Oh Happy Estonia! Such an Enviably Low Level of Debt!

General government debt – as percentage of GDP:
U.K.: 40%
Greece: 96.6 %
Italy: 103.4%
Estonia: 5%
Source: Statistics Estonia

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The News Portal, Delfi, writes (November 30):

“Every day we read on the front pages how badly off Italy and Greece are. It’s become all the rage, with the unfortunate result that Estonia’s current problems, such as the high level of poverty and the demographic transformation, are swept under the rug.

“The fact is that the average Southern European is still better off than the average Estonian. The success of a state is measured by how well off its inhabitants are, and not by the level of debt. But now people are left with the impression that the situation is far worse elsewhere than in Estonia, and at every opportunity there’s someone saying that Estonia is not to blame for the irresponsibility of other countries. But that just gives a false impression.”


3 responses to “Oh Happy Estonia! Such an Enviably Low Level of Debt!

  1. The quote from “Delfi” is wryly amusing in that it so clearly confirms what we were told in Tallinn last summer — that Estonians take great national pride in being the most unhappy people in the world. They even quote a UN study that proves this statistically. Imagine, then, their outrage at seeing other European states — hapless Italy and Greece — horning in on their corner of the misery game.

  2. During the Cold War, a senior Finance Official of an East Block nation confessed to a Canadian finance official that his government’s policy of rapid debt repayment to Western Banks/institutions was impoverishing his country.
    Financial illiteracy is rampant. Debt to GDP is not nearly as important a ratio as interest payments to Government revenue, or interest payments to GDP. Sadly though, most European countries are far worse off than most comparisons with Canada suggest. Why, we include public pension liabilities in debt, they do not.
    Cheers, Mike Sky

  3. Question. I understand half the population of Estonia is of Russian descent, brought there during the Russian occupation. Who is happier, the pure Estonians, related to Finns and of Central Asian descent, or the Slavic Russians. Who knows ?