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Disrespect for Property at Heart of Global Debt Crisis

In the aftermath of Greek voters’ overwhelming rejection of a deal with the European Central Bank, many options are being discussed to prevent the much discussed Grexit.

Demonstrating that nothing is absolute in politics, especially when money is concerned, approximately a month will transpire before the actual repercussions of the vote are known, as European leaders must meet and discuss what they will do.

Lost in the global politicking is any sense of respect for private property, which money embodies.

Currency is a material expression of ownership. By standardizing worth, money helps protect private property. It engenders respect for personal liberty. For, if one person owns something, their own rights are more likely to inspire considerate treatment for others.

But the prevailing societal attitudes, both by private citizens, bankers and politicians, has ignored the philosophy at the root of currency valuation.

The possibility that Greece may institute a “haircut”- a government seizure of a percentage of deposits over a certain amount- in order to finance a new currency shows a blatant disregard for money. Greek’s collective tantrum over austerity measures shows they also do not value the currency they borrowed. And the banking officials whose easy money policies have contributed to the debt crisis sweeping the world certainly also lack this basic respect.

But this attitude also transcends the eurozone. The United States has engaged in reckless control of its markets through virtually limitless quantitative easing and by forcing irresponsible lending practices upon banks. As a result, prices have necessarily skyrocketed.

And this means people’s purchasing power shrinks. Exponentially increasing government expenditures are accompanied by endless taxation, which draws down the amount of resources individuals can use for their own needs. Their purchasing power—and unlimited ability to pursue business or creative enterprises—is directly impeded in proportion to the percentage of assets appropriated.

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This is an exponential cycle, for the more taxes government takes, the more programs it creates and the more revenue it needs from its citizens and from foreign banking powers.

The only end to this is a reaffirmation of money’s root. Too often it is seen as either a bogeyman for the duplicitous oligarchs of finance and politics, or merely as a means to an end, which can be manipulated without regard to consequence.

But, money is neither good nor evil. It is a tool by which property can be traded. It is the material expression of property. And, as such, it is the fountainhead of personal liberty.

It must be safeguarded, like any other liberty, against public and private institutions that would seek to appropriate it for their own power.

Greece is the inevitable end result of complacency in the face of such machinations. The scrambling to prevent the collapse is as much self-interest as empathy. The consequence-free easy money policies all Western nations engage in stand threatened by a Grexit. This means the livelihoods of more than the Greek people are at stake.

Whether the people of America will see the writing on the wall before the United States’ creditors come knocking remains to be seen.


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About Katherine Revello

A recent graduate of the University of Maine, where she majored in journalism and political science, Katherine Revello is an aspiring political commentator. Her focuses include theory, the philosophy of money and populism. Currently, she is a graduate student at Villanova University. She is the founder of The Politics of Discretion, a blog dedicated to advancing her philosophy of discretionism. Follow her on Twitter: @MrsWynandPapers


  1. There’s not a single word in this article that I can disagree with. As a matter of fact, it points out some things I hadn’t thought of….I’d like to share an additional thought for consideration. The Greeks that voted NO, may be like many Americans that feel that year after year their government as it stands has deserted them. That the EU is like the Big Brother ever watching and controlling their every move and they have a huge need to be able to have the power to direct their own moves as a sovereign nation……..Now, most haven’t gotten past the emotion and passion to consider the consequences and plan ahead….Are we not beginning to feel the ‘socialist fingerprints’ in our own country?

    Just a thought…..Katherine, how did you get so smart

    • Katherine Revello

      Thanks Jan!

      That’s also a good point. Greeks voted for Tsipras and against austerity, but you have to wonder about dissenters, like conservatives here, who didn’t vote for those policies and now have their whole lives threatened by the recklessness.

      • We have more denominations of ‘conservatives’ than churches. It seems, sadly, many aren’t short of ego and sincerely believe their candidate is the only candidate. Nor do many understand that compromise or negotiate does not mean ‘caving in.’ and refuse to vote thinking it makes a statement. And it does!!! (To me) it’s loud and clear that they are selfish and put themselves ahead of the entire Country. I find this rationale totally beyond my understanding and just hope and pray that this round, they will wake up and discover this is not Burger King and they can’t always have it their way. If not..???