The wealth of a nation is its people. If this is true, why are there so many nations that have so many people that are not wealthy? What is missing?
Ask a citizen of wealthy country to explain why this is so and he might have some notion that he will express with insecurity. Ask a citizen of a poor country why his country is not wealthy and he will have plenty of blame to throw around but chances are that he might not even have a notion. It is a simple question with a complex answer. If it had an easy answer, everybody would answer correctly. Why some nations are wealthy and some others are not? The answer must have elements of economics, philosophy, political science, history, business, psychology, religion, and other disciplines. This series of books is an attempt to break this complex answer into simple elements that might be easily explained. This will attempted by reviewing one element in each book, starting with simple elements and building up to more complex conclusions.
This is the first book of the series. It is about the wealth of a single person in an island. The titles of the rest of the series are listed at the end of this book.
I have been blessed with the experience of living in two countries. One is a wealthy country and the other is a country in development, which is a nice way to say that it is not wealthy. The one in development is older telling us right away that age is not a cause of wealth. I have experienced the contrast of the living, business, cultural, and political conditions in both countries and this experience has fueled a desire to try to explain the differences. This bicultural experience, an interest in economics, and an education in engineering might allow me to have a unique perspective on the subject.
The first book is about producing wealth in a desert island, just like Robinson Crusoe in Daniel Defoe’s novel. Welcome to the first book.
* * * * *
The Wealth of the People:
An Inquiry into the Relationship between
Wealth, Freedom, and Life
* * * * *
Alone in an Island
Imagine that you are the sole survivor of a shipwreck in an island. Instead of having the benefits of the remains of the shipwreck as Robinson Crusoe had, all you have are the clothes that you are wearing. What would you have to do to survive?
You would have to fill your basic needs with your bare hands. You would have to find out how to satisfy your thirst and hunger. You would have to find or build a shelter to sleep at night free of any wild animals or nasty insects. Eventually you would have to make clothes to replace the ones you are wearing.
The Definition of Wealth
Upon your arrival in the island you would be poor. To be wealthy is to have plenty of resources to sustain your life. You have your mind and your body which are very valuable but they would not be sufficient to make you feel wealthy. You would want to have plenty of water, food, clothing, and a good shelter.
To satisfy your needs, you would have to use your mind and your body. Your mind and your body are your assets. You would have to use your mind to think where to find water to drink and you would have to use your legs to walk until you find it. You would have to think what vegetables to eat and walk to collect them. You have to use your assets, which at this point are only your mind and your body, to produce the products that you need.
The Natural Resources
To satisfy your needs you would also have to use the natural resources of the island. You would have to find fresh water in a creek that you could drink without getting sick. You would have to pick vegetables that you could eat. You would have to find out how to hunt an animal. You will have to figure out how to start a fire to cook the animal. You would have to use earth material, such as mud, stones, and sticks, to build a shelter.