you're right about the revision thing, my bad.
so do you expect greece to come to terms with the harsh methods papandreou has proposed, saving tons of money but (maybe) crippling the economy until there's hardly anything left? will people accept it without rioting like mad?
btw are you in greece?
It won't cripple the economy. The exact opposite actually. The number of people living off the Greek government is incredible given the low retirement age, which if I'm not mistaken is one of the lowest in Europe. These individuals are just living off the country's producers (taxpayers). Raising the retirement age will not only save money but boost production since people that otherwise would have been living off others will actually be creating economic value (unless of course they work for the government). In turn, more producers means more tax revenue, which of course can be used to finance government spending that hasn't been cut (or pay off the debt). All in all, the Socialist party over there has actually done a decent job. Hell, you wouldn't even know they're socialists. They're more conservative than their "conservative" predecessors. Nevertheless, considering how much of an obstacle they face there's no way they'll be able to avoid a bailout. Just hope that it doesn't spread.
As for the US and the UK. Yes, we/they will face a similar crisis. Not in the next couple of years, though, at least in the US. In the US we'll be able to carry on for a while since our debt load is relatively small compared to most European economies (I believe it's about par with France and Germany). Additionally, since the dollar isn't in as imminent danger as the euro, if the Euro continues it's slide then investors will rush into the relative "safety" of US treasuries (especially if the other PIIGS get into trouble), decreasing our borrowing costs. The same holds true if the pound or yen have some issues. And in general, the US economy is a little more nimble than most places.
This, however, will only delay the inevitable. Our baby boomers are retiring soon, which will massively increase government spending. We have literally promised this generation (or more aptly, they have promised themselves on their children's behalf) more than younger Americans will even be producing, let alone what they're capable of paying in taxes without any major adverse consequences. This is the big worry, the GFC was only an appetizer. Hell, it was just afternoon tea and crumpets. I don't know much about European demographics, but I'm guessing the age makeup of the population isn't much different. Regardless of what happens, whether it's higher taxes, massive inflation, defaults, whatever, people will be forced to accept that the standard of living they have been expecting (and promised) won't be materializing. The fiscal condition of a few states (California, New York, and Illinois, are the big ones...go Texas!
) really doesn't help.
There are a few developed countries where this isn't nearly as much of a problem. Australia's constitution requires a balanced budget (i.e. it has a national debt of 0). I don't know shit about New Zealand, but my guess is that it's similar to Australia (because their accents sound the same to me
). Canada is in good shape too, although it'd be hard to imagine them bopping along just fine without feeling anything if the US economy takes a big hit. I don't know much about Poland, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, and Chile, but I think they're supposed to be in good shape, as well. I'm sure there are others. And no, I don't think China is going to rise up as some great economic engine anytime soon. There are a lot of skeletons in that closet that we don't know about yet.
I love discussing/reading about this stuff. Big hobby of mine, especially lately.