The effect on his small business — which he says may have to close — has been devastating. His regular customers, whom he rarely sees these days, owe him €14,000, or $19,300, and those that he does see are looking to pawn their family heirlooms to get by.

“The politicians are playing games with the people,” he said, his eyes red with exhaustion and stress. “This city is boiling. I am not a protester, but soon the top on the kettle will pop.”

That the Greek economy is in a downward spiral from a relentless program of austerity is well known. Greek manufacturing saw one of its sharpest falls ever in October, and this year overall production is expected to contract by more than 6 percent. What has not yet shown up in the official figures, though, is the extent to which the crisis atmosphere has brought the economy to a virtual standstill…

Small shops, in many ways the lifeblood of the Greek economy, which relies on domestic demand, are shuttering by the day. And, most acutely, the heightened speculation that Greece might have to return to the drachma has given new impetus to the flood of money leaving Greek banks — money to be deposited abroad, stashed at home or in one’s car and most certainly not spent.