We live in an unlimited Universe. We have traveled to the moon and beyond. An asteroid recently hit us, so we are clearly not entirely isolated. But there are many who persist in the belief that the earth is patently limited in resources. Remember the gas lines and rationing under President Carter? Scientists of the seventies swore we would run out of oil before the millennium. Why haven’t we run out yet?
The gas shortages were a lie.
As Hitler said, “If you tell a big enough lie, and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”
In the mean time, because we are a capitalist economy, we have both developed new ways to extract fuels from the planet and lowered the need of it for our cars. In a sense, engineers created more oil by innovating less need. We call that ‘advancements in science.’
I call it the natural progression: limitless.
But it’s easier to believe in limits. It’s a great excuse. There is only ‘so much’ of anything.
Except love… Love knows no bounds.
Wait… Then, why should we accept that other things come in finite amounts and must be equitably apportioned? Is talent measured and distributed equally? No. The notion that all Earthly things are quantifiable curtails drive and achievement, appealing to the insecurities and inherent laziness in humans. It’s easier.
But it’s a lie.
Remember the horse and buggy? Who doubts that today’s environmentalists would have labeled horse usage ‘unfair’, shouted warnings that horses were becoming extinct and that manure was going to suffocate cities if we didn’t curtail their use? But before that could happen, the car was invented – and not just the car, but also the assembly line, developed by Mr. Ford, which produced more cars faster. Ford hired many more workers, and increased pay almost four-fold within three years because of the augmented wealth his ingenuity produced. And with that, the entire population, able to travel faster and better, grew more affluent, too. That wealth came from thin air, the results of people’s desires and ingenuity.
Unions today would rewrite that story: ‘Mr. Ford stole his wealth from the poor non-union workers he coerced into slaving for him.’ But we all know that’s a lie, because before they worked in the automobile factory, they toiled on the farm and were much poorer. What did poor look like back then? It didn’t involve cell phones, running water, or television! Or an automobile! An employee of Ford’s factory took the job at $1.50 per day because it was worth more to him than farming.
You create wealth – magically – when you get something worth more than what you sacrifice for it. Our free, capitalist society produces wealth everyday. Apple didn’t become wealthy by creating the iPhone. Apple became wealthy by selling the iPhone to a lot of consumers, who became wealthier by purchasing it, freely. They were ‘poorer’ without a cell phone.
I don’t own a snow blower – I live in southern California. No price on a snow blower would convince to buy one. But a lot Minnesotans think of it as necessity, and so, to them, a $600 price tag is undaunting. They are more than $600 wealthier with the blower, which saves them time, energy, and trips to the chiropractor. My kids have made me incredibly wealthy, (not monetarily, of course) but I wouldn’t sell them for any amount of money (most days).
Wealth is not finite. Wealth is created, mainly through market transactions, something at which Americans have excelled. If another country wanted wealth like ours, they could establish a similar capitalist system. But they don’t. China has incredible resources and enormous manpower, but they have neither our business environment nor our tremendous intellectual rights laws, nor the liberties to enjoy the fruits of innovative labor (incentive). Brazil is also enormously wealthy in resources but lacks the financial freedoms and patent laws we enjoy here.
The industrial, technological and scientific evolutions have seen an exponential and unprecedented growth of wealth in the United States over the the last 200 years, all because of our capitalist economy. Where did all that wealth come from? Did we steal it from other countries? No! Remember, we were the black sheep of the British “family,” disinherited. We started at zero. People slept on the dirt. Families who came here with nothing created lives of privilege – cell phones and snow blowers – for themselves. (Anyone who actually believes our wealth is finite… doesn’t work on Capitol Hill – those guys are spending like there’s no tomorrow.)
America’s wealth came from our unique combination of ingenuity, energy, beliefs, and freedoms. It came from our ability to produce using the resources of our hands and our land, which are limitless because we evolve in our ability to capitalize on them. What new technologies might be developed in the next 100 years that will make our grandchildren smile at our ignorance?
Tree-huggers who question the resilience of our planet and claim that the poor “lack” because others “have” are dead wrong. Our Earth is abundant, wealth is infinite in a free society, and thinking otherwise is, frankly, limited.