Yesterday, Greek citizens voted to reject the proposed EU bailout.
Many people are feeling astonished by the decision. How could they do such a thing? This is simply inconceivable!
From a marketing perspective, however, the outcome isn’t a surprise.
Greek voters had a choice: they could vote to accept the offer on the table or reject it. The proposed deal wasn’t particularly attractive. It involved continued austerity; the heart of the plan was a series of cuts in pensions and spending.
The benefit of the plan was–well, what was it? Why would people vote for it? Perhaps the most compelling benefit was that the plan provided stability and continuity. Given how things are going in Greece, though, continuity isn’t appealing.
Rejecting the deal was far more attractive, primarily because it was uncertain. What would happen? Nobody could say. Would rejecting the deal mean Greece would leave the EU? That wasn’t and isn’t clear. Would saying no involve more sacrifice? That wasn’t and isn’t clear. In three years, would Greece be more economically successful if it took the proposed deal or rejected it? Once again, that wasn’t and isn’t clear.
Greek voters had to choose between two options, and one was uncertain and the other was unattractive.
This is a bit like the game show “Let’s Make a Deal.” On the show, people are offered a series of alternatives and they have to choose one over the other. In many cases, the decisions are difficult. Would you like this small box or the large one? How about $1,000 or the large box? The Greeks didn’t have a tough choice. They were picking between a pile of dead worms and a box. Which would you choose?
The problem facing everyone involved in the Greece situation is that the future is so unclear. Until someone lays out two credible scenarios, people will continue to choose the uncertain option, even if in the long run that is a misguided and scary choice.