Odysseus removing his men from the company of the lotus-eaters

Odysseus removing his men from the company of the lotus-eaters

Don Coxe’s 20th anniversary issue and final installment of Basic Points, entitled, “The Final Problem”, was a spectacular read as always. Don views world markets with an understanding and appreciation of a tenured historian, and views trends from a multi-decade and century-long perspective.

With that said, he articulated very well, a parallel between today’s TV & couch generation of Americans, and the “Lotus-eaters” described in Homer’s seminal work, “The Odyssey”.

As written by Mr. Coxe:

“As the years pass, and the heroin and handouts keep flowing, we increasingly worry about the longer-term harm to the US economy from zero interest rates, the extensions of the duration of unemployment benefits, and the dramatic increases in the numbers of recipients of food stamps and disability benefits. Could the cumulative effect of all that well-intended government assistance mean that too much of the population might be morphing into a new version of the lethargic Lotus-eaters Homer describes in The Odyssey?

Odysseus’ ship was blown off course and landed on an island (supposedly near present-day Libya) where the residents, who dined on the lotus flowers, were peaceful, happy and sleepy. They willingly shared the flowers with crew members:

‘Any crewman who ate the lotus, the honey-sweet fruit, lost all desire to send a message back, much less return, their only wish to linger there with the Lotus-eaters, grazing on lotus, all memory of the journey home dissolved forever. But I brought them back. I forced them, hauled them under the rowing benches, lashed them fast.’

This account of Odysseus’s alarm at the effects on his battle-hardened crew from the opiate in the flowers, and his forcible roundup made us wonder whether years of government support and poverty programs at a time that manufacturing and heavy labor jobs have been disappearing might have a similar effect on millions of Americans—and on the seemingly dwindling élan vital of the American economy.”

To learn more about Don Coxe, visit: CoxeAdvisors.com