How much can be learned from the past? Quite a lot, according to financial expert and experienced money manager Dawn J Bennett, host of the “Financial Myth Busting with Dawn J Bennett” radio talk show. In Greece’s current climate of turmoil, which threatens to send economic shockwaves throughout Europe and the world should it succumb to economic failure, Bennett sees lessons of the past as highly applicable to the Greece of today.
How can Greece, with its closed banks and impending July 30th payment to the International Monetary Fund, take a few pages from history as it attempts to move forward?
- Wisdom from the Oracle of Delphi
While the story of the Oracle of Delphi features some interesting “words of wisdom” from priestesses like Pythia, there are two truly important messages to take from the story: “know thyself” and “nothing in excess.” As Greece navigates the difficult waters of the terms of its latest bailout agreement, which include even more tax and pension reforms—both its creditors and itself should keep these dictums in mind and refrain from actions that are either extreme or a poor fit for the struggling nation.
- Homer’s Odyssey
The story of Homer’s journey following the fall of Troy exemplifies the power of persistence and determination. When Homer returned home to find his house occupied by 108 suitors vying for the hand of his wife, he didn’t back down; rather, he fought and was successful. Bennett sees Homer’s resilience in spite of unlikely odds a beneficial attitude for the present-day Greek government and citizens. Numerous signs—including a skyrocketing suicide rate and greater dependence on welfare—suggest that some Greeks are simply giving up. If Greece hopes to bounce back from its depths of despair, it will need a healthy spirit of determination to do so.
- The Questions of Socrates
Socrates was a man known not only for his wisdom, but his questions. He cross-examined practically everyone he met as a way to learn more about the world around him and heighten his wisdom. The lesson here is that asking questions of others can lead to greater knowledge and insight, and is essential when attempting to understand complex problems. It’s unlikely that anyone will have all of the answers; but the answers they do have can shed valuable light upon a situation. Greeks must remember this aversion to “accepted wisdom” and refrain from taking statements from governments and central banks as gospel without asking questions of their own.
- The Teachings of Heraclitus
One of Heraclitus’ most well-known teachings includes the dictum, “You can’t step in the same river twice,” which refers to the belief that the universe is in a constant state of change. Bennett believes that Greece should take a revised perspective of this teaching in the upcoming weeks as the Greek market experiences intense fluctuations; change may coming, but solid ground—whatever it is that can be an economic back up or constant (like gold)—is key.
Will Greece pay mind to these important lessons in the coming months? Though Greece reached an agreement with Eurozone creditors to continue bailouts after a marathon summit on July 12, it still faces a slew of economic hurdles. Legislation must be passed immediately to reform the nation’s tax and pension systems, as well as liberalize the labor market, and Greece must learn to adjust in the aftermath. The lessons of its ancient history couldn’t be more pertinent.
Bennett Group Financial Services LLC, based in Washington, D.C., is a comprehensive financial services firm committed to providing opportunities to clients’ as they seek long-term financial success. Its customized programs are designed with the potential to help grow, lower overall risk and conserve client assets by delivering a high level of personalized service and skill.
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About Dawn Bennett
Dawn Bennett is CEO and Founder of Bennett Group Financial Services. She hosts a national radio program called Financial Myth Busting http://www.financialmythbusting.com
She discusses educational topics and events in the financial news, along with her thoughts on the economy, financial markets, investments, and more with her live guests, who have included rock legend Ted Nugent, as well as Steve Forbes and Grover Norquist. Listeners can call 855-884-DAWN a as well as take podcasts on the road and forums for interaction.
She can be reached on Twitter @DawnBennettFMB or on Facebook Financial Myth Busting with Dawn Bennett email@example.com