Sunday, June 10, 2012

Hope and Long term prosperity in Greece

You think I like to be bull-headed coming up with such headlines, I know. But, actually, there is cause for hope because young Greeks - in significant numbers - are returning to the countryside to take up sustainable living and agriculture in ways their grandparents practiced. Says so here in this Reuters story. In the long term, with shifts like this one, there is a much greater chance for Greek culture and the Greek economy to prosper, where prosperity is defined in real terms - prosperity being ultimately rooted in ancient practices and closer to a social and environmental homeostasis. No more exponential growth in Athens, where pollution is among Europe's worst.

But in the short term: going home to the village has to look like misery. This shift back to the country is compelled rather than compelling. But economic emergencies such as Greece's are like other crises: black clouds with silver linings. Moving home is humiliating and impoverished in the short term, but potentially beneficial in the long term. And Greece, like the rest of Europe, desperately needs some long term thinking.

Especially in agriculture and crafts, small economic players working together in bartering and small-scale economic trading relationships is the kind of economic ecosystem that is a much more stable basis for a country's genuine long-term prosperity. This thinking is not mine, but emanates from a number of people who populate the traditional green end of the political spectrum (as opposed to top-down statist green politics), and most recently by a reading of this excellent book by Roger Scruton, about which I am writing a review. More on that review later...

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