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June 14, 2012

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Mike13

How would you explain the increase in suicides Greece has been experiencing of late?

How does it hold with your theory that the economy is the number one issue because we want, as you say, more.

Kent Thune

Mike13:

I appreciate your comment and the link. Yes, "the desire for more" is at the root of the global recession, which includes Greece.

There are certainly "victims," as the Krugman article points out, that do not deserve complete blame for their economic woes. In fact, there are many who have worked hard and lived well within their means but still lost everything.

However, there is no doubt that the worst aspects (job losses, poverty, suffering) of recessions are results of the excesses (greed, poor risk management) of expansions.

I certainly do not suggest that all who are suffering economically did something to deserve their circumstance.

However, I have no doubt that greed (or lack of contentment) is at the root of all the current financial malaise spread in most parts of the world today.

I also believe, and can speak from experience, from observing others and from my reading, that finding a way to let go of the desire for more can help move past the suffering.

Perhaps the most famous Greek who ever lived, Socrates, can state my point better:

"I do nothing but go about persuading you all, old and young alike, not to take thought for your persons or your properties, but and chiefly to care about the greatest improvement of the soul. I tell you that virtue is not given by money, but that from virtue comes money and every other good of man, public as well as private. This is my teaching, and if this is the doctrine which corrupts the youth, I am a mischievous person."

Mike13

Thanks. I think Aristotle in his Nicomachean Ethics insisted that unjust actions are motivated by pleonexia.
And he really disliked usurers as is manifested by his saying:
"those who ply sordid trades, pimps and all such people, and those who lend small sums at high rates. For all these take more than they ought, and from the wrong sources. What is common to them is evidently a sordid love of gain…" (1122a, ETHICS)

Kent Thune

Excellent point. Aristotle is a great reference here. He would say that the best use of money is for the purpose of exchange of goods and services but the use of money solely to make *more* money (i.e. investing and lending) is unnatural and can lead to the degradation of an individual’s character by making them desirous to accumulate more money, causing people’s passions to dominate their reason.

Aristotle was right.

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