Thursday, October 27, 2011

Zero Sum Game

I think this word sums up what is wrong with a lot of people's thinking.

The economy is not a zero sum game.  It is not one big pie that has to be cut up into more and more smaller pieces.  We create more pies; we can create more and more pies to feed more and more people.

Now, I know the response--this is capitalism, and capitalism exploits the environment by using up resources.  But capitalism as a way of thinking can find ways not to use resources and still create wealth.  It happens all the time.  Capitalism frees people to use their creativity and innovation to create wealth and by doing so create jobs.

Learning is not a zero sum game.  My students think their brains are only so big and that they must protect their brain capacity.   But neuroscience has proven that learning creates more synapses.  However, as capitalism creates wealth through hard work, learning creates more "brain capacity" for knowledge through hard work.   Learning takes effort, something no one wants to admit to; "LEARNING SHOULD BE FUN!" (where did that come from?  Disney, the people who have used capitalism to sell fun.)

Life is not a zero sum game.  If the land is too small to grow crops, either find a way to produce more crops from seed or start using towers to grow food.  I think if we see life as a zero sum game, we only fear want when it doesn't have to exist.

As an addendum (it's so wonderful to be able to edit posts), it all depends if you believe we live in an open system or closed system.  I believe we are in an open system.

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