This was underscored by the surprise move by Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou to give citizens a vote on the latest bailout deal negotiated with Germany and other eurozone neighbors to trim Greek debt and prevent default.
His referendum proposal followed escalating citizen protests against austerity measures over the last 18 months imposed by European governments and banks as a condition of Greece's receiving bailout loans.
The prospect of throwing the issue to Greece's disenchanted citizenry caused financial markets to swoon and sent European leaders scrambling for a Plan B to save the euro. Thursday, Papandreou scuttled the referendum notion after forging a fragile alliance with opposition lawmakers in Parliament.
To the financial institutions holding Greek debt, and to the other countries that have ditched their own currencies over the last decade or so to join the 17-country euro bloc, the question of default should not even be on the table.
The euro must be protected at all costs, they argue, even though the austerity measures already instituted have slowed the Greek economy so much that citizen discontent is high there.
Yet to others, Greece is transforming into a tinderbox of popular anger that cannot be ignored.
Greece defiantly thwarted Italian invaders during World War II and fought a bloody civil war after Nazi occupiers withdrew. Some now perceive German- and French-led bailout deals as tantamount to the nation's once again losing its sovereignty.
Imagine if Pennsylvania, grappling with staggering unemployment like Greece, were taking orders from the governor of Ohio. That's how some Greeks increasingly feel.
Defenders of the euro insist that Greece must not resort to halting payments on its debt, much of which is owed to foreign institutions. Rather, they say, Greece should continue to negotiate with lenders. Even if Greece were to stay the course, however, there are fears it might eventually be forced to sell some assets to foreign lenders, another harrowing symbol of lost control.
Defenders of the euro also insist, with support from Greece's governing party, that the only path forward is for Greece to continue cutting its national expenses like a distressed corporation, in the hope that its economy will rebound.
One man who finds this unacceptable is Costas Lapavitsas. A professor of economics at the University of London, Lapavitsas was an invited lecturer Thursday at La Salle University, where he explained why he is part of an increasingly vocal minority calling for a Greek default.
Five years ago, Lapavitsas was "agnostic" about Greece as a eurozone nation. Over the last two years, he became opposed to it, persuaded by financial analyses of the lending and spending that have led to today's crisis.
Lapavitsas laid blame on bankers who made billions off the euro's creation. They lent generously and without due diligence to weaker countries, mostly to companies and financial institutions, he said while standing before a chart of data.
The continent's stronger economies, such as Germany and France, benefited, too, as credit-soaked citizens in weaker countries suddenly became buyers of their exports.
But he also analyzed the cost of labor in the eurozone and found something else unsettling.
When the eurozone was conceived, there was concern about how member countries would be able to pursue flexible economic policies since they had no control over the currency. Plus, each country retained its separate government. Labor markets would be the answer: Poorer nations would have lower wages, and a competitive edge.
But his analysis of nominal unit-labor costs showed Germany's stayed flat between 1995 and 2001 while labor costs soared in Greece, Ireland, Spain, and Portugal.
Germans were "ruthless" in controlling wages, he said, spawning surpluses there and deficits in weaker nations.
A default, while a "dangerous course," he insisted, is a democratic alternative to economic stagnation, which he likened to "no future at all."
"If they exit [the eurozone], at least they have a chance."
Contact staff writer Maria Panaritis at 215-854-2431 or email@example.com or @panaritism on Twitter.