The Greek debt crisis has been dragging on for so long that it seems an eternity. They have almost been as long in a crisis mode in the European monetary union as “out of crisis mode”. Considering that the debt burden is 340 billion Euro, they have a serious question to answer: Is it all worth it? Would it not be easier to go back to the Greek Drachma? At least then they have more control over the currency, they have their own reserve bank, and they could print money to pay back the loans.

In simple economic terms, it would make sense. But such decision would be short sighted and naïve. In fact, the fallout could be so severe for the Greek population, that they could have mistaken it with Zeus, the god of thunder, returning. The Drachma would immediately devalue against all other major currencies, since the exchange rate always acts as the pressure release valve in an inefficient economy. Any company, who has taken out debt in Europe will see their debt burden skyrocket, and probably make it unsustainable. Banks would only be able to survive with the support of the Greek central bank, because in accounting terms they would be bankrupt. You would probably see high inflation coming through, wiping out any value of cash savings by pensioners, and the venerable parts of society would be thrown into poverty with little help or hope. That’s because the Greek government has still not sorted out one of their main problems: Tax collection. Going back to the drachma would not enable the Greek government to collect more Taxes, which they need to help to support the faulting economy.

Once the massive devaluation has taken place, the Greek economy will start to gain traction again, but from a much lower level. If the GDP falls by another 25% in real terms, after the Grexit, and the economy then grows by between 3 and 4%, they will need 20 -30 years to arrive at the level they have been at in 2008. That is a big price to pay.

All these doomsday scenarios would certainly advocate a “yes” vote this weekend, yes to stay in the Euro area and yes to reforms. But there is a much more fundamental reason why Greece should stay in the Euro area. As mentioned earlier, the currency exchange is a pressure-release valve to uncompetitive and in-efficient economies. In the global village, countries compete more and more head on against each other. Thus, over the long run, countries that produce the most efficient will benefit (in constant currency terms), while countries, that are marked by restrictive practices (such as ineffective and corrupt governments, high licensing fees, tight labor laws, etc), will perform badly. Either the economy will do badly, or, if they have their own currency, the currency should depreciate each year to make up for the inefficiencies (often coupled with inflation).

Greece is doing badly because they are not as competitive as their European counterparts. Their government employs more people in questionable and unproductive positions, the labor laws are more restrictive, the Tax collection not as efficient and they protect more industries resulting in companies being less efficient because high local barriers to entry which are restrictive. In a fast changing world dominated by disrupters like the Taxi service Uber, you can’t try and protect your own Taxi industry by restricting it and charging high license fees. At the end of the day, the main people who suffer from such bad policies are the Greeks.

To end this ongoing crisis, the Greek people have a chance to vote “yes” this weekend and give a clear signal: Yes, they want to be part of Europe; Yes, they want reforms to make Greece, including their government more competitive; and yes, they want they want to be proud to be a Greek again, a nation that rises up to the challenge a conquer it, rather than blaming others for their own faults.