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Contents

Lietaer, Bernard Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub
Medium 9781609942960

7 Strategies for Business and Entrepreneurs

Lietaer, Bernard Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Our Age of Anxiety is, in great part, the result of trying
to do today’s jobs with yesterday’s tools.

MARSHALL MCLUHAN,
Canadian philosopher of
communication theory

In response to one U.S. governor’s braggadocio about massive job creation in his state during the nation’s continued employment slump, some wag responded, “Yes, I know all about his job creation; I’ve got three of those jobs.”

“There’s been great progress made since the end of World War II to create a broad base of high-paying jobs, although the bulk of those positions were in unionized manufacturing companies, nearly all of which have cut back, shut down or outsourced. High-wage jobs left urban manufacturing districts to be replaced by low-wage service jobs or occupational deserts.”1

If this prospect isn’t tough enough, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Martin Ford writes about how automation eventually will eliminate most jobs.2 Jeremy Rifkin makes a similar case in his insightful book, The End of Work. MIT economist David Autor predicts that automation will eliminate middle-class jobs, and shows that the trend of demand for mainly high-and low-wage extremes will continue for the foreseeable future.

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3 A Fate Worse Than Debt: Interest’s Hidden Consequences

Lietaer, Bernard Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

It may sometimes be expedient for a man
to heat the stove with his furniture.
But he should not delude himself by
believing that he has discovered a
wonderful new method of heating his
premises.

LUDWIG VON MISES, Austrian economist

The small village was bustling with locals proudly displaying their wares, chickens, eggs, cheeses, and bread as they entered into the time-honored ritual of negotiations and trade for what they needed. At harvests, or whenever someone’s barn needed repair after a storm, the village-dwellers simply exercised another age-old tradition of helping one another, knowing that if they themselves had a problem one day, others would come to their aid in turn. No coins ever exchanged hands.

One market day, a stranger with shiny black shoes and an elegant white hat came by and observed with a knowing smile. When one farmer who wanted a big ham ran around to corral the six chickens needed in exchange, the stranger could not refrain from laughing. “Poor people,” he said, “so primitive.”

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8 Strategies for Governments

Lietaer, Bernard Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Money is the crowbar of power.

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE,
19th-century German philosopher

Trash was a nightmare problem in Curitiba, the capital of the southeastern state of Paraná, Brazil. There was a large slum population dwelling in shantytowns, makeshift, improvised housing constructed from corrugated steel, cinder blocks, and whatever else was available.

“Back in 1989, the primary problem we faced was garbage in the favelas. We needed to avoid pollution in our streams and, of course, to protect the kids who were playing in what were very contaminated areas. The problem was that we had to have the garbage collected with trucks, but they couldn’t get into the favelas because the pathways were too narrow and the terrain was very hilly,” recalls Jaime Lerner, who was mayor at the time.

The issue was further compounded because the city simply did not have the funds to deal with the crisis. Raising the necessary money through conventional methods, such as requesting funding from the federal government, was not an option. Something else had to be done.

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2 The Myth of Money: What It Really Is

Lietaer, Bernard Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

So you think that money is the root of all evil. Have you ever asked what is the root of all money?

AYN RAND, Russian-born American writer

It is a slow day in the small Saskatchewan town of Pumphandle, and streets are deserted. Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody is living on credit. A tourist visiting the area drives through town, stops at the motel, and lays a $100 bill on the desk saying he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs to pick one for the night. As soon as he walks upstairs, the motel owner grabs the bill and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher.

The butcher takes the $100 and runs down the street to retire his debt to the pig farmer. The pig farmer takes the $100 and heads off to pay his bill to his supplier, the Co-op. The guy at the Co-op takes the $100 and runs to pay his debt to the local prostitute, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer her “services” on credit.

The hooker rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill with the hotel owner. The hotel proprietor then places the $100 back on the counter so the traveler will not suspect anything. At that moment, the traveler comes down the stairs, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, picks up the $100 bill, and leaves.

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