Seeking to offer a unified theory about Greece’s current political and economic crisis, this article unravels the particular mechanisms through which this country developed as a populist democracy, that is, a pluralist system in which both the government and the opposition parties turn populist. It furthermore shows how this democracy facilitated the political class and the vast majority in Greek society to achieve and maintain for several decades an admirably high coordination of aims enabling them to exploit the state and its resources. Seen within the theoretical framework proposed, Greece offers policy-oriented scholars crucial insights into what may go badly wrong in developed Western democracies.