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Character, knowledge and skills in ancient Greek education: Lessons for today’s policy makers

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  • Bitros, George C.
  • Karayiannis, Anastasios D.

Abstract

The efforts to alleviate poverty by increasing social budgets have failed everywhere in the world and now the question is what else can be done to support those that are left behind. In this paper we search for illumination in the approaches to education that Athens and Sparta adopted in the peak of their power. Our findings indicate that both city-states confronted their challenges successfully because they managed to mold into the character of their citizens “ethos” compatible with the integrity of their institutions. On this ground, and given that “knowledge” and “skills” as engines of economic growth are in the interest of the individuals to accumulate, we conclude that an alternative policy to check the trend towards extreme individualism is to place priority on the character of citizens and pursue it through appropriate restructuring of educational curricula in the direction suggested by ancient Athens.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 18012.

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Date of creation: 20 Oct 2009
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:18012

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Keywords: ancient Greece; education; economic performance; morality;

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  1. Bitros, George C. & Karayiannis, Anastassios D., 2008. "Values and institutions as determinants of entrepreneurship in ancient Athens," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(02), pages 205-230, August.
  2. Pranab Bardhan, 1997. "Corruption and Development: A Review of Issues," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 35(3), pages 1320-1346, September.
  3. Fleck, Robert K & Hanssen, F Andrew, 2006. "The Origins of Democracy: A Model with Application to Ancient Greece," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(1), pages 115-46, April.
  4. Jacob Mincer, 1958. "Investment in Human Capital and Personal Income Distribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 281.
  5. Mauro, Paolo, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712, August.
  6. George C. Bitros & Anastassios D. Karayiannis, 2004. "The liberating power of entrepreneurship in ancient Athens," Method and Hist of Econ Thought, EconWPA 0411004, EconWPA.
  7. Bitros, George C. & Karayiannis, Anastassios D., 2010. "Morality, institutions and the wealth of nations: Some lessons from ancient Greece," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 68-81, March.
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