"Strictly Confidential" Memo About Greece's Debt Is Leaked

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As a new restructuring plan and bailout package for Greece are announced today, a memo about the plans marked "Strictly Confidential" was leaked. 

 (View the memo on Scribd.)

Based on the memo, Slate describes the situation as follows:

"Greece can't pay its bills. But even if Greece was relieved from the obligation to service its outstanding stock of debt, it still couldn't pay its remaining expenses. It can't devalue to try to boost its tourist sector. Instead, the rest of the Eurozone is heading into recession which hurts Greece's main shot at export earnings. Draconian as the austerity that Germany, the Netherlands, and Finland are insisting on as a condition of their charity accepting the charity is the only way to avoid an even more draconian round of austerity. This austerity will, however, only further crush the Greek economy and make it less likely that debts will be paid."

For instructors and students of communication, the memo is interesting to analyze in terms of business writing principles: audience analysis, content, visuals, organization, writing style, and editing.

Discussion Starters:

  • Audience analysis: Who is the original, intended audience? How did the leak affect how the memo was interpreted?
  • Content: Are the main points clear? What evidence is provided to support the major arguments?
  • Visuals: How are charts used to support the main points? Are they clear and easy to understand?
  • Organization: How is the memo organized, and is this effective? How is skim-value achieved?
  • Writing Style: How do you assess the writing style? Is it clear and concise? How could it be improved?
  • Editing: How are the attention to detail and writing mechanics?
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