Cyprus has been dominating the news as the latest over-indebted European country needing a bailout. It is reported to have total debt equal to approximately nine times its GDP. Now that is some serious leverage. It wasn’t always this way though. Here’s an interesting piece from 1954 talking about how crazy it is to put such a prosperous island like Cyprus, which had been under control of the British, in the hands of Greeks. I was particularly struck by the following paragraph:
For many years the islanders were quite happy under British rule. A Cypriote has it easier than most people in the modern world. He is practically able to retire before he is really old enough to works. He lives to a ripe old age because Cyprus has the second lowest death rate in the world. He has no worries about national debt – his government takes in more than it spends. (emphasis mine)”
It seems to me that Cyprus really achieved a high quality of life if this excerpt is a reasonable representation of life on the island back in 1954.
(I thought you might appreciate the picture of Groucho, so I left it in.)