In our dreams, most of us aspire to great Wealth. We imagine all of the things we would buy, build and do. We’d relish the freedom, power and status. We’d be benefactors and philanthropists. We’d be beholden to no one. We would never want for anything again.
And when we awake from our dreams, betting on a lottery with next to impossible odds seems like our best chance to attain great Wealth. But, really, what is Wealth?
That we have one word for the construct of Wealth is an obfuscation of the very meaning of value in our world. The word “Wealth” is obfuscation. Here are a couple of Merriam Webster Dictionary definitions:
a: abundance of valuable material possessions or resources
b: all property that has a money value or an exchangeable value
Wealth has long been viewed as a construct pertaining to individuals and families and not so much to organizations or nation states. One thinks of the tangible Wealth of individuals. We usually do not associate Wealth directly with companies or countries or the commons or nature.
Wealth is a human construct, it is a made up construct divorced from systemic understanding. It is an embodiment of SLANT – the word “Wealth” is outdated, carries the baggage of history, and does not address the systemics and meaning associated with value.
The popular conception of Wealth can be broken down into its components:
Ownership of/Access to: property and resources through power, charter, inheritance
Labor that can produce tangible value or be exchanged for tangible value
Ownership of common currencies that can be exchanged for tangible value
Ownership of/Access to: intellectual property, brawn and skill that can be exchanged for tangible value
Ownership, or shares of ownership/membership, in enterprises and organizations
Charters through family and organizations and states that grant access and use of
tangible property and resources without ownership
Ownership of/Access to: the power (force, authority) to take property and resources
Regarding the concept of Wealth, to understand its fuller systemic meaning, one can ask:
Is Wealth really about money and property, or is it something else?
Is Wealth about independence – near total control, freedom, security, comfort?
What are the outcomes and objectives of Wealth? What is the source of Wealth?
Who makes the rules of Wealth?
What does the inheritance of Wealth look like across time and place and people?
Who owns the most Wealth?
Who is the least Wealthy?
How does Wealth flow and exchange?
How much of Wealth is formed by physical and political power, and how much by brains and brawn?
Who controls Wealth?
If Wealth is a means and not an end, then what exactly is the end?
Here are some foundation thoughts using our Y Worlds Models.
The Wealth of the earth is unimaginable. The earth is Wealth. It is the source of all Wealth.
If humans just walked the earth and touched nothing, we would be extinct. We have to touch the earth. We have to process the earth. We have to harvest the earth, the atmosphere and water , the energy from the sun and the life on earth in order to sustain ourselves. We have to extract, create, consume and repeat — every day of our lives. This is what tangible is all about.
The earth and her oceans and atmosphere are the source of all Wealth.
Individuals, Governments and Organizations create and operate systems that interact with the resources of Wealth, the earth and water, and grant or deny or regulate access.
Unrestricted and unimpeded access to mother earth approaches Max Wealth.
Unrestricted and unimpeded creation of personal or societal value leads to Max Wealth.
But no one achieves Max Wealth, the tokens of power and attainment, without achieving self Nurture and Systemic Nurture. No Wealthy person wishes to be sick or in physical or mental pain or unsafe. No Wealthy person wishes to drink tainted disgusting water. No Wealthy person wishes to experience the pain and suffering of those who they deeply care for. Great Wealth is more than money and power and resources. Great Wealth spent on paper tokens, great Wealth invested in nothing tangible or systemically productive, great Wealth spent on war machines, great Wealth that degrades or denies the education of the commons, great Wealth kept in deep dark chambers, great Wealth extracted from the massive Wealth of the earth without replenishment, without return through manifold streams back to the commons, the owners of the earth, are acts of conscious systemic destruction of the Wealth of the earth, resulting in the denial of the future potentials of all but a few who live on the earth. Siphoning off the Wealth of the earth, denying everyone access to her, letting great portions of the earth’s Wealth wither or fall off the end of the earth, are acts of macro scale theft and vandalism of the future.
So as we begin to create our systemic model of the construct, Wealth, we start with everything tangible, our Matter | Energy Model. It represents mother earth, life, resources, energy and elements.
Nurture is the objective that can be best satisfied at the primal level by directly consuming life on earth and drinking her water and harnessing her fire. Nurture begins with Matter | Energy. We can see the objective and the interconnected resources.
The first humans were the Wealthiest people in the history of earth. They owned the earth in tandem with all other life forms. They controlled the realized and potential Wealth of the earth. They consumed what they needed and lived their short lives.
The human species kept growing. Population growth and adaptive learning led to cultivation, harvesting, extracting, controlling and manufacturing tangible items beyond those found in the life systems of earth. They began to use cooperative processes that converted observational data and knowledge into systemic action. Their actions processed raw materials into Man Made goods through a continuum of Man Made interventions. Humans extracted Matter | Energy and created tangible added value for Nurture.
In doing so, human objectives became more complex – Truth became an objective because knowledge was directly correlated with increased Nurture. Systemic processes became the means to greater Nurture through such inventions as pottery, metalwork, clothing, housing, agriculture, water works, and mass production.
The people with the greatest SWAY, the greatest force and social status, were able to dominate regions and resources and labor to the extent that they disrupted the equilibrium of small human footprints and relative Equality. Those with the greatest SWAY trumped Equality. Those with the greatest SWAY extracted the most beneficial Nurture. Those with the greatest SWAY constructed their versions of education, Truth, life and government. SWAY is part of the equation for understanding Wealth. Gatekeepers, controlled currencies and dominated economic systems prevented all people from accessing advanced knowledge, necessary credentials, capital, networks, health care and the invented composition of Wealth.
Forms of SWAY deliver the Wealth related catastrophes of war and tyranny. Unlimited population growth and man-made growth threaten Wealth, Nurture and a sustainable world.
In one short leap, humans hyperjumped from a sustainable low footprint, slow growth existence to an unsustainable high growth, extensive footprint existence that takes more and more of the population away from self sustainable Wealth toward dependencies that will ultimately diminish their Wealth.
So, what really is Wealth?
There is realized Wealth, potential Wealth and sustainable Wealth.
There is Wealth that is secure, and Wealth that is dependent – vulnerable. Wealth should be about comfort, meaning, vitality.
Wealth is that which is most valued by humans. It should be about Nurture, Equality, Truth and Systems.
Wealth is about the concept of ownership and control. It should be about inclusive access.
Wealth is about exchanges and markets. It should be about redistributions toward needs and investments.
Wealth is about need first, and then want. It should be about sustainable Nurture.
Wealth is about SWAY – power and force , entitlement and enforcement. It should be about sharing the Wealth of the earth.
Wealth starts with mother earth. No one should own the earth – we grant each other the right to responsibly interact with her.
Nation states and governments are the primary keepers of Wealth. We empower them, or they empower themselves, to control the land, the vertical and horizontal mechanisms of tangible creation, and the establishment, chartering and legal structures enabling private and public enterprises of all kinds to turn the earth into tangible value.
But governments were invented by us for us. Governments are us. Governments, real people hired by us, are empowered by us to serve us. We ask the people of our government to manage the Wealth of our nation states for us. We empower corporations to make things for us, harvest things for us, build infrastructures for us and ask the people of our government to regulate the corporations (the corporations are us) for us.
We need principles and visible models that take us from objectives and needs to the realization of our potential.
Wealth is about human beings and objectives.
There is earth borne Wealth and human borne Wealth. Matter | Energy and Man Made.
There are the Human Constructs of Wealth such as our laws, our tax policies, our charters of ownership.
There are the Relationships of Wealth. Families, friends, inheritance, partnerships, structures of power and influence, access, wars. How do we move from hierarchy to peer to peer wealth?
There is the Motion of Wealth. We see the connections and inter-relationships that drive our understanding and attainment of value.
There are Proof Processes that help us understand how to realize our potential.
Artificial barriers to Wealth such as the cost of higher education, access to working capital, and non-sustainable ill conceived living conditions can be remedied so that everyone achieves the minimum standard of Wealth – Sustainable Nurture.
The economies of the world cannot sustain ever increasing Wealth for the people of earth if we continue down the path of out of control growth, deliberate waste of our resources and desecration of systemic nurturing Wealth. Spinning the straw of the earth, the bounty of life, into gold depletes the Wealth of everyone and everything on earth – except the few. Never forget that gold is from the earth, it was established as a currency standard by a few, just as certain rare shells once were, and its only tangible value is as a rare useful metal. Otherwise, gold is a Ponzi scheme, a token like bitcoin, that will ultimately crash like all Ponzi schemes do. That trillions of dollars of representational Wealth are spent on such tokens as diamonds and gold, and not on investments in the true Wealth of people, is systemically insane.
Tokens of Wealth are a means, not an end. Our current tangible and representational Wealth should be invested in sustainable, renewable, expandable, shareable, vitalizing forms of Nurture using Equality, Truth and Systems as our guide. Mother Earth, our goose that lays the golden eggs of Wealth for the purpose of nurture for all, needs our full attention and our best systemics.