The Wealth of Humans
“Ultimate excellence lies not in winning every battle but in defeating the enemy without ever fighting.” – Sun Tzu
What is wealth? For it is certainly not money – that is only a representation or unit to measure wealth of a certain kind. Adam Smith said wealth is the annual produce of the land and labour of the society. Some kinds of wealth – often the more valued ones – are immeasurable. The word ‘wealth’ comes from the same route as the word ‘health’ – the old English word ‘weal’ meaning well, as in wellbeing, are you well? An economy is tasked with the purpose of fulfilling human needs and genuine desires through utilizing that land and labour of society. Fulfilling the needs and genuine desires of humans is incidentally exactly what ethics is about and Gandhi’s economic philosophy saw no distinction between economics and ethics. Money has only existed for 5000 years or so – just a fraction of the time homo sapiens have been around – so we have been practicing economics and ethics pretty successfully and sustainably for the entirety of our evolution. Only during the age of ‘civilization’ (unlike Gandhi’s definition in his famous quip, I will use both the words civilization and civilized in a pejorative manner and intend to convince you by the end that it is right to do so) have we humans been able to separate economics and ethics and unsurprisingly during this time we have fucked up the Earth and ourselves. But it is important to think about who ‘we’ are. It is pretty obvious that most people would agree with Gandhi yet some unfortunately do not seem to, as evidenced by the state of the world today. Why would ‘we’ suddenly choose to mess up the Earth and ourselves? And how can we make sure that humans are properly and ethically served by the economy?
This book intends not only to explain real economics but to curate key information without which we cannot hope to develop strategies that can set us on a path towards achieving real affluence and realize the true wealth of humans. Firstly we must understand that we are in a war of sorts, because there are forces which do not want the economy to serve normal humans and will do anything to stop that from happening. That is why I have laid out the information along the strategic lines which Sun Tzu developed in the 2500 year-old Art of War, and which have not been disproven. Master Sun said “Know the enemy, know yourself and victory is never in doubt, not in a hundred battles. He who knows self but not the enemy will suffer one defeat for every victory. He who knows neither self nor enemy will fail in every battle.” So the environment, the enemy and the self are the first three chapters and the last chapter covers some of the solutions which need to be implemented. It does not matter which order the chapters are read in as they are designed to feed into each other. This is really a book celebrating the genius of life on Earth and analyzing the role of humans within it.
I hope to show that: being uncivilized is far better than being civilized; there is no such thing as ‘left-wing’ and ‘right-wing’, only missing information; both competition and co-operation are necessary, normal and symbiotic; evil is a product of evolution, just as altruism is; humans are perfectly capable of being as positive a force on the Earth as they are currently negative, including being able to improve nature (not improve on nature); humans are the greatest net producers; left to their own devices, humans will make good and sustainable decisions; economics can never be understood without looking at and engaging with nature (including the nature of humans); the solutions to the world’s problems are instinctively understood by everyone; and in fact the problems are the solutions.
As a generalist by nature, and having always felt the world is just plain wrong, I have been drawn to information which I instinctively feel is important to bring about lasting revolution or, alternatively, as preparation for Armageddon. The range of topics covered makes this a very broad analysis with detail where conceptually appropriate. I believe specialization gives one a narrow picture of the world and if we are to change the world for the better, we all need to zoom out and see the bigger picture. In what is intended to be a sort of amalgamation of the best bits from Ted Talks and popular science literature, I have melded together theories, ideas, discoveries and concepts from many mainstream and well-known sources to develop a holistic understanding of human life on Earth. If you wish to find out more, or are unsure, about a subject raised in this book, please do follow up the references since I cannot cover all the details and keep the book concise. Three of my favorite popular science books have partly inspired each of the three chapters, two of them mainstream and the other on the fringes of our culture – Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond, Political Ponerology by Andrew Lobaczewski and The Blank Slate by Steven Pinker. Those works raise the important strategic points that the evolution of history must be understood, that evil must be understood and that human nature must be understood as far as possible by everyone in order that we can begin to approach the ultimate excellence Sun Tzu speaks of, escape our enslavement and provide great wealth for all humans and all other organisms. The hope is, that by picking out already condensed information from a wide range of subjects, this book is an accessible and super-concentrated recipe for winning the information war.
 (Tzu & Minford, 2002)