Economic Multipliers (58)

Do you know what these are?

They help CREATE wealth in systems.

Understanding human nature is an economic multiplier for any community or nation that wants to gain value and wealth as it educates its citizens.


The world has more people, more wealth, more industry, more knowledge and ideas and more technology.

Have people changed?

These thoughts were published in two books (by the same author (a man … see P.S.) in 1886 and 1889):

[\] Doctor’s prescription for good health:

    • [Food] every 6 hours

    • One ten mile walk every morning.

    • To bed at 11:00 p.m. every night.

    • And don’t ‘fill’ your head with things you don’t understand. [\\]

[\] [Symptom in an] old liver pill circular … ‘a general disinclination to work of any kind’ … As a boy, the disease hardly ever left me for a day. They did not know then, that it was my liver. Medical science … used to put it down to laziness. [\\]

[\] There is nothing does irritate me more than seeing other people sitting about doing nothing when I am working. [\\]

[\] I can’t sit still and see another man slaving and working. I want to get up and superintend, and walk round with my hands in my pockets and tell him what to do. [\\]

[\] Each person has what he doesn’t want and other people have what he does want. Married men have wives and don’t seem to want them and young single fellows cry out that they can’t get them. Poor people who can hardly keep themselves have eight hearty children. Rich old couples with no one to leave their money to, die childless. [\\]

[\] … all our art treasures of today are only the dug-up commonplaces of three or four hundred years ago … Will the prized treasures of today always be the cheap trifles of the day before? … We, in this age, do not see the beauty … We are too familiar with it. [\\]

[\] [On his attitude toward individuals who liked their private beachfront property to be off limits to passing boaters]: We never ought to allow our instincts of justice to degenerate into mere vindictiveness. [\\]

[\] There is an iron ‘scold’s bridle’ in Walton Church. They used these things in ancient days for curbing women’s tongues. They have given up the attempt now. I suppose iron was getting scarce and nothing else would be strong enough. [\\]

[\] … in connection with towing, the most exciting is being towed by girls … It takes three girls to tow always; two hold the rope, and the other one runs round and round and giggles … [\\]

[\] … as a rule on the river, the wind is always dead against you whatever way you go … When you forget to take the sail … the wind is consistently in your favor both ways. [\\]

[\] I should never have thought that peeling potatoes was such an undertaking. The job turned out to be the biggest thing of its kind that I had ever been in. We began cheerfully … but our light-heartedness was gone by the time the first potato was finished. [\\]

[\] It always does seem to me that I am doing more work than I should do. It is not that I object to the work, mind you; I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours … You cannot give me too much work … And I am careful of my work, too. Why, some … has been in my possession for years and years, and there isn’t a finger-mark on it … No man keeps his work in a better state of preservation than I do. But, though I crave for work … I do not ask for more than my proper share. But I get it without asking for it … [My friend] … thinks it is only my over-scrupulous nature that makes me fear I am having more than my due; and … I don’t have half as much as I ought. But I expect he only says this to comfort me. [\\]

[\] … in a boat, I have always noticed that it is the fixed idea of each member of the crew that he is doing everything. [\\]

[\] … the new generation do not seem to have simple faith of the old times … [our] customary stretchers [tales] … [the] young man mocked at them all, and wanted us to repeat the feats … [\\]

[\] [On a youthful and costly misadventure] … But we learned experience, and they say that is always cheap at any price. [\\]

[\] We tried washing [our clothes] ourselves … After we had washed them--well, the river between Reading and Henley was much cleaner … [\\]

[\] The local fisherman’s guide … says … the place is ‘a good station for fishing’ … There is no spot in the world where you … can fish for a longer period. [\\]

[\] Some people are under the impression that all that is required to make a good fisherman is the ability to tell lies easily and without blushing … Mere balk fabrication is useless … It is in … the embellishing touches of probability … [\\]

[\] … everybody is always so exceptionally irritable on the river. Little mishaps, that you would hardly notice on dry land, drive you nearly frantic with rage … When another boat gets in my way, I feel I want to take an oar and kill all the people in it. [\\]

[\] [On a ‘rainy’ trip] … We had come out for a fortnight’s enjoyment on the river, and a fortnight’s enjoyment we meant to have. If it killed us! well, that would be a sad thing for our friends and relations, but it could not be helped [and then they ‘bailed’ on their boat trip!] [\\]

[\] The gentleman … used to say he never knew a boy who could do less work in more time … [\\]

[\] Idling has always been my strong point … it is a gift. Few possess it. There are plenty of lazy people and plenty of slow-coaches, but a genuine idler is a rarity. He is not a man who slouches about with his hands in his pockets … his most startling characteristic is that he is always intensely busy. [\\]

[\] [He dedicated one book to his pipe.] Tobacco has been a blessing to us idlers … I attribute the quarrelsome nature of the Middle Ages young men entirely to the want of the soothing weed. They had no work to do and could not smoke, and the consequence was they were forever fighting and rowing. If, by an extraordinary chance, there was no war going, then they got up a deadly family feud … [\\]

[\] … the girls … are getting to do all our work. They are doctors, and barristers, and artists. They manage theaters and promote swindles, and edit newspapers. I am looking forward to the time when we men shall have nothing to do but lie in bed till twelve, read two novels a day, have nice little five-o’clock tea all to ourselves … [\\]

[\] Love is like the measles; we all have to go through it. Also like the measles, we take it only once. One never need be afraid of catching it a second time. [\\]

[\] [On having a happy married life]: Affection will burn cheerily when the white flame of love is flickered out. Affection is a fire that can be fed from day to day … as the wintry years draw nigh. Old men and women can sit by it with their thin hands clasped … Throw on your pleasant words, your gentle pressures of the hand, your thoughtful and unselfish deeds. Fan it with good humor, patience, and forbearance … You can let the wind blow and the rain fall unheeded then, for your hearth will be warm and bright, and the faces around it will make sunshine in spite of the clouds without … It is a cheerless hour … when the lamp of love has gone out and the fire of affection is not yet lit … [\\]

[\] … women … could make us so much better if you only would … [\\]

[\] … we are so blind to our own shortcomings, so wide awake to those of others. Everything that happens to us is always the other person’s fault. [\\]

[\] … there is a good deal of satisfaction [in misery]; but nobody likes a fit of the blues … You become stupid, restless, and irritable; rude to strangers and dangerous toward your friends; clumsy, maudlin, and quarrelsome; a nuisance to yourself and everybody about you … you can do nothing and think of nothing, though feeling at the time bound to do something … [\\]

[\] When a man or woman loves to brood over a sorrow and takes care to keep it green in their memory … it is no longer a pain to them. However they may have suffered from it … the recollection has become … a pleasure … Tears are as sweet as laughter to some natures … [\\]

[\] … women … do not care for humor … it would be unfair to deny them their grief. [\\]

[\] … to find out the value of money, live on 15 shillings a week and see how much you can put by … it is worthwhile to wait for the farthing change … it is worthwhile to walk a mile to save a penny … a glass of beer is a luxury to be indulged in only at rare intervals, and … a collar can be worn for four days. Try it just before you get married … Let your son … try it before sending him to college … [\\]

[\] It is not funny to have to haggle over pennies … to be thought mean and stingy. It isn’t funny to be shabby and to be ashamed of your address … there is nothing at all funny in poverty … [but] Being poor is a mere trifle. It is being known to be poor that is the sting … Appearances are everything … [and] There are degrees in being hard up. We are all hard up, more or less—most of us more. Some are hard up for a thousand pounds; some for a shilling. [\\]

[\] Women are terribly vain. [\\]

[\] A good man is a man who is good to us, and a bad man is a man who doesn’t do what we want him to … [\\]

[\] … good people are rather depressing. It is in our faults and failings, not in our virtues, that we touch one another and find sympathy. We differ widely … in our nobler qualities. It is in our follies that we are at one. [\\]

[\] If you want to win affection and respect in this world, you must flatter people. Flatter high and low, and rich and poor, and silly and wise. You will get on famously … Fill a person with love for themselves, and what runs over will be your share … [\\]

[\] It is in the petty details, not in the great results, that the interest of existence lies. What we really want is a novel showing us all the hidden undercurrent of an ambitious man’s career—his struggles, and failures, and hopes, his disappointments and victories. [\\]

[\] A woman never thoroughly cares for her lover until he has ceased to care for her; and it is not until you have … turned on your heel that she begins to smile upon you … Everything comes too late in this world. [\\]

[\] Ambitious people are the leaven which raises [the world] into wholesome bread. Without [them] the world would never get up … Wrong to be ambitious … wrong for using [their] talents … for toiling while others play! … Of course they are seeking their reward … But in working for themselves they are working for us all … If you are foolish enough to be contented, don’t show it … Better to work and fail than to sleep one’s life away. [\\]

[\] When I make serious observations people chuckle; when I attempt a joke nobody sees it. [\\]

[\] If December passes without snow, we indignantly demand to know what has become of our good old-fashioned winters, and talk as if we had been cheated out of something … We shall never be content until each man makes his own weather … [\\]

[\] Our next-door neighbor … started a cucumber-frame last summer … and talks … [like] he is a retired farmer. [\\]

[\] [As a boy] I loved … an old water-rat; and one day it fell into a large dish of gooseberry-fool … and nobody knew what had become of the poor creature until the second helping. [\\]

[\] … a woman … a person who grins one moment about nothing at all, and snivels the next for precisely the same cause, and who then giggles and then sulks, and who is rude, and affectionate, and bad-tempered, and jolly, and boisterous, and silent, and passionate, and cold , and stand-offish, and flopping, all in one minute (mind, I don’t say this. It is those poets …) [\\]

[\] Swearing is the safety-valve through which the bad temper … escapes in harmless vaporing … I rather distrust a man who never swears, or savagely kicks the foot-stool, or pokes the fire with unnecessary violence. Without some outlet … The petty annoyance … grows into a great injury [and] springs up hatred and revenge. [\\]

[\] … [cats and dogs] are much superior to human beings … They do not quarrel … with you. They … keep up an appearance of being interested … never make stupid remarks [and] say unkind things … never tell us of our faults ‘merely for our own good’ … do not … remind us of our past follies and mistakes … are always glad to see us … never … inquire whether you are in the right or in the wrong, never ask … whether you are rich or poor, silly or wise, sinner or saint. [\\]

[\] [On cats and dogs] … we like you all the better for your being stupid. We all like stupid things. Men can’t bear clever women, and a woman’s ideal man is someone she can call a ‘dear old stupid’ … The world must be rather a rough place for clever people. Ordinary folk dislike them … and … they hate each other … But … [they] are such a very significant minority that it really doesn’t much matter if they are unhappy … [\\]

[\] I had a cat that … made me feel quite like a married man, except that she never asked where I had been and then didn’t believe me when I had told her. [\\]

[\] A shy man’s lot is not a happy one. The men dislike him, the women despise him and he dislikes and despises himself … The shy man does have some slight revenge upon society … He frightens other people as much as they frighten him … [\\]

[\] Genuine conceit … tends to make [a man] genial, kind-hearted, and simple. He has no need of affectation--he is far too well satisfied with his own character … valuing no one’s standard but his own, he is never tempted to … sacrifice to the god of [the] neighbor’s opinion. [\\]

[\] There is no such thing as a shy woman, or, at all events, I have never come across one … [\\]

[\] There are various methods by which you may achieve ignominy and shame … murdering a … respected family in cold blood … robbing a church … [calling] dear baby ‘it.’ [\\]

[\] Give an average baby a fair chance, and if it doesn’t do something it oughtn’t to a doctor should be called in at once. [\\]

[\] It is amusing to see boys eat when you have not got to pay for it. Their idea of a square meal is [a lengthy list!] [\\]

[\] If there is one person I do despise more than another, it is the man who does not think exactly the same on all topics as I do … [\\]

[\] … foolish people … who have never experienced much … will tell you that mental distress is far more agonizing than bodily … all nonsense … An aching head soon makes one forget an aching heart [etc.] … when a man feels really hungry he does not feel anything else … [most] do not understand what it means to die for bread while others waste it. [\\]

[\] If you wish to thoroughly enjoy your dinner, take a thirty mile country walk after breakfast and don’t touch anything till you get back. [\\]

[\] … drinking is one of those subjects with which it is inadvisable to appear too well acquainted. The days are gone when it was considered manly … [\\]

[\] New furniture can make a palace, but it takes old furniture to make a home … [\\]

[\] … we laugh no merrier on velvet cushions than we did on wooden chairs. [\\]

[\] Fancy a married woman [Xantippe] doomed to live on … without one single quarrel with her husband [Socrates]! A man ought to humor his wife in these things. [\\]

[\] … a very good little boy … wanted to go to sea. And the captain asked him what he could do. He [listed many educational achievements]. ‘Werry good …' said the man of the sea, ‘and ken ye kerry coals?’ [\\]

[\] … when you want to marry. Great ability is not required so much as [a] little usefulness … Give [a woman] a man who can do an errand neatly … not one of your scientific or literary nuisances … [\\]

[\] … [then] she said she could never be anything to us but a sister—as if any man wanted more sisters! [\\]

[\] … the … glamour of the past … the wonderful deeds … and extraordinary events … it takes three strong men to believe half of them. [\\]

[\] … ever since Adam’s fifty-first birthday … From all accounts, the world has been getting worse ever since it was created … it must have been a remarkably delightful place when it was first opened to the public … [\\]

[\] … the past [is not] the building; it is but the foundation. [\\]

[\] Opportunities flit by while we sit regretting the chances we have lost, and the happiness that comes to us we heed not because of the happiness that is gone … The past is gone from us forever … No single word can ever be unspoken, no single step retraced … [\\]

[\] It is at school that he injures himself for life. [\\]

[\] Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need … [\\]

[\] I stumble on … I know not how or care, for the way seems [to be] leading nowhere, and there is no light to guide … But at last … I find that I have grown into myself. [\\]


Human beings have the most amazing capacity to build AND the most amazing capacity to destroy … in communities and in their own lives.

Most people would agree that communities and nations cannot become wealthier if they destroy more than they create so I thought it might be worthy to note Benjamin Franklin’s list of (human) virtues and the seven deadly sins. If you had a ‘spectrum,’ you’d find the terms on opposite ends.



• temperance • silence • order • resolution • frugality • industry • sincerity • justice • moderation • cleanliness • tranquility • chastity • humility •

I don’t think Benjamin Franklin thought he ever managed to get these all right all at once because as soon as he started working on one, something else ‘slipped’ but I do believe he credited his success in life (and the success of the country he helped found and build: the United States) to the fact that he worked on them at all. Many lists of virtues (if you go searching) are much longer.


The Seven Deadly Sins:

• wrath • greed • sloth • pride • lust • envy • gluttony •

War is not on this list but I’m sure you could find wars tied to ALL of them, in some form or fashion. The United States (because it is still young globally) initially had an advantage in that the country had no ‘internal history’ to bind it to ‘past grievances.’ The nation no longer is able to say that today.


Nations are very ‘focused’ today on ‘educating’ citizens but most ‘book’ learning in mathematics, science and technology glosses over how to deal with human nature and the virtues which constantly need to be worked on and the vices which constantly need ‘self-vigilance.’ Virtues tend to create wealth and build communities. Vices tend to destroy wealth and tear down communities.

No generation has or will ever find any ‘easy’ answers for ALL the problems that can potentially crop up. The old problems usually are just magnified or diminished as we change the ‘shell’ that we call ‘our world.’ And then we have to ask: How do we deal with them?


P.S. The author: Jerome K. Jerome. His books are now out of copyright (which allowed me to liberally quote them) but still in print: Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow (1886 … written before he married) and Three Men in a Boat (1889 … written after he married). He grew up poor but ultimately financially grounded himself. (If you ever read the full texts (rather short), I hope I didn’t ruin them for you.)

P.S. P.S. [\] denotes the beginning of some of Jerome K. Jerome’s text and [\\] denotes the end of some of his text.