Economic Multipliers (172)

Do you know what these are?

They help CREATE wealth in systems.

Poverty is not an economic multiplier. (No. 2)


I reiterate:

‘Elections are a great time for young people to ‘meet’ their leaders.

For that reason, I’m hoping young people will think about some things they observe in their world related to how their ‘leaders’ lead.’

Clips from the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil are amazing. I have always stood in awe of all the people in the world who have greater athletic abilities than I do (probably billions of people).

I read that Brazil budgeted several billion dollars to host the event.

At the same time I can read about Olympic facilities which get built and athletes who get the best health care, food, education, coaches and support that their countries have to offer, I can also read about children who go hungry and lack basic services in EVERY country that participates in the Olympics. I can read about basic infrastructure projects (like those for clean water) that go unfunded throughout the world. The percentages vary significantly among countries. The basic problems don’t.

I am NOT up-to-date on current movies. I do pay attention to things that can cross the paths of young people’s lives – particularly if I think those things can diminish their bright light of youth.

The movie ‘The Hunger Games’ described a world where technologically savvy people built ‘cities’ for their ‘unusual world.’ In their ‘unusual world,’ they marginalized the lives of other people and pitted them against each other in the most extreme and destructive ways.

Supposedly leftover food from Olympics events goes to help feed the hungry. Within that statement, I have just told you that, in 2016, there are people in Brazil who have difficulty getting enough food to eat.

If any of those hungry are children, I hope someone somewhere is teaching them about worm bins (I’ll get to that later). If any of those hungry are children, I hope someone somewhere calculates how much food you could buy for all the children of Brazil (needy or not) with several billion dollars.

Although I’ve never used this phrase, there is a historical phrase that sticks in my mind related to poverty: ‘Doesn’t even have a pot to pee in.’ Clearly at some point in time in the U.S., sanitary facilities were a measure of adult wealth.

Lots of people have ‘thoughts’ about people who have less.

Imagine if a parent taught their child to beg or steal because they couldn’t figure out any other way the family could survive and as a result, some of those ‘thoughts’ had some basis in fact.

The middle class version of this type of thinking (the way to continue to thrive or to get wealthy from just doing well) tends to show up when people commit fraud (a different kind of theft).

The wealthy version of this type of thinking is that in order to stay wealthy (and/or get wealthier), you need to manipulate and control everything that could marginalize your standing (how corruption so easily works its way into politics and government contracts).

The wealthy version is the strangest. It’s easy to understand why a 7-year-old might steal some food or beg for some change.

It’s harder to understand men who compete for the largest and/or longest yacht – unless it is basically a floating corporate office (and some probably are).

If any child in the world had to rely on eating the castoffs of someone else’s food, I’d want them to learn how to build, use and maintain a worm bin.

If you ONLY add fruit and vegetable castoffs, clean shredded cardboard and paper (and possibly a bit of clean native soil, clean crushed egg shells and things like dried up and ground down chicken bones), a bit of water (initially) and some worms, you’ll ultimately get compost (check the temperature / worm requirements and – NO meat – NO fat - NO dairy).

A child with compost owns ‘land.’ If they learn how to plant something in that land, they might someday own a ‘product’ – possibly even food.

If the worms are treated like livestock which needs to be taken care of and any drainage like fertilizer, they own a mini-farm.

If multiple children pooled their compost, they could plant a food producing tree.

Done right, worm composting in bins supposedly doesn’t smell (any more than farming/gardening does). Although I haven’t yet tested any pre-built or home-built worm bins to verify this, many others have and it seems that people who ‘collect’ food for food distribution programs in urban areas should be taking advantage of them.

The Hunger Games’ featured a lot of people who thought they had no control over their ‘fate.’ The movie also featured characters (actors) who seemingly had a lot of resources around them but either did not know how to use the resources or were not allowed to use them because everything (even the castoffs) belonged to someone else.

The weather where I live doesn’t make it easy to put year-round worm bins outside of food banks (or homes). That’s unfortunate since the food banks many times get a percentage of fruits and vegetables which are no longer edible yet are perfectly suitable for worm bins. Year-round home worm bins in this area would most likely be set aside in basements, partially heated porches or laundry or kitchen areas. Since there are other ways to compost, hopefully a local compost facility gets food bank ‘remains.’

Obviously you can’t load balconies of high rise apartments with a lot of compost/soil as the balconies could collapse. It might be possible though to ask a 7-year-old child where they’d like a worm bin installed if they committed to maintaining it. (Note that this is not an income-based statement as I believe many children are naturally curious and more science-minded types would not only have greater interest, they would share additional insights into ‘worm behavior.’)

Compost needs a ‘home’ and is a marketable product. Would the 7-year old want to sell the compost or would they want to grow something in it? Worms are a marketable product, can be used for fishing and can be added to other compost bins or garden patches. A child growing up on a farm might routinely listen to adults discussing the value of marketable choices. A child growing up with a gardener might learn that worms ‘tickle the roots’ of plants to enhance their health.

A child sent out to beg or steal may intuitively know that no one is discussing with them what a ‘normal’ life looks like or how things with value can create other things with value. They do know that you can’t buy things without money. They do know that there are a lot of things you can’t do if you don’t have a lot of things.

On the off chance that Brazil still has some cast off vegetable and fruit remains after the Olympic Games wind down, I’ll hope that one or two adults in Rio de Janeiro teach some of the kids on the streets how to ‘harvest’ and use castoffs so they can start building their lives and acquiring their ‘land.’

It does seem appropriate that the ‘gold’ that comes from worms is called ‘castings.’

Adults unintentionally (and sometimes intentionally) throw away things that can produce ‘gold’ all the time.

I started this piece noting my admiration for athletes. Despite that, 8 years from now (in 2024), I believe the Olympic Games should come to a close. That would give the Olympic Committee time to ‘wind down’ the games.

We constantly live in a different world. I do not wish that world to look like the one featured in ‘The Hunger Games.

I wrote these words to a ‘political force’ because I believe in so many ways, ‘adults’ are failing to adequately protect and support young people (Imagine needing 2-3 generations to distance a family from corruption and 1-3 generations to distance a family from poverty – IF an attempt is made to create the distance.):

‘I've been reading about the water in Rio and the risk to ALL athletes …

… The … Foundation might be able to provide numbers on how many composting toilets run by solar or wind energy (you don't need sewage treatment plants and large networks of pipes but do get back compost that can be used to grow food if the toilets are properly maintained) that Brazil could have bought and installed for the amount of money they spent on infrastructure for this single event. (Know that one disadvantage of group bathrooms is they can harbor disease …)

… I will never be able to convince anyone that, in this world of genetic modifications and performance-enhancing drugs, the value of the Olympics has run its course and perhaps elders are turning young people into 'pets' and 'show dogs' (appreciate that I admire and enjoy the athletic abilities of others and have enjoyed watching many Olympic performances).

Older people have a responsibility to the youth in any country. Is it possible to ask the Olympic Committee where their responsibilities lie? For the amount of money spent on extreme athletes, the US could train and hire coaches for kids and adults of any ability who just want to improve.

If the responsibility is lacking for this event, where is it to be found? …’

Wouldn’t it be strange to think that the Olympic Games are inadvertently helping impoverish the least wealthy countries and the least wealthy communities because ‘native talent’ is siphoned off, less distributed resources are available for all young athletes in general and when the medals are tallied, the one thing that stands out is that if countries have a lot of people and/or a lot of wealth, it’s much easier to find and develop good athletes.

Without the Olympics, outstanding athletes will still get siphoned off. Athletic games around the world will still continue.

But perhaps, if countries aren’t so busy training ‘extreme athletes,’ they’ll have just a bit more time, energy and resources to think about how to feed their children and provide clean water supplies (something not near as exciting as building the largest and/or longest yacht).

Perhaps that’s what the Olympic Committee could shift to … because ensuring a good future for all children is a Herculean task.


P.S. When I was younger, I didn’t know anything about worm bins (and little about worms). It never occurred to me that you could ‘make’ your own clean water if you just knew how.

Classical civil engineering programs historically emphasized large-scale projects. The only problem is you can’t get classical engineering firms to show up in the poorest parts of the world unless they get paid a lot of money or have a significant philanthropic arm. Likewise, the projects might only benefit the wealthiest in the area.

The craziest thing about wanting classical civil engineering in communities that can’t afford the projects is that many of the things that make a lot more immediate sense are already more affordable, more robust and teach young people a LOT more than many of the large scale projects do.

When communities have kids and adults who know how to find value in every direction they look, if the community ever gets hit by a flood, a hurricane, an earthquake, a tornado or any other disaster, they at least have a foundation from which to firmly plant their feet.

When communities have educated and trained individuals who know how to immediately build/create large AND small-scale things that solve immediate problems, they also know they have the ability to change their world for the better.

When you’re thinking about leaving the world to/for future generations, isn’t that what it’s really all about?