The Ancient Greek civilization had many extensive concepts that changed human development, specifically in their approach towards economic sustainability. The Greeks maintained growth in their markets by emphasizing skilled trade rather than resource extraction. The independent resource economy was able to strive and have a significant impact on international trade through the development of direct taxation, currency use, and tertiary goods trade. The impact of the Ancient Greeks greatly affected the study and use of government-mandated trade during its time.
The introduction of progressive direct taxation and property tax was instrumental in the development of the Ancient Greek economy and growth of their public infrastructure. The Ancient Greek economy was able to develop infrastructure and governmental programs with progressive tax rates at an accelerated pace. In specific reference, during the rise of the Delian League in 447 BCE, Athens grew prosperous by also integrating a tax on the middle and upper class which funded the construction of the Acropolis. With land transfer ad valorem charges and specific tax on property, the Ancient Greeks greatly improved living conditions with the development of municipal services such as aqueducts and drainage systems. The drainage systems were paid from public tax treasury collected by monarchs in palaces such as Knossos. The progressive tax made a positive externality of production which allowed the government to create sustainable long-term storage of merit goods, such as wheat, that was in constant high demand due to fast-paced human development. The introduction of the factors of taxation increased ancient Greek treasury and economic power in ways that largely influenced monetary studies during its time and beyond.
The invention of currency and government minted coins was vital in contributions towards the economic growth of Ancient Greece. The introduction of the Greek Drachma nationalized the hundreds of city-states across Greece allowing trade fluidity and greater internal resource allocation. Coin circulation in the city-states of Greece allowed for more structured and open market trading due to the universal standard of the Drachma. The overall dissemination of coinage, which prevailed at the utmost height of the ancient Greek economy, was through the regulated use of government minted currency. The minted coin market in and of itself had a long-term effect of appreciation towards the Greek economy due to other cultures using the minting services developed by the Greeks to introduce their own currencies. The development of currency use imposed by the Greeks on international markets also stimulated greater importation and trade opportunities with foreign markets such as Egypt and Syria. This development was seen through the growth of Piraeus in Athens becoming the largest trading port in the world. The creation and use of coins allowed fluid economic transaction and can further enforce the impact that ancient Greek economy has on current society as currency is internationally used as a liquid form of asset.
Tertiary goods trade and secondary skilled resource development were specifically important towards the trade and importation growth of the Ancient Greek economy. As the Greek population grew and the human development index increased, the extractable raw resources and agricultural market reached their limits and the government chose to specify in secondary manufacturing. These fine goods were made with a great adeptness that was produced exclusively by ancient Greek culture and therefore made the quantity of their exported goods desired by other cultures. Due to the shortage of raw resources, the importation of agricultural goods increased at significant rates because the government began to stockpile these supplies so they would no longer become dependent on foreign markets. This greatly influenced foreign affairs because Greece was no longer contingent on secular agricultural markets. Although Ancient Greece no longer had the necessity of agricultural importation, they had an extreme demand for raw resources such as iron and copper. Due to the skyrocket in importation amounts, the government had to counteract this deficit through increasing quality and value of manufactured, exported goods. They implemented this through educating civil skills to the youth of city-states such as Athens. As the general population soon adopted skilled trade producing jobs, the level of importation and exportation began to equate. The fiscal theories of mandated trade and tertiary centered trade can be historically distinguished in Ancient Greek macroeconomic markets, proving the historical value the ancient Greeks pose to commerce analysis.
Economic sustainability in historically ancient commerce has had extensive influences from the Ancient Greek concepts of importation and export-centered markets. The Ancient Greeks used specific tools such as direct tax, currency, and skilled trade to build their economy in great ways that have left lasting impacts on ancient history in the field of trade mandated economies.
Through the study of Ancient Greek economic concepts, society has changed to create a more generous and ubiquitously beneficial civilization with programs such as universal healthcare, progressive mortgages, and homeless shelters. Despite being monumental in its time, the current Greek economy has suffered great turmoil through bankruptcy and severe debt. This can be interpreted as being held accountable to the Ancient Greek basis and unchanging market theory and importation policies. This ultimately begs the question if these solutions and economic theories can be considered significant to future generations in situations of failed markets such as the Greek Debt Crisis.
By: Trent Rechan
Amemiya, Takeshi. Economy and Economics of Ancient Greece
Cartwright, Mark. Ancient History Encyclopedia
Frank, Robert. “How to Tax the Rich: A Lesson From Ancient Greece.” The Wall Street Journal.