If Modern Greece Followed Aristotle, Would They Be in Dire Financial Straits?

After shutting their doors for three weeks, Greek banks reopened on Monday, but have done so in a very limited capacity amid expectations that Greece’s economy remains headed toward a deep recession.

It’s pretty much a situation where the country’s banking system persists in a somewhat state of near paralysis.

But to please its debtors, the far left government in Athens have put in place some austerity measures, such as the raising of sales tax on some goods and services. Questions remain how the Greek government will further manage their massive repayment obligations and whether they can really remain in the euro.

At present, they only want to get further into debt in order to pay off other debt.

For an update on the economic situation in Greece, see below:

Sadly, it’s been a long time since Greece was once the pinnacle of Western civilization, which is pretty much the crux of the very top featured video produced by Newsy.

While the Newsy video is a bit insensitive to the plight of modern Greece, it does offer some insights into one of the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle’s most famous works—Nicomachean Ethics.

As explained in the video, Nicomachean Ethics is about how to create happiness or well-being through deliberately living a virtuous life.


Aristotle as painted in a fresco by Raphael. (Image: Wikipedia)

Aristotle’s first virtue as described in this work is temperance (sobriety, self-restraint), which is what Greece—if not the whole debt-laden globe—needs plenty of now.

Nicomachean Ethics also covers generosity, which is explained as the equilibrium between giving too much and not giving enough. Aristotle also talks about munificence, that being the appropriate spending of money. The Newsy team points out that if the Greek government did as Aristotle advised, you wouldn’t see things like pastry chefs being able to retire by age 50, which has actually happened.

In his work, Aristotle also wrote about the benefits of having a good temper.

He also wrote about justice, that being the ability to appreciate what is fair and what you deserve. This he believes is the virtue that unites all other virtues.

There is much more to Nicomachean Ethics (there are 11 virtues), and it’s worth reading in full. It would be awesome if it was required reading for all politicians.

For more on Aristotle and his philosophy, see below:

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