Economic Multipliers (42)

Do you know what these are?

They help CREATE wealth in systems.

Pictures that tell a thousand words can be economic multipliers.


I never formally introduced the definition of economic multipliers that you’d find in a standard economics text (you can look it up if you’re really interested) because I decided to broaden the concept to include all the things that really should be there. Just continue to imagine that if your community has positive economic multipliers, your community is getting wealthier: If it has negative economic multipliers, it’s getting poorer.

Ask yourself if you believe your community is getting wealthier. Ask yourself if you believe your community is building the bases which would help it become wealthier in the future.

If I wanted to know whether a community had the ability to build and retain bases of wealth, I’d look first at whether they had clean water and air, good soil and the knowledge and ability to produce their own food. I thought I might have a ‘farming community’ bias but after watching a series entitled ‘Guns, Germs and Steel’ by Jared Diamond (National Geographic, 2005 – also a book), I’m sure these things are the ‘keys.’ In fact, his section on the tropics explains why Americans and Western Europeans should not think about food production in Africa the way they think about food production in non-tropical climates because if they do, their ‘help’ would condemn Africans to regular famines.

Now, when you think about ‘keys’ to wealth creation and the development of strong economic multipliers, realize that the community and the individuals in it might find greater value in doing other things (economic tradeoffs) but the bases for the most basic of needs would already exist: The bases for dealing with any economic, natural or external emergencies would already exist.

If a community could not deal with an emergency somewhat locally, then their ‘core’ needs for developing an economic base would first tie to food and water production and storage and the accumulation of tools (including technology) which would help them build this ‘base.’ Because I included technology as a tool, the next ‘core’ need would be reliable power (continuous and voltage/frequency controlled) in the areas where technology would be of the greatest value and most easily publicly accessed: libraries, hospitals, schools, etc. Of course, all of these things hinge on countries being ‘at peace:’ It’s very difficult to build bases of wealth in countries where people are embroiled in civil wars or border disputes.

What probably is the most fascinating component of this ‘new world’ we live in (the one where we do have extraordinary opportunities to create additional wealth) is that most of the advanced technologies that we use are less than 100 years old. One hundred years ago, all of mankind survived without them. No one has ever learned how to exist without food or potable water.

I do believe that is why I like all these advanced technologies so much.

Today, photo sites allow people to share knowledge globally. I’ve enjoyed many video sites (and have learned much) but photos reflect my ‘slower’ pace … my need to ponder what I’m looking at. They reflect a theory that it will always be easier for the ‘resource limited’ but ‘motivated’ person (or community) to access information if that information does not require much bandwidth to access – if that information is comprehensive and gives the viewer time to see even more than the original photographer.

I’m in the process of winding down a ‘Haphazard Gardening’ project (more of a ‘how not to do things’ versus a ‘how to do things’ project) and took advantage of the Picasa pages that Google kindly set up to share a bit of information (OPEN). If a picture can tell a thousand words, what can just over 1000 characters (1024 … see P.S.) tell about a picture? What can a person see in the pictures I took beyond what I see? What photos do they think are missing?

The unique thing about these photo sites and these ‘sort’ engines that focus on getting the cream to rise to the top is that every nation and community and individual today has the opportunity to look at their native plant bases and local foods (see P.S. (2)) and help set up pages which would make it easier for everyone in their communities to build their bases of wealth. Tracking down information on the Internet is even better (easier) than trying to track down the information in the best books and periodicals (although interestingly enough, I use the Internet to track down the best of the best and believe that book readers and photo sites will increase softcover and hardcover book and even periodical sales … but profit margins will continue to shrink for a while due to the availability of used materials).

Like any other author, I hope the photo pages I set up will ‘stand the test of time’ but know the greatest value always lies in building upon what already exists. You’ll never learn everything there is to know about gardening through my ‘Haphazard Gardening’ photos: That is not why they are there. They are there to help you identify:

    • whether you’ve got ‘the gardening bug'

    • whether you see some value in adding food production to your ‘economic or project plan'

    • whether you can see ‘farther and more than me'

    • whether you can see something that should be added for your local community or nation (maybe something that you gleaned from chatting with your grandparent or parent who is not ‘technologically literate’).

Recently I read about groups of young people who are using their ability to ‘link’ to quickly form ‘mobs.’ I think this activity for the greatest percentage of ‘planners’ is done ‘in FUN’ … just to see what would or could happen.

In a perfect world, large groups of people peacefully assemble. In an imperfect world (our normal world), large groups can cause (A LOT of) property damage. Likewise, individuals prone to criminal behavior tend to see ‘mob formation’ as an opportunistic time to commit crimes because organizations like police departments become overwhelmed.

IF we do not use the technology that is right in front of us to prevent and solve social problems, IF we use the technology that is right in front of us to create havoc in societies, none of us in the long run will come out ahead.


Food production doesn’t have to be ‘your thing.’ Most people today, even if they were freely given a producing and fully equipped farm (or producing and fully equipped ‘anything’), would not have all the knowledge and skills required to run that business. But just look around you: Does that knowledge and do those skills exist in your community and are they being ‘cultivated.'

Does your community have an emphasis on a ‘clean’ environment … the air, water and soil? (Note: ‘Clean’ does not mean ‘no manufacturing:’ It means ‘responsible behavior.’)

Would you be able to grow food in the soil around you and do people do so if there is a need for food?

If you can answer yes to those questions, your community has a foundation which I believe is necessary if it wants to create positive economic multipliers. If you have several no’s, I’ll bet you also said that you thought your community has negative economic multipliers: Not only do you see your community getting poorer in the short-term, you also see your community getting poorer in the long-term.


P.S. The Picasa pages allocate 1024 characters (versus a thousand words – thank goodness) if you want to add some descriptive text to a photo. I think programmers like numbers that play off of 2 (1024 is 2 raised to the 10) or 8 or 16 or 32 or 64 or … Are we going to have to worry about 128-bit machines (I can’t keep up!)?

P.S. (2) I’m not big on exporting western diets and foods (or their agricultural practices) to countries so a high percentage of people can end up obese and/or with diabetes: Foods that aren’t necessarily bad for individuals with a certain genetic makeup (usually along ethnic lines) can wreak havoc on others. And, it just makes sense to retain a healthy diet if you were one of the lucky ones who grew up with one.

P.S. (3) Developed societies with lots of tools can lose the ability to ‘see’ and value the materials and skills that other cultures use as substitutes. Imagine fly fishing without a fly fishing rod but by using a kite (no lack of skill involved here). Imagine using a spider’s web for bait instead of a fly. (Wild Pacific (DVD), 2009, … Imagine how ‘educated’ the world could become if every one out of two movies they watched had some educational component … Of course, I’m ‘awed’ by ‘strange things’ and you can see the vortices form in the ocean waves from below the surface … Somehow I just don’t think I’ll ever get a chance to take a picture of that … but I’m glad that I had the opportunity to see it.)