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Greek Guide to Greatness – Episode 9: Economy

It might come as a surprise that the world’s first capitalist was a poet. In the 8th Century BC, Hesiod highlighted two kinds of strife: one that drives people to war and cruelty, and another that inspires people to compete and work for a better life. This good kind of strife drives the U.S. economy, too. When people compete fairly, they create better products, do better work, come up with better ideas. Whether in their proto-market economy, in their athletic contests like the ancient Olympics, or in their intellectual sparring matches, the virtues of good competition were on full display for everyone to see in ancient Greece. Perhaps they realized reminders of the good strife, and what it is, are important… especially, when the dark side of capitalism can lead to inequality.


The National Hellenic Society is an association of visionary Greek American leaders dedicated to celebrating, preserving, and promoting Greece’ s rich heritage with an emphasis on the next generation. The organization’s innovative programs are designed to engage, and inspire its members, families, and communities.

National Geographic and the National Hellenic Society have produced a companion digital series, The Greek Guide to Greatness, that’s available on the PBS and National Geographic websites in addition to below.


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