Lessons from Greece
09 November, 2012
Dr. Gono, governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe said in 2008:
"We have been humbled and have taken heart in the realization that some leading Central Banks, including those in the USA and the UK, are now not just talking of, but also actually implementing flexible and pragmatic central bank support programmes where these are deemed necessary in their National interests. That is precisely the path that we began over 4 years ago..."
And what happened to Zimbabwe we all know. That is not to say we can expect dramatic hyperinflation but more likely a steady decline in standards of living. To look at what the future holds for us we only have to look at Greece. It will be useful to study then, what solutions impoverished Greeks have developed to deal with necessities of everyday live such as food, shelter and so on.
Alternative local currencies have sprung up all over Greece. So called 'social currencies' are basically a system of computerized barter where a server and a virtual currency is used to assist exchange and keep track of transactions and balances. While it is unsuitable as a means of exchange for more complicated products or services, it does provide many impoverished Greeks with a means of obtaining groceries and making a living.
Many websites have been created that attempt to reduce the number of links between consumers and producers. Although it might take a little more time to buy directly from a farmer instead of the supermarket, it certainly makes a difference on a tight budget.
Another way to save costs is to cook together in so-called 'unemployed kitchens'. Which is also much more fun when you can't afford cable TV anyway.
Interesting of note in this context is the Bitcoin system on which we wrote earlier. While not yet widely in use in Greece, it is gaining popularity worldwide at a steady pace. So much so that the European Central Bank considers it enough of a threat to undertake a study (PDF).
Overall the crisis has many positive aspects too: it brings families, friend and neighbours together, many people discover they can live happy lives with much less and it stimulates creativity and self-reliance.
« Go Back to Blogs