Economic Multipliers (35)

Do you know what these are?

They help CREATE wealth in systems.

Electric power cords are economic multipliers. (Guess why.)


I am a ‘casual carpenter.’ I occasionally use power tools.

When I do, I think about how nice it would be to have battery powered tools and never have to worry about extension cords.

Because I used the word ‘casual,’ I know that I should NOT buy most tools that are powered by batteries. If I do, I MUST maintain the batteries properly if I want the tool to work the next time I want to use it.

If I don’t maintain a battery properly, the tool is technically ‘useless.’ If I have to replace batteries prematurely, all my projects will cost extra money and take extra time.

If I have to pay attention to batteries that I rarely use, that’s extra time and money too.

A ‘real’ carpenter who uses his (or her) tools daily would never think twice about the value of cordless tools: They are invaluable if you routinely use them and battery maintenance is built into how you do your work and take care of your equipment.

Fortunately on the ‘technology’ side of things, if a battery runs out of power or goes bad, you can still ‘power up’ by plugging in a cord … Not so most often on the ‘tool’ side of things.

When you buy equipment on the ‘tool’ side, think closely about how often you’ll use it and how much time you’re willing to spend maintaining it.

A cordless screwdriver always looks good to me in ads but I still say to myself: thank goodness they build corded variable speed power drills which (other than a bit of extra weight) are the perfect substitute (as long as you pick an appropriate speed … a bit of practice along with paying attention to someone who knows what they are doing helps a lot). Also, thank goodness for long extension cords. And, if there isn’t much to tighten or join, a hand screwdriver still works (amazing!).

Now, sometimes people think that if you discourage a purchase (say, of cordless products), that will be bad for someone’s business. I think in reverse.

If a person buys a tool that works well for them for a long period of time (based on how they use it), they will think highly of the company that manufactured the product. If a product routinely prematurely fails (simply because the buyers are poor at maintenance), the company in the long run will lose sales.

Strong nations build and acquire tools that last for a long time. They make sure that the ‘users’ know how to properly maintain them so those tools create ‘value’ for a long time (because those ‘tools’ ultimately build value for their nation).

Likewise, strong nations realize that the person who is the ‘least likely’ to properly dispose of a battery that should go to a hazardous waste or recycling facility versus a landfill (where it could contaminate soil and/or ground and surface water supplies) is the person who never took the time to learn how to properly maintain the batteries for their equipment in the first place.

Economic multiplication first and foremost is about learning how to ‘not have problems.’

Economic multiplication secondly is about learning how to maximize the value of everything you come into contact with: tools, technology and even people. (Since people create all these cool ‘things,’ I probably should have listed them first.)