At first, I thought that it was the particular supermarket I was in on Zakynthos. But after shopping around, it became apparent that prices were crazy-high everywhere. “What’s going on?”, i asked. “It’s the taxes” came the response. It turns out that sales tax increases, as well as other tax rises appear to be filtering through to high costs for staples. This was a surprise given that this is not reflected in published inflation information for the country.
Of course one cannot reach conclusions from random samples of some supermarkets on an island. But if those prices are what Greeks have to pay for staples, and with that level of unemployment, then – regardless of what the economists say about the theoretical sustainability of their debt – the Greek people will buckle under the burden.
Call it the price-of-pasta test – history shows that if people in Europe can’t afford to buy staples with which to feed their family, they will revolt. No wonder Alexis Tsipras appeared so relaxed when he lost the election last month, declaring that his time would come.