If those countries are to have some hope of prosperity, they need to solve the two underlying problems. It is obvious to most external observers that the way to solve the problem of competitiveness quickly is to devalue. Normally, an IMF programme for a country in trouble not only asks it to cut its budget deficit and reduce its excess public spending, but suggests that it devalue its currency and move to a looser monetary policy domestically, so that there can be private sector-led growth, export-led growth—the kind of thing it needs to get out of its disastrous position. That is exactly what those countries are unable to do. That is why the IMF should not lend a country like Greece a single euro or a single dollar. Greece is to the euro area as California is to the dollar area: it is not an independent sovereign state, and it cannot do two of the three things that a country needs to do to get back into growth and prosperity, because it cannot devalue and it cannot create enough credit and money within its own system.
Except that California is more like a quack doctor bleeding a perfectly healthy person—that patient is weakened, but still able to work and produce, to innovate and generate wealth.
Whereas the Greek situation is rather more akin to flogging a dead horse...