The acronym PIGS (in English, Portugal, Italy, Greece & Spain), therefore, refers to these four economies. However, after the Great Recession of 2008, variants such as PIIGS or GIPSI emerged, including Ireland and Iceland among them. In addition to sometimes including the United Kingdom, referring to these as PIGGS or PIIGGS. A condition that was even attributed to France, although this last proposal did not prosper.
In short, we are talking about an acronym that generally refers to the first four countries mentioned. And this acronym, it should be noted, that arises and is used in a pejorative sense. In other words, the acronym is used by the media, analysts, commentators and even politicians to refer to these countries as countries that claim to be exemplary in Europe, but that, in reality, were poor countries that recently began to prosper. In other words, it refers to the European periphery, which has problems related to its deficit and its balance of payments.
For this reason, many citizens, politicians, businessmen, as well as citizens of the countries to which this acronym refers have been upset to see such an expression in prestigious media such as the Financial Times, The Economist, Newsweek, among others. Well, it refers to European economies that, analyzed, are not so far from the economies of those citizens who use this concept.
The acronym PIGS refers to the following countries:
The PIIGS or GIPSI variant refers to the inclusion of Ireland.
When we talk about PIIIGS, we talk about the inclusion of Iceland.
If we talk about PIGGS or PIIGGS, we talk about the inclusion of the United Kingdom.
Characteristics of the PIGS or PIGS countries
As a general rule, the creators of the acronym refer to countries with the following negative characteristics:
In short, it establishes a distinction between the most powerful countries in Europe and the weakest and most needy economies. Reason why the term generated criticism, the term being considered as "classist".
Criticism of the acronym "PIGS" or the expression "PIGS countries"
The fact that many media outlets named these economies as "PIGS", which means "pigs" in English, sparked criticism from many countries that saw this name as a class expression of certain countries. An expression that tried to discriminate against these southern economies, which, a priori, did not have economic power and finances as healthy as the larger ones.
However, due to the lack of criteria with which this concept was used, numerous analysts were very critical of the expression.
In this sense, countries like the United Kingdom or the United States have higher budgetary imbalances than Spain or Italy, for example. The debt in the United States far exceeds the Spanish debt. While Ireland, unlike the United Kingdom, for example, has been considered an " economic miracle " and an example to be followed by many economies in the world.
Data such as those cited generated a conflict, since The Economist or Financial Times were not telling the truth when they spoke of a greater deterioration in the PIGS economies than in others such as those found in these newspapers. Well, in 2008, the Financial Times newspaper provoked numerous protests from citizens who, alluded to by the expression, pointed to data that showed the absence of criteria to select the member economies of this repudiated group.