Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A Call to Arms, 2017. Part Two: The Economy is Very Local

I have a neighbor who baffles me in just about every way. This neighbor taxes my imagination and my patience. This neighbor is the exact reason why I am so critical of just about every one of my countrymen. Before I go further, please know that I am not judgmental, to each his own. Also, let it be known that we need all types of people to make up the fabric of life. Last, please know that if everyone lived the way I do, modern civilization would not exist.

When I think about economy I think of one of three things. The first is Adam Smith and the classical economic debate. In a nutshell, Smith tells us that economics is the continuum of unlimited human desires overlaid on limited resources. Again, this a paraphrase, and I think it's true. The second thing I think about is the ninth point of the Boy Scout Law, A Scout is Thrifty. The tenth edition of the Boy Scout Handbook says this about it: A scout works to pay his way and to help others.
He saves for the future. He protects and conserves natural resources. He carefully uses time and property. 
I know that not everyone has had the benefit of Adam Smith and The Wealth of Nations. I know that not everyone has been a Boy Scout.

Sadly, I know that not everyone has read Henry David Thoreau's Walden. Walden is the third point of my thoughts on Economy. Thoreau did not pay his taxes because he did not believe in the Fugitive Salve Act nor did he believe in the war with Mexico. What if I don't believe in building walls or banning people from predominately Muslim countries, should I forgo paying taxes? Political leanings aside, Thoreau wanted more time to spend in nature, which was the basic fundamental belief with Transcendentalism. Thoreau outlines how he spent his money and his time in the chapter “Economy” which I think is well worth the read.

For me, I see my neighbor who has the fancy latest and greatest smartphone, the most gaudy mani-pedi, two automobiles and so many processions that she can scarcely close her front door. Her electricity is occasionally shut off because she is unable to pay the bill. It's my misfortune to see so many other people who have so much stuff, so many services and yet are so poor both financially and intellectually. After all, before the television came to take it all away, people spent their time reading, learning disciplines like music or art. Now, we just have to have the next great thing and more and more of it.

It makes me realize that that stupid old statement “time is money” is completely erroneous. There are those characters who at the end of their life will do anything, at any cost, to prolong life one more day. It is not a question of how to prolong one more day but how to prolong everyday from the onset of consciousness to the end of it. Time is not money nearly as much as money is time.

So, if money is time, then the pursuit of money (or material things) is the primary economic focus, then the opportunity cost is time. How do you want to spend your time? Me? I want to write. I want to think. I want the day, everyday. I want to be with my notebook, the air around me and the views inside.

Economy, to me, is the freedom to pursue writing, creation and art without the tethers and confines of financial burden. I may not have much in the way of things, or even money, but I do not have many bills and I have no debt. There is no one making money off of my labor, my back. I figure to pursue art, in my case writing, I could not be a prisoner to the economy either internally or externally.

I wish everyone could cast away those material desires, obey a personal code of economy and blossom into creation of art. Perhaps everyone still can.

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