In short supply

The Greeks have decided to stay in the Eurozone and have agreed to continuing negotiations with their creditors to remain fiscally afloat. In elections last week, voters on the historic and blue-watered nation elected, albeit by a narrow margin, political figures who have asserted, albeit in the most tentative of ways, that they are committed to keeping Greece on the path to greater financial responsibility and reducing spending. Good news. The world’s economy has become so intertwined that the failure of one errant nation affects all the rest. Whether these newest office-holders are more successful at keeping spending in line with revenue remains to be seen. But for now, Europe, along with the U.S. markets, is resting a little easier.

Would it be particularly pessimistic to believe that the Greeks politicians, like those domiciled here on our own shores, are unlikely to persevere? A recent City-County Council move by our neighbors to the south makes the point. Arguing that an array of city-funded benefits should be expanded to a new group of employees, no discussion addressed the reality that sharing a pie with more folks means that one needs a bigger pie or will have to serve smaller pieces to each. While we can, and perhaps should, discuss who should have pie – and we can, and perhaps should, determine how much pie each should get – it is patently irresponsible to offer pie to more without in some form acknowledging that there are consequences.

The Greeks, like our own humble state, must conform to the basic laws of arithmetic. If we all work less, there is less excess to share. If we all consume more, there is less excess to share.  Innovation, creativity and risk can build a bigger pie – but don’t we still have to conform to the rules of supply?