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Patriotism Vs. Pragmatism

Patriotism Vs. Pragmatism

Being patriotic can help you feel more attached to your community or country, but being blindly patriotic can be detrimental, especially when your patriotism is taken advantage of by propaganda and attempts at coercive control.

When it comes to your personal finances, patriotism can lead to financial ruin.

It pays to be a little more practical.

Patriotism is taken advantage of by governments and their propaganda peddlers.

In the past 100 years, taking a patriotic approach to managing your finances did not help the following people:

  • Germans in 1921 to 1924, who went through a period of hyperinflation. You may as well add at least the next few decades.
  • Russians since 1917 and pretty much through to 2017, give or take a few periods of calm and growth, unless you happen to be the odd oligarch.
  • Argentines in 1975 through to 1991, and 1998 to 2002.
  • Japanese in 1991.
  • Mexicans in 1994.
  • A whole host of countries in 2008.
  • Venezuelans in 2012 (and still ongoing).

This is just a small example of the numerous financial, political, economic, and banking crises that have occurred.

All those people would not have been helped by being patriotic towards their country. Far from it. They were impoverished by political, economic and financial folly at the national level.

Patriotic propaganda during those times would have pushed you into doing the bidding of your respective governments, and you would have been rewarded with poverty.

In all the scenarios outlined above, if those individuals, families or businesses managed their finances with a global perspective in a pragmatic manner, then they may well have allocated say 50% of their wealth outside their arbitrary national border. If they had done so, they would have only gone 50% bankrupt, and in extreme cases, some may even have been able to escape with their life.

Many of the scenarios outlined are acknowledged as extreme events, but they happen with such regularity that it may be inaccurate to think of them as extreme; they are simply a reflection of the real world and all that can and does go wrong.

The only logical conclusion to draw from this is that you should expect national failure or disruption during your lifetime (no matter the cause), and think about your finances pragmatically. Don’t allow propaganda peddling patriotism to fool you into making poor choices for your finances, your person and your family’s general well-being.

Who exactly should come first? Your own individual well-being and personal liberty, or the needs of a nation, made up of large numbers of people you will never even meet. When you realise that ‘putting the nation’s interest first’ often only means putting the needs of certain special interest groups or organisations before your own, then you may not be so quick to be patriotic.

Money essentially has no emotion and the proper management of it should only be undertaken with reason and logic; using it as a means to obtain the things you need and want in life.

The nation, your country, and your ‘patriotic duty’ should always come second to the needs of your own personal and family’s wellbeing.

When it comes to your hard-earned money; don’t let anyone ever fool you into thinking otherwise.

About The Author

Mark Underdown

Financial Planning Consultant As the founder of Wealth Beyond Borders, I help Brits expatriate to their new home country and manage their personal finances with a global mindset. Other projects include UK focused educational financial planning websites and, and a research and reporting website


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