Greek police have fired teargas at protesters outside parliament as MPs prepared to debate new austerity measures required for the EU and IMF bail-out package.Demonstrators who broke off from a strike rally in Athens responded by throwing yoghurt and stones.
Yoghurt? That stuff is expensive. The protesters are so used to being fed for free that they consider yoghurt something to throw at the cops. Plenty more where that came from, they assume.
An ancient Talmudic tale speaks of a sage who entered a town and saw two teenagers having a food fight, throwing bread at each other. He predicted economic disaster for the town, which happened very shortly.
Though the Talmud meant that there are spiritual forces at work in that story, the story also contains a keen economic insight.
Prosperity comes when we have more than we used to. This comes about by saving our money, called under consumption. We use the money to make tools which can increase out productive capacity. We eat less now to eat more later.
The kids in that story were doing the exact opposite. They were not saving their money to invest it so that they could get richer. On the contrary, they were spending it on something they were just going to waste, bread for food fights. If the whole town was like that, [which seems to be the case for the kids were having that food fight openly in the streets unashamed], that town was going to be very poor very fast. And that's exactly what happened.
The yoghurt throwing Greeks are displaying their economic understanding, or rather, lack of understanding. Their thinking seems to be this:
Yoghurt comes from money, which comes from the govt, who borrows it from who cares where. We do not have to work for the yoghurt; it is as cheap and as plentiful as manna from heaven. And if the govt is going to stop giving us money [through no fault of our own], we will show them what's what.
You can't make this stuff up.