s recent lessons begs fundamental questions of policy making, which this book discusses.

Greek society also comes under scrutiny, as shocking details of a kleptocratic political class and a wasteful public sector are revealed. Manolopoulos traces these developments back to dictatorship and civil war, but argues that there is no excuse for their continuation in a modern democracy.


‘The author, who is also a founder of an emerging-market hedge fund, sets out to analyze the Greek fiscal crisis and its larger reverberations. […] This is a brave, complicated and timely book.’ —Nancy F. Koehn, ‘The New York Times’

‘[An] excellent study both of the eurozone and of the Greek case by Jason Manolopoulos, Greece’s ‘Odious’ Debt (Anthem Press). He shows conclusively that the eurozone is far from an optimum currency area.’ —Samuel Brittan, ‘Financial Times’

‘There have been plenty of books about the Wall Street crisis of 2008 but fewer, to date, about the sovereign crisis that followed it. So it is good to be able to recommend Jason Manolopoulos’s work, ‘Greece’s “Odious” Debt: The Looting of the Hellenic Republic by the Euro, the Political Elite and the Investment Community’. […] Mr Manolopoulos is actually a hedge fund manager who takes a very clear-headed view of the crisis. […] The combination of a currency link and weak economic policies doomed Greece to its eventual crisis. But the author entertaining[ly] recounts the long series of denials by EU officials, Greek politicians and investment banks.’ —Philip Coggan, ‘The Economist’

‘…[One] of the first to immerse into the Greek debt crisis in an intelligible manner. [...] [Manolopoulos’s] book is to be recommended to anyone who is endeavouring to picture the Greek misery to its whole extent.’ —Norbert Härin, ‘Handelsblatt’

‘Most of us are familiar with bits of the story and aware of the social and economic strains in Greece itself. But until now there has been no straightforward analysis of the sequence of events that led to the collapse, still less a sketch of how the story might end. Manolopoulos is a Greek hedge fund manager, and so doubly qualified to provide this. […] The author is tough on Greece but he is also tough on Europe. The euro was mis-sold and the temporary bail-out has made matters worse.’ —Hamish McRae, ‘The Independent’

‘Blunt, rigorous and shrewd, Manolopoulos resembles a wise uncle explaining how a ne’er-do-well cousin gambled away the family’s future: He spares his compatriots no embarrassment, yet recalls in memorable detail how fickle German friends and French moneylenders egged them on.’ —James Pressley, ‘Bloomberg’

‘As with so much economic history, Manolopoulos reveals just how many factors, and negligent hubristic individuals, helped cause the monumental disaster. He is even-handed in apportioning blame – everyone carries some.’ —David Walker, ‘Investment Week’

‘Jason Manolopoulos’s new tome is an enjoyable romp through the story of how Greece got caught out in the international economic crisis.’ —Business Diary, ‘The Independent’

'The graphic portrait of a deeply troubled country and the shocking story of the failure of past and present economic experts to grasp the nature of the problems.' —Thomas Mayer, Chief Economist, Deutsche Bank

'A fascinating account of the crisis-ridden saga of Greece and a wider European economy prompted by the superficial nature of Europe’s political process, its institutions, and the impunity of its leaders. Psychologically insightful and gritty in his practical recommendations, Manolopoulos possesses a knack for chiselled and punchy prose – all of which make the read a pleasurable must.' —Guerman Aliev, CEO of Altpoint Capital Partners

'Incisive and engaging, this book provides a unique perspective on the Greek crisis by combining a thoughtful analysis of Greek society and economy with one of politics at the EU level and of global financial markets.' —Dr Dimitri Vayanos, Professor of Finance and Director of the Paul Woolley Centre for the Study of Capital Market Dysfunctionality, London School of Economics

'Manolopoulos brings the Greek debt crisis into historical perspective, providing an insightful analysis of what went wrong. This book is essential reading for everybody who wants to understand the challenges the Eurozone is facing.' —Michael Ganske, Head of Emerging Markets Research, Commerzbank

'Through a critical but accessible discussion of key conventions in economics and finance and ample presentation of anecdotal material, this book offers a unique introspective look into Greek socio-political culture and how this, combined with the fallacies and excesses of the international financial system and the EMU architecture, led to what the author calls ‘Greece’s Odious Debt’.' —Dr Vassilis Monastiriotis, Hellenic Observatory, European Institute, London School of Economics

Author Information

Jason Manolopoulos is the co-founder of the emerging markets hedge fund Dromeus Capital, an alternative asset management firm focusing on macro and special situations investments in emerging markets.


Anthem Finance

Anthem European Studies

Table of Contents

1. From Buenos Aires to Athens; 2. Getting Lucky; 3. The Euro: A Hard Sell, or a Mis-sell?; 4. Western Branding, Eastern Legacy: A Country on a Fault-line; 5. The Looting of Greece: Scandals, Corruption and a Monstrous Public Sector; 6. Getting Unlucky: It All Begins to Unravel; 7. The Euro in Practice; 8. Liquidity Boom; 9. The Entertainers; 10. A Temporary Bail-out? A Crisis Made Worse by Satisficing; 11. The Man in the Arena; Notes; Index; INDEX 2


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