The Greek historian Herodotus, writing around 430 BCE, claimed that Greeks were exposed to more changeable weather conditions (than Asians) and were consequently more spirited, flexible and democratic. The cultural legacy of these freedom-loving ancient Greeks, argue some, is preserved today in the individualism and democracy of contemporary Europe and its offshoots in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US (Meier, 2009). While Socrates argued that democracy would pool ignorance, Plato believed that reasoned debate among philosopher-kings (not the masses) would lead to a better society. However, since democracy then disappeared from Europe for two thousand years until its revival inspired by the American and French revolutions, ‘it takes a heroically selective reading of history to see a continuous spirit of democratic freedom stretching from classical Greece to the Founding Fathers’ (Morriss, 2010:260). Measuring culture is difficult, as is examining the nature of cause and effect. Economists, nevertheless, need to measure things and give them numbers to see how they relate to economic things such as economic growth.
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