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Greece

A Greek beggar holds a sign reading "I'm hungry."

Milos Bicanski/Getty Images

Public debt as percentage of GDP: 142

Population: 11 million

A legacy of exorbitant public spending following its entrance into the European Union in 1981 has landed Greece in the undesirable position of the most cash-strapped economy [source: BBC]. Since the country received its first economic bailout in May 2010, Greece's financial woes have only worsened. Failing to meet spending cuts and repayment timelines built into the bailout, the country's credit rating has taken a beating, making it more costly for them to borrow any money to help them weather their financial crisis, further handicapping the government. The Standard and Poor's credit-rating agency has named Greece the "least credit-worthy" country on its books [source: BBC]. That pitiful credit rating pushed it a notch beyond Japan, which has more debt to pay off, but hasn't received such severe credit downgrades.

Additional proposed government spending cuts and widespread unemployment have only stirred civil unrest, which has manifested as strikes and rioting. To make matters worse, analysts predict that Greece's economy will sink even lower before a possible recovery takes place [source: Economist].

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