20 Facts About The Collapse Of Europe That Everyone Should Know

Tyler Durden's picture

Originally posted at The Coming Depression blog,

The economic implosion of Europe is accelerating. Even while the mainstream media continues to proclaim that the financial crisis in Europe has been “averted”, the economic statistics that are coming out of Europe just continue to get worse.

Manufacturing activity in Europe has been contracting month after month, the unemployment rate in the eurozone has hit yet another brand new record high, and the official unemployment rates in both Greece and Spain are now much higher than the peak unemployment rate in the United States during the Great Depression of the 1930s. The economic situation in Europe is far worse than it was a year ago, and it is going to continue to get worse as austerity continues to take a huge toll on the economies of the eurozone.

It would be hard to understate how bad things have gotten – particularly in southern Europe. The truth is that most of southern Europe is experiencing a full-blown economic depression right now. Sadly, most Americans are paying very little attention to what is going on across the Atlantic. But they should be watching, because this is what happens when nations accumulate too much debt. The United States has the biggest debt burden of all, and eventually what is happening over in Spain, France, Italy, Portugal and Greece is going to happen over here as well.

The following are 20 facts about the collapse of Europe that everyone should know...

#1 10 Months: Manufacturing activity in both France and Germany has contracted for 10 months in a row.

#2 11.8 Percent: The unemployment rate in the eurozone has now risen to 11.8 percent – a brand new all-time high.

#3 17 Months: In November, Italy experienced the sharpest decline in retail sales that it had experienced in 17 months.

#4 20 Months: Manufacturing activity in Spain has contracted for 20 months in a row.

#5 20 Percent: It is estimated that bad loans now make up approximately 20 percent of all domestic loans in the Greek banking system at this point.

#6 22 Percent: A whopping 22 percent of the entire population of Ireland lives in jobless households.

#7 26 Percent: The unemployment rate in Greece is now 26 percent. A year ago it was only 18.9 percent.

#8 26.6 Percent: The unemployment rate in Spain has risen to an astounding 26.6 percent.

#9 27.0 Percent: The unemployment rate for workers under the age of 25 in Cyprus. Back in 2008, this number was well below 10 percent.

#10 28 Percent: Sales of French-made vehicles in November were down 28 percent compared to a year earlier.

#11 36 Percent: Today, the poverty rate in Greece is 36 percent. Back in 2009 it was only about 20 percent.

#12 37.1 Percent: The unemployment rate for workers under the age of 25 in Italy – a brand new all-time high.

#13 44 Percent: An astounding 44 percent of the entire population of Bulgaria is facing “severe material deprivation”.

#14 56.5 Percent: The unemployment rate for workers under the age of 25 in Spain – a brand new all-time high.

#15 57.6 Percent: The unemployment rate for workers under the age of 25 in Greece – a brand new all-time high.

#16 60 Percent: Citigroup is projecting that there is a 60 percent probability that Greece will leave the eurozone within the next 12 to 18 months.

#17 70 Percent: It has been reported that some homes in Spain are being sold at a 70% discount from where they were at during the peak of the housing bubble back in 2006. At this point there areapproximately 2 million unsold homes in Spain.

#18 200 Percent: The debt to GDP ratio in Greece is rapidly approaching 200 percent.

#19 1997: According to the Committee of French Automobile Producers, 2012 was the worst year for the French automobile industry since 1997.

#20 2 Million: Back in 2005, the French auto industry produced about 3.5 million vehicles. In 2012, that number dropped to about 2 million vehicles.

One thing that these shocking numbers cannot convey is the tremendous amount of pain that many average Europeans are living through on a daily basis at this point. To get a peek into what life is like in Greece these days, check out this short excerpt from a recent Bloomberg article…

Anastasia Karagaitanaki, 57, is a former model and cafe owner in Thessaloniki, Greece. After losing her business to the financial crisis, she now sleeps on a daybed next to the refrigerator in her mother’s kitchen and depends on charity for food and insulin for her diabetes.

“I feel like my life has slipped through my hands,” said Karagaitanaki, whose brother also shares the one-bedroom apartment. “I feel like I’m dead.”

For thousands of Greeks like Karagaitanaki, the fabric of middle-class life is unraveling. Teachers, salaries slashed by a third, are stealing electricity. Families in once-stable neighborhoods are afraid to leave their homes because of rising street crime.

All over Europe, people that have lost all hope are actually setting themselves on fire in a desperate attempt to draw attention. Millions of formerly middle class Europeans have lost everything and are becoming increasingly desperate. Suicide and crime are skyrocketing all over southern Europe and massive street riots are erupting on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, this is just the beginning. Things are going to get even worse for Europe.

Meanwhile, those of us living in the United States smugly look down our noses at Europe because we are still living in a false bubble of debt-fueled prosperity.

But eventually we will feel the sting of austerity as well. The recent fiscal cliff deal was an indication of that. Taxes are going up and government spending is at least going to slow down. It won’t be too long before the effects of that are felt in the economy.

And of course the reality of the situation is that the U.S. economy really did not perform very well at all during 2012 when you take a look at the numbers. The cold, hard truth is that the U.S. economy has been declining for a very long time, and there are a whole bunch of reasons to expect that our decline will accelerate even further in 2013.

So if you are an American, don’t laugh at what is happening over in Europe at the moment. We are headed down the exact same path that they have gone, and we are going to experience the same kind of suffering that they are going through right now.

Use these last few “bubble months” to prepare for what is ahead. At some point this “hope bubble” will disappear and then the time for preparation will be over.

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Matt's picture

If a currency is replaced with a new currency, most people would define that as a failure.

busted by the bailout's picture

There are two sides to every story; this article presents just one of them.

wretch's picture

That's just, like, your opinion, man.

houserich's picture

Don't under estimate the healing benefits of more cheap mortgages, and more new houses.


OneTinSoldier66's picture

And more debt, can't forget that!

Alexi-Alexi's picture

Sounds about right

Snakeeyes's picture

Here is a comparison of the US and Spanish housing bubbles. Spain is still in the tank and we are close.


Never One Roach's picture
Spanish Home Prices Fall Most on Record as Economy Shrinks




Hay carumba!

Yen Cross's picture

 Did i mention LTRO? 

  did I mention ECB/fed < balance sheets<> ( did i mention flows)

fonestar's picture

The final bubble... UST vs. Gold

"There can be only one"

nmewn's picture

There is only one ;-)

AlaricBalth's picture

Thunderdome: Two shall enter. One shall leave.
My money is on gold.
It has beaten paper for thousands of years.

“You have to choose [as a voter] between trusting to the natural stability of gold and the natural stability and intelligence of the members of the government. And with due respect to these gentlemen, I advise you, as long as the capitalist system lasts, to vote for gold.” – George Bernard Shaw

trav777's picture

nah, gold has nothing backing it.

this is what i saw on the media and they speak truth

Joe moneybags's picture

Pretty much every commodity has beaten paper over the years, due to built-in depreciation of fiat.  It's the smart businessperson who understands this, and keeps on truckin' without worrying about the supposed immorality of fiat.

Rick Blaine's picture

Just to clarify what the actual line from the movie is...

"Two men enter; one man leaves!"

Yeah, I know you took a bit a liberty with it...just sayin...

sschu's picture

government spending is at least going to slow down.

I guess he didn't read the recent "fiscal cliff" deal, does not know what the ACA is about and is unaware of this bald guy named Bennie.

One thing we can be assured of, Federal government spending in the USA will NOT "slow" down anytime in the near future.


Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

Its funny when I hear talking heads on the TV talk about how we are going to raise taxes and "reduce" spending.  Like we are suddenly going to get fiscally responsible.  Spending cuts and reductions in the rate of spending growth, NEVER HAPPEN.  We fall for it every time though.

Pareto's picture

Because if it was (going to slow down spending) it would have already done so.  The FED will never unwind its position.  It will never unwind its position because it can't unwind its position, because, you can't unwind a ponzi fraud.

nmewn's picture

#14 56.5 Percent: The unemployment rate for workers under the age of 25 in Spain – a brand new all-time high.

#15 57.6 Percent: The unemployment rate for workers under the age of 25 in Greece – a brand new all-time high.

This will not end well.

sitenine's picture

"This will not end well." - I suppose that really depends on your point of view and your time horizon.

nmewn's picture

Yes, I suppose it does. But what cannot go on indefinitely never does...as the saying goes.

I think we all realize whats happening here.

The once powerful shepherds are hanging on by their bleeding fingernails to the only sled they've ever known as it careens down the slope and the sheep are blissfully unaware that the wolves are closing in all around them.

I always liked wolves personally...they are honest, purposeful and sincere ;-)

Yen Cross's picture

 The " 20 Factoids" are tyler is partially right. Europe is funded by Japan and China.  Europe has scientific and financial we== wealth.

  Argentina is demanding the Faulklands back, and London is sinking into oblivion! Wake up BoE!  Your austerity is paying off Cameron! Give some guns back, and level the playing field!

trav777's picture

England...LOL.  Did you, um, see their Olympics opening ceremony?  They pushed multicult.

They let muslims have their own laws to be sensitive.  They sanction barbarism in the name of not being called racist.  The british committed national suicide.  Wth do you expect from importing tons of africans?  Did you REALLY THINK they were going to magically turn into norweigians with a tan?  GTFO here. 

Yen Cross's picture

  You are a fucking mental Midget! Let's discuss European banking policy! You are a dumb ass wanabe! Stick to Fuckishima you moron!

  Idiots like youself give a bad name to "revolt"! Fuck off trav777

  You're a parasite looking for a host! Importing muslims? Lay off the plutonium!

Ident 7777 economy's picture



Yen Cross in deep DEEP denial.


ADDRESS the issue rather than attempt a cheap distraction via an ad hom.


Marge N Call's picture

+1. England is the biggest joke of all. The best lines EVER were the idiotic London douchebags calling the US "imperialist". OMFG.

Think about it: two major countries have a national fucking holiday set aside for celebrating independence from the failed British Empire, and they call other countries imperialist???? Really?

They have indeed committed suicide already, as has the rest of Western Europe. It's just a matter of the pills getting far enough into the bloodstream at this point. There is no turning back now....


Sandmann's picture

"the failed British Empire,".........what in 1783 ? You jest. The Americans signed the peace treaty in Paris where their French Allies were about to explode following bankrupting themselves paying for Independence of 13 colonies.......DEBT destroyed France in 1789 because Americans fought for French Imperial Goals

Sandmann's picture

The Ruling Elite told us that what how it was going to be.  Americans do not do what the Ruling Elite says because they have a Government For THe People By The People...........and like morons they actually believe it !

smacker's picture

"Wth do you expect from importing tons of africans?"

How many people do you get for a ton?

ytraderx's picture

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Japan is getting ready to pump massive amounts of money into its economy. Is it on the brink of an inflationary boom? Check out this article: http://www.globaleconomicmonitor.com/2013/01/is-japan-on-brink-of-inflat...

pragmatic hobo's picture

only thing europe is going through is changing from socialist states to capitalist states. Once complete the europe will have the necessary slave labor population to compete in global economy of 21st century.

LM's picture

Austerity doesn't take a toll on the economy, the building up of massive levels of debt, inflation of the money supply and government interventionism is what takes a huge toll on the economy.

JohnG's picture



"the building up of massive levels of debt, inflation of the money supply, taxing the shit out of people"


Add unemployment and it IS austerity on the taxpayer.

Sandmann's picture

It was "Austerity" after 1928 that created Mass Unemployment in Germany and Rule by Decree under Mueller and Bruening. It was Hitler after 1933 that started putting people back to work using loans from US and UK

buzzsaw99's picture

I blame the Euro and globalization.

Yen Cross's picture

I blame being rewarded for 2nd PLACE!

spinone's picture

The collapse of the global econoomy is so 2012

Smuckers's picture

It all comes down when the shearing hits the skin...and they are making the nicks now.
Never thought I would be in the position to tell later generations how bad it (is going to be) was.


laomei's picture

Now, step away from all that for a moment and ponder this:

All of this is a man-made disaster because of some fancy pieces of paper that people decided were worth something.  Seriously, just go back to zero with it all.  If you rent, you now own the house, ditto with business debts.  Empty houses/property you do not live in go to the state.  Bank accounts get wiped out, debts get wiped out, the paper becomes worthless entirely.  Sorry rich people, you're now worth no more than anyone else.  Tear it all down and start fresh.  Don't even have to do a gold standard thing either.  Go fiat again, everyone gets some starting credits based on age/ablity.  Then institute a system that nukes it all every 50~100 years or so and celebrate the damn thing with a big long holiday.


Those who are retired, sure they lose their nestegg, but with that starting credit, there are opportunities everywhere to invest, and ideally the credits would be enough to remain retired.  Under this system, sure, gold and whatever else would become valuable as a store of wealth, and the prices would go crazy near the end of the cycle, but all that paper would become worthless the next day and the gold prices would crash the day after.  There's absolutely zero reason why this does not work.  Ban interest entirely, profit sharing is ok.  Ban financial insurance instruments entirely, there should never be such a thing as a guaranteed profit or absolute security of wealth.


The simple fact of the matter, is that money is fucking stupid.  It's stupid to drag it out forever.  The only thing that matters is actual physical things of actual value. Monetary units are all fine and dandy for international trade, and again, there's no reason to not keep them for that.  All money is, is an evolution of the barter system, a widely accepted substitution of value which is easily transported and transmutated into anything else.  A dual-currency system would be preferrable as well.  A domestic currency which is only useful for taxation and government spending, and a *real* currency that is for common use which is not accepted by the government, period.  Come tax-time, the fiat would have value to those with taxes due, at all other times though... pretty much worthless.  Government contractors being paid in the fiat would be forced to convert it to hard currency for actual living and ironically, the more of it there is, the less it's worth.  If you produce nothing of value for society, for the public, welp, you're looking at some hard times.  So that glut of housing laying around unused?  Belongs to the government now.  It can be distributed as needed.  A token-rent basis wouldn't be bad, and it can always go secondary market. 


But where's the incentive to work hard if it's all for naught in a few years time?  And near the end, wouldn't everything skyrocket in price? And to that I say, why? What's the point in hoarding if it's going to zero anyways?  And the point in working hard? Well, there's always a point.  As your business expansion doesn't vanish as if by magic... unless, you're a rent-seeker.  If anything, there would be a rush to spend that saved credit to expand... or more realistically, less incentive to stash it away to begin with. If a bushel of corn is equal to a bushel of wheat, that ratios not going to magically change.  If a gram of gold buys a tank of gas, that won't change either.  Encouraging a society that sees no point in the cash, exchanges favors/goods/services for favors/goods/services is not a bad thing at all.  


There is no end-game, there is no "final objective" to push for.  Sorry, world's not ending anytime soon.  No high-score list to strive for, because in the end it's utterly pointless.  Why the hell must we insist on a perpetual accumulation of this pretend "wealth" which does far more bad than it does good?   Giving most of society a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to start fresh, with some cash in their pocket to go after that big-idea of theirs.  Why is this a bad thing?  Large companies with long-term focus, in the end, will survive with no problems.  Short-sighted companies will die at the next cycle for the betterment of all society.

Joe moneybags's picture

Your post should be set to the tune of John Lennon's "Imagine".

A Lunatic's picture

Your version of Monopoly is just as stupid.......

IridiumRebel's picture

I stopped after he mentioned "new fiat".

laomei's picture

It literally does not matter.  The notion that some gold-based currency will solve all the problems is a lie that ignores all the horrible shit that it caused in the past.  Fiat has the magical ability to be wiped out on a cyclical basis and fully controlled if it be so desired.  If every 50 years it just gets wiped out, poof, that's the end of it. No residual value, it just becomes paper.

FiatFapper's picture

I'm interested in how ZH-ers are preparing; what's your POA?

My POA: I've been saving all my plastic bottles, ready to store water. Once i get local news showing stories about haulage firms struggling with fuel prices, then i'll stock up on shit loads of tinned stuff.

p.s. i'm in the UK, so i could start stocking up on sticks as self defence, to thwart the police and their pesky batons.

nmewn's picture

Unfortunately, you're fucked.

You and your countrymen decided the best thing was to give up the right to defend your own castles, turning that time honored duty over to the king & his men...who have something a little more than just sticks.

Saving plastic bottles will do you no good, all you have ever needed were guns to take over the kings water plants when the king decides to ration it because you've become "unruly" or some other pretense.

I'd wish you good luck but you tend to export nothing but your annoying trinket pusher to appear in front of our low information voters to screech in some ridiculous quasi-cockney voice "But WAIT!!!...order now and we'll double your order, thats riiioght, two!!!"

Plus, there is your "other" spokeman/carnival barker, Piers Morgan.

Joe moneybags's picture

As a Yank, I see many favorable things about Europe

1. It's 400+ million people: educated, humanistic, resourceful, multi-talented, and experienced.  Their rebound from the ruin of the second world war, done in one generation, is astounding.  And this was done despite socialism.

2.  Flexible governments:  How about Thatcher's saving Britain from Socialism, or the quick reunification of Germany, or the founding of the Eurozone?  Even considering the problems, the fact is that governmental policy has and can change (for better or worse, of course).

3.  History:  The cradle of western culture for the past 2000 years is not about to go belly up tomorrow over bad economic conditions.  The continent weathered some pretty tough storms all through the last century, and will find a way through their current problems.

4.  Good food.  They have much better food over there than here. And NASCAR, they don't have NASCAR.

balz's picture

Thatcher didn't save anything. She merely wasted the time that was left for a more sustainable future. Her legacy is as much a failure as is Reagan in the US. In 1980, it was still time to act because Peak Oil was in decades. Now its too late, thanks to those ploutocratic lapdogs that launched a 20 years oil binge while destroying the social net and enriching a minority of new oligarchs.