Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"What makes life worth living?"

The Burning Man question:

"What makes life
worth living?"
~ Larry Harvey, founder,
The Burning Man Festival

This is not a question economists know how to ask let alone answer.  Yet it is the driving question you must answer when making any life decision such as whether or not to start a business. 
Why?  How do you quantify or measure quality of life with numbers?  Figure that out and you'll win a Nobel in Economics.

Rather, economists spend their careers quantifying what they can and of necessity ignoring any aspect of quality of life that cannot be set to numbers. 

So in the dismal world inhabited by economists, the ONLY reason to start a business is growth as defined by increasing (or decreasing) some numbers of "things", usually money or jobs or efficiency or productivity.  Economists have no language for discussing the core reasons for starting and running a business.  Take Mr. Harvey's guiding principle for his Burning Man organization, until recently, a for-profit business.

What makes life worth living?
What could starting and owning a business add to a life well-spent?  Or, what possible reasons would any sane human being have to endure the risk and hard work of starting a business?

I can name of a few, in no particular order:
  • Self-sufficiency.
  • Survival.
  • Creativity.
  • Pride of achievement.
  • Charity.
  • Independence.
  • Fraternity.
  • Community.
  • Family heritage.
  • Freedom.
Surely you can add those things important to you.

How could anyone set these important factors to the music of numbers?  As quality of life cannot be expressed in numbers, it get short shrift by economists and their models and theories.

"Economics is simply accounting on steroids."

My message: the "science" of economics is a tool of limited usefulness, not a model for measuring success in life, and most certainly a weak concept around which to run a government of the people.  As a science, Economics is completely incapable of considering the most important things in life.  To be clear, Economics is simply accounting on steroids, nothing more, nothing less. 

If you live your life pursuing any economic model without regard to quality of life - your own and the lives of others - you'll live a poor life indeed.

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The Entrepreneur's Bookshelf ~
The more you know about small business management and financing before you start, the more likely you are to succeed.  That's why I urge anyone thinking of starting a business to contact their local Small Business Development Center or Community College.  I have also organized this bookshelf for you at Powell's Books, the world's largest single site new and used bookstore, featuring the latest books on small business start-ups, marketing, and small business money management.   
A Selection Related to this Post:

Click on this link to see all the selections on ~

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