Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Property Rights and Democratic Values in pre-Classical Greece

Economou, Emmanouil Marios Lazaros and Kyriazis, Nicholas (2014): Property Rights and Democratic Values in pre-Classical Greece.

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Abstract

In the present essay we introduce the concept of macroculture as a complex of mutually supporting values, norms and beliefs in various areas of human activity, like religion, war, politics, sports etc. in a model. Then, we analyse how some macrocultures that are favorable or the “precondition” for the emergence of democracy and institutions develop, in particular property rights that foster economic development. We analyze this for an extended period that covers Later Bronze Age to Archaic Greece (approximately 1250-510 BC), as being the historical case where such a macroculture favorable to democracy and stable property rights first emerged. We argue that the nature of the Greek polytheist religion (12 gods) depicts a proto-democratic side of the ancient Greek society. We then provide a comparison of the Greek case, in relation to the other, mainly oriental societies, as far as the level of participation in decision making procedures of these societies is concerned. Our main findings indicate that during the last period of the Mycenaean world, as well as during the Geometric and Archaic age periods, the emergence of various elements of macroculture, in religion, warfare, sports and city-state environment evolved into similar proto-democratic values, leading thus to the establishment of democracy as a political phenomenon in Classical Greece, with Athens being the most well-known historical case.

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