The global pandemic of coronavirus has turned the established family and state budgets upside down. When faced with the dilemma of whether to save human lives or the economy, most governments, including the Greek government, have decided that it is saving human lives that should take precedence. However the recently-implemented safety measures affect the economy in a very negative way. In order to effectively protect the economy as much as possible, the citizens need to accept the necessity of these safety measures and adjust to the new financial reality. Of course, the state will need to provide fair and well thought-out aid packages to struggling families and businesses.This is the only way to deal with the financial imbalance which was suddenly and for an undetermined length of time caused by the coronavirus spread.
The need for frugal living at times of financial difficulty has been a familiar situation for our forefathers, most recently for those who lived in the middle of the 20th century. Ten years of war (WW2 and civil war) had caused widespread damage and completely dismantled the Greek economy. Then, as now, the need for rebuilding the economy was widely understood. Society at large accepted the fact that the basis for improving the economy was frugal living on the part of all citizens. We will mention the answer of Nicolaos Plastiras (thrice Prime Minister during the difficult years between 1945 and 1952) when he was asked if he wanted a telephone line installed in his residence: “how can I accept such a luxury, when Greek citizens do not even have the basics for survival?” Frugal living paid off, as seen by the economic indicators of the 1950’s and 1960’s when Greek economic growth was among the highest in Europe. Younger generations know about the economic sacrifices of that period, having heard their forefathers’ conversations or having read books on this subject. What young people need to do now is to apply this knowledge to today’s circumstances. They need to understand that the way out of the closing and financial ruin of businesses and the state economy in general, caused by the spread of the coronavirus, is that they have to adopt a strict and frugal lifestyle. The difference between then (the years of WW2 and the civil war that followed) and now is that then frugal living was imposed after the loss of many lives, while now it is imposed by the policies that are helping save many human lives.
At the present time, as we are practising voluntary isolation at home, it would be an excellent idea to reflect on our lives up to now and also on the future long-term plans for ourselves and our families. Now, as we are confined at home and practise social distancing, we have all the time we need for systematic and objective reflection, so that we reach valid conclusions. We hope that most readers agree with the two paragraphs above and share our views. We need to act as a homogeneous and cohesive society, and walk ahead united towards the “period of frugal living”, which no one knows how long it will last.
In Mani, the stony soil, the limited natural resources and the climatic conditions have forced its inhabitants into permanent frugal living for many centuries. Frugal living, stony terrain and the specific geographic location of Mani have all helped to keep our ancestors always ready for combat, so that they could immediately fend off external dangers. It is a fact that our forefathers have long been used to frugal living. Sociobiology tells us that century-long customs and adaptations can influence the genetic DNA of families who have lived in a specific area for many generations. We hope that these influences, which usually resurface during critical times, will prevail again during the critical period that we are facing now due to the coronavirus pandemic. We know that unanimity can greatly help us to deal with the unprecendented new conditions that we are faced with.