Det antika Greklands ekonomiska välstånd

Dagens Grekland är hopplöst dysfunktionellt. Orsaken till den svåra ekonomiska krisen är decennier av vanvettig politik på mängder av områden, påskyndat av euroinförandet som gav landet billiga krediter. Man kan läsa mer här.

Annat var det under antiken. Då blomstrade den grekiska världen, ekonomiskt och kulturellt. Under den s.k. klassiska tiden och även i betydande utsträckning under den senare s.k. hellenistiska tiden, rådde en för den förmoderna historien exceptionell ekonomisk tillväxt med åtföljande kulturell utveckling. Politiskt rådde institutionell konkurrens med i stort sett självständiga stadsstater, ofta med demokratiska inslag, vilket i ekonomin gynnade handel, konkurrens och innovationer.

Historikern Josiah Ober beskriver detta i denna artikel.

”Greek economic growth was driven by a set of political institutions and a civic culture that are historically rare. (Indeed, at the time of their emergence in Hellas, those institutions and that culture were probably unique.) The political institutions found in many citizen-centered Greek states — but especially in democratic states and most especially in democratic Athens — put specialization and innovation on overdrive, by encouraging individuals to take more rational risks and develop more distinctive skills. People willingly invested in their own education and took the risks of entrepreneurship because they knew that they had legal recourse if and when a powerful individual or corrupt official tried to steal their profits.”(…)

”Citizens collectively held the authority to make new institutional rules, and as a result, they were more likely to trust the rules under which they lived to be basically fair. Judgments, by citizens who were empowered (by vote or lottery) to settle disputes and to distribute public goods, were made on the basis of established and impartial rules, rather than on the basis of patronage or personal favoritism. With these guarantees in place and successful innovation well rewarded, individuals had strong incentives to invest in their own special talents, to defer short-term payoffs and to accept a certain level of risk in anticipation of long-term rewards. The end result was a historically unusual level of sustained economic growth and an equally unusual rate of sustained cultural productivity and innovation.”

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