Grass Roots Economics

Economics, grass roots approach:
If you wander until you find yourself a piece of unclaimed wilderness; and then clear the land with a flint axe you’ve chipped out yourself; and then made a tool to put seeds into the ground; and then collected seeds and planted them; and if the rains failed, or came at the wrong time, you either added water from a bucket you made yourself or ditched to take off the excess water. Then you harvested whatever grew from those seeds and sold the produce.
Continue until you’re rich.
And do all this while feeding yourself and any family you’re responsible for. Also, protect yourself, because there are those who will take the easier approach and simply take your harvest.
Doesn’t sound very practical, does it?
But if you’re not going to clear the land by yourself, then you’re going to have to pay someone to do it for you, perhaps with a share of the crop. If you need water or ditching to protect the field, you’ll need someone to do that. And if you want to send that crop to a market, then someone must build the road. And if you want warriors to protect you and the other workers, you must also pay them.
They now expect a share of the crop, because they’ve done their part in seeing that it got to harvest.
If you want to get rich, you’re going to have to take more than a proportional share.  You’re going to have to exploit the others who helped you.
Or you can come in afterward, plant a field, and then use a road that someone else built and have your fields protected by someone who’s there. And whine about taxes because you didn’t hire those warriors or road builders or educate the workers to raise your crops and harvest them.
And in time, you can manage your affairs by hiring others to do the work. But by this time, you aren’t doing any of that work yourself. And invariably managing others begins to seem more important than simply working in a field or at a bench, so you must take a larger share for yourself.
You can also apply this logic to mining or manufacturing or whatever. Oh, and if you’re manufacturing, you might want someone to protect you from competition. Government will do that, if suitably bribed. Somehow, it seems more macho to bribe government officials than to meekly pay taxes.
Here’s the kicker: if you followed the first example, doing everything yourself, you won’t ever get rich. Peasants proved this over the thousands of years that primitive farming existed. The practice was called ‘subsistence farming’ for a reason; the farmer was lucky if indeed he managed subsistence. The work required is dawn-to-dusk. Children are needed to help with the work and to care for parents if they survive beyond working age.
The other corollary is that generally speaking, if you get wealthy, you got that way by exploitation.
‘Nobles’ exploited serfs, basically land-slavery. Manufacturers exploited workers. Instead of paying a proportionate share of what’s produced, find desperate people and employ them for much less. Or buy slaves and provide minimal housing and clothing and poor food.
Or you can exploit by trade; pay a pittance to the weaver of carpets and then ship the carpets to a place where they can be sold at a profit. The less you pay to the weaver, the higher your profit.
And of course always avoid any taxes; after all, it’s YOUR money, right?
You earned it all by yourself.


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