Greece's "Chicken Run"

The James Dean Movie That Explains the Greek Debt Negotiations


The negotiations between Greece and its creditors are a classic game of chicken, a rather more complex version of the one in “Rebel Without a Cause.” Jim Stark, James Dean’s character in that film, is challenged to a “Chickie Run,” in which he and his rival, Buzz, drive stolen cars toward a cliff, with the loser being the young man who jumps to safety first. What makes a game of chicken scary is that each competitor needs to risk his life to get the best outcome. The safest thing for the rivals to have done would have been to jump out of their cars to safety immediately (or perhaps never get in them at all), but that would mean conceding total victory to their opponent. Similarly, the Greek government is most likely to get agreeable terms the closer a Greek exit from the eurozone, with its attendant unpredictable fallout, appears. Part of what has been happening the last several weeks is that everyone is trying to assess just how bad that outcome would be. If their cars go over the cliff, does it mean certain death or mere injury? If the latter, both parties are likely to hold out longer, and the risk of going over the cliff thus would become higher.
Comment: Rebel is one of my favorite films!

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