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Jeffrey Sachs, the famed economist and director of the Earth Insititute here at Columbia, helped write an open letter in the Nation directed at German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other leaders of the European Union to back away from the austerity measures—a series of spending cuts that affect Greek taxes and pensions.

Joining Sachs as signers at the bottom of the letter were a slew of influential economists, including former State Secretary in the German Federal Ministry of Finance Heiner Flassbeck, Paris School of Economics professor Thomas Piketty, Harvard Kennedy School economics professor Dani Rodrick, and University of Oxford professor Simon Wren-Lewis.

Greeks voted to reject the measures in a referendum on Sunday, and now it's unclear if Greece will remain in the eurozone.

"Right now, the Greek government is being asked to put a gun to its head and pull the trigger. Sadly, the bullet will not only kill off Greece's future in Europe," the letter reads. "The collateral damage will kill the Eurozone as a beacon of hope, democracy and prosperity, and could lead to far-reaching economic consequences across the world."

Sachs and his fellow famed economist friends are hoping their words will have some clout as Merkel (who has a lot of power in the negotiations as the leader of Greece's largest creditor) and other European Union leaders plan to have a 'decisive' meeting on Sunday.

"To Chancellor Merkel our message is clear; we urge you to take this vital action of leadership for Greece and Germany, and also for the world. History will remember you for your actions this week. We expect and count on you to provide the bold and generous steps towards Greece that will serve Europe for generations to come."

You can read the full letter here at The Nation.

Jeffrey Sachs Angela Merkel austerity greece Earth Institute shots fired
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