The Olympics may be a success on the surface, but underneath, the economic promises and foundation that these games were built on are in ruins. According to Andrew Zimbalist, a professor of economics at Smith College and the author of Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup, Rio de Janeiro will only be in further financial and social disarray as a result of hosting the Olympics.

“They have spent $20 billion more or less on hosting and they will receive back $3 billion. By my Math that’s a deficit of $17 billion,” Zimbalist said on Boston Public Radio Wednesday.

Zimbalist, who was a major voice in the campaign against Boston hosting the 2024 Olympics, says that even the infrastructure the government has built for the games ignores the real needs of the city; including a new subway system that only benefits one upper-middle-class neighborhood rather than the substantial portion of the population living in the poor favelas.

These Olympics may also do harm to Rio’s tourism industry rather than promoting it.  “The evidence does not suggest there are long term benefits.. and indeed when you are talking about the specific case of Rio instead of burnishing the image of Rio as a tourism business city, I think very clearly that image has been tarnished by what’s going on,” said Zimbalist.

Andrew Zimbalist is a professor of economics at Smith College and the author of Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup. Listen to his interview with Boston Public Radio above.