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World Economics: The Most Simple of Calculations


: "zero sum game," and it refers to the idea that in life, just as in the game "Monopoly," one can only gain stuff (hotels, railroads, dinner, sex) by getting that stuff from (or before) some other player, as there is only a given amount of stuff to go around. Somehow or other this appears to be an obvious truth, so obvious that one would have to be an idiot to even question it. But, if you will, let me throw out some pictures for your enjoyment.

First we might look at the "Garden of Eden," which even if it did not exist, will still provide an excellent example. Here you have a man and a woman and some serpents and apple trees and probably flowers (it is a garden, after all!) and streams, hills, valleys, meadows, clouds and sunshine. Regardless of the specific details, I imagine that anyone will agree that on some level or another, that early existence on this planet was much simpler than it is now, and that the picture we've seen is likely near enough to that reality for the sake of argument. Okay?

Now let's consider Hong Kong . (Whew! That was a rush, wasn't it?) And Omaha . Prague . And so on. What diversity! Let me ask you . . . if life is a zero sum game, if all of the stuff that's here has always existed and is just being rearranged by trading amongst the players, where was all of this stuff when Adam and Eve were frolicking in connubial bliss (lucky them)?

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