Stakes are high in Greece today… the country is broke and its financial crisis is causing a ripple effect on the global economy.

The Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis told reporters Tuesday that  Greece will not be able to make the bailout deadline on a $1.8 billion repayment to the International Monetary Fund.

On the flip side, a referendum will occur this weekend to determine whether Greece will keep the euro currency or return to the drachma by accepting further austerity programs to re-pay its debt.

Clark Boyd, Senior Producer of WGBH’s The World who lived in Brussels, and extensively covered economics and the ongoing crisis in Greece between 2010 and 2012, says this latest crisis could be a challenge for Greece, since in 2002 it took Greece five years to switch from the drachma to the euro. This changeover, he says,  would be sudden and dramatic.

If Greece votes yes on the referendum, they would accept more austerity measures and continue to use the euro. If Greek citizens vote no on the referendum, as their Prime Minister  Alexis Tsipras is advocating, Greece would no longer use the euro, which observers such as Boyd says could become a financial mess.

Boyd says that this crisis has been going on since late 2009,“I really do see it as one long continuum,” he adds, “It’s a question of Greece not being able to pay its debts, continually having to negotiate with its creditors to try and get the money to repay its debts, and everything that goes along with that.”

With the dramatic drop in the American Stock Market yesterday, many are concerned as to how the crisis in Greece could affect the American economy and business abroad.

“It doesn’t mean that much for Greece, it probably doesn’t mean that much for the US. But it means a lot for Europe. And let’s face it, Europe is the US’s biggest trading partner. So if the Eurozone is having problems, then you start to have a knock on effect,” according to Boyd.

While many people point to countries, which were deeply affected by a declining worldwide economy around the American recession in 2008, Boyd says this might not be accurate.

“I think it’s hard to draw comparisons between these,” he says. “Greece has an economy that’s pretty much all based on tourism. There's not a lot of light industry, not a lot of high tech. So their economy is not very diverse and I think that’s what hurts them in a situation like this. They don’t have things that they can turn to try and get out of the crisis.”

To listen to the full interview with Clark Boyd and Morning Edition host Bob Seay, click on the audio file above.