We all know the fable about the ant and the grasshopper. While it is useful to characterize individuals, it may also be useful to compare different countries or cultures. I was reminded of that when reading an article about the response by Latvia and Greece to similar austerity measures. While the Greeks responded with protests, screams and procrastination, the Latvians accepted the austerity measures, suffered in silence, saved their money and planned ahead. In the end, things seem to have worked better for the Latvians than for the Greeks, at least for now.

I am of Southern European origin and, to be honest, I prefer the lifestyle of Southern Europe, but I can understand that it has its drawbacks. In the end, what the article seems to show is that the Euro was a bad idea, since it was treating different cultures and economies exactly the same way. People respond differently to incentives, that is all, and the economy doesn’t exist in a vacuum, but it varies with each culture. Will the Euro bureaucrats learn the lesson? Probably not.

It would be interesting to further explore this theme, but since I am a lazy grasshopper myself, living in an eternal summer, I will leave it to some ant that wants to continue the study. Good luck.

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