As a predictable result, Greece's economy shrivelled, the debt-to-GDP ratio skyrocketed, and the political system began to fly apart. Obviously, the austerity agenda was never about paying off the unpayable debt. Austerity is never about paying off the debt. There is no such thing as 'expansionary austerity'. Austerity predictably, in almost every case, suppressed growth for the duration, making it impossible to pay off any debt. Debt is the political instrument through which austerity, desired for other reasons, is achieved. In this case, austerity was the means by which the social advances achieved by past Greek generations - particularly the leftist movements that arose after the dictatorship - would be undone. And while much has been achieved in that respect, the debt-to-GDP ratio in Greece has barely moved since 2013. Last year it reached a new record high at 181%, well over the 60% limit that usually triggers the "excessive deficit regime". This after a series of 'bailout' packages came totalling €241.6 billion euros. Even so, Greece's status has been 'normalised'. To reiterate, it was never about the debt. Austerity is never about the debt.