I do take issue with one little point he made in his latest newsletter, however:
Economics is a “zero-sum game”. There’s only a finite amount of tangible resources available in the world to go around. So if you are going to be rich, someone else is going to be poor. (Probably more than one “someone else” – that’s the way it is.)Nonsense. Complete nonsense. Granted, there are players in our game who feel that the way to get ahead is by squeezing others, but there are enough examples in our profession and in the long history of human enterprise which prove beyond all doubt that cooperation is a value multiplier which often produces a result far greater than what the individual actors in sum could accomplish alone. Nor is it necessary to impoverish anyone in such an enterprise.
Even when we speak of scarce resources, if one considers the enormous waste of these resources as they are used to day, cooperation to find better solutions for consuming them "creates" wealth through savings which can be shared without anyone being the loser.
That human reality is often dominated by loss and suffering due to greed and ignorance is another matter altogether and should not be taken as a validation of the "zero sum" philosophy. "Cast your bread on the waters, for you shall find it after many days." Sound familiar? I have experienced the truth of this too often to allow myself to be confused by the cases where I do not get what I want or expect. I believe - I know - that we are richer through wise sharing of resources, tangible and otherwise, than we can ever be through zero-sum throat-cutting. I am not in a zero-sum game with my customers. They do not have less when they give me more, nor do I always have less when I take less. We buy our nourishment with many currencies, and I've never found it difficult to do that with cash if called for, though what I want may not be available for that medium.
Nor are we in a zero-sum game with our professional peers. I know there are many who will disagree strongly with me on this point, and they have lurid tales of hatchet jobs by reviewers, backstabbers and others to back up their beliefs. This is not unfamiliar territory to me, but though I know it is on the map, I choose to travel elsewhere, and for the most part I find welcoming partners in that other place. As does Alex. As do many of us.
How wise are we, really, when it comes to accurately determining the value of our resources and actions? Probably fairly accurate in the very short term if we have half a head for business. But the complexity with which our actions propagate over time, like the wind of the butterfly's wings, makes sure knowledge at a greater remove impossible: will it come to nothing or become the seed event of a great storm? I won't break my head with such speculations. I try to let go the worry and simply live and act as I feel is right. There is no zero-sum game for me, but instead many and varied rewards to be discovered in places often unsuspected.