Greek elections – a lesson for us all

Alexander Hamilton duels with Aaron Burr

We’re getting early election returns from Greece via NZZ – Neue Zurcher Zeitung. They say that Nachwahlbefragungen (after-vote -questionings) which they translate as “Exit Polls,” show a 30-30 split between the not-Left party and the Left-party.

We’re not familiar with the situation on the ground in Greece, but our first impression from this tally tells us that there, as elsewhere, the battle is between receivers, that is,  dependents on government payments, and givers, taxpayers, such as they are.

That wasn’t the case in the Hamilton-Burr duel, which was preceded by a complex, nearly-forgotten debate over financing government debts. The cause of the duel is often described as a personality conflict, but closer examination reveals another debate between receivers and payers.

From TwistedSifter, a history blog, we learn that Hamilton devised “the funding of the state debts by the Federal government, the establishment of a national bank, a system of tariffs, and friendly trade relations with Britain.” That wasn’t the proximate cause of the duel, however.

When Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr tied in the electoral college, Hamilton helped defeat his bitter personal enemy Burr and elect Jefferson as president. In 1804, as the next presidential election approached, Hamilton again opposed the candidacy of Burr. Taking offense at some of Hamilton’s comments, Burr challenged him to a duel and mortally wounded Hamilton, who died within days.

Still can’t figure it out? The holders of the “state debts” mentioned above were Hamilton’s friends and political allies. We don’t know where Burr fits into the picture, but people do become “mortal enemies” when they can’t find common ground.

In the Netherlands several decades ago, a similar situation of equal numbers of givers and receivers arose.  Half of the population was on some kind of dole – free child care, pensions, welfare, etc.

We didn’t hear about any killings relating to this, but wouldn’t be surprised if there had been some.  Membership in the European Union probably forced  the Dutch government to solve the problem somehow. It could have been as simple as deporting all of the non-citizens on the dole, but we don’t know.

When the scales tip toward the receivers, the country implodes. It’s as simple as that. The U.S. is getting dangerously close to that right now. Let’s hope duels or riots don’t break out.

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About InvestingforOne

I've been investing in various assets by myself using a discount broker for many years. Over that time, I've developed some theories that others might find useful. Plus, there is more to investing than money. Time, talent, work, friends, family all go into developing a good and satisfactory strategy.
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One Response to Greek elections – a lesson for us all

  1. savernation says:

    Looks like the Pro EZ New Democracy Party will be leading trying to crate a coalition to support Greece staying in the EZ. This will require either tough cuts which won’t happen or more bailouts which are more likely. It is too bad the EZ won’t seriously sit down and formulate a solid plan to allow for Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy to eventually exit the EZ and return to their own currency. The EZ makes some sense politically but not a great deal when trying to meld disparate economies without any control over the domestic agendas.
    Hear the sound of the can being kicked down the road yet again?

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