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Zero sum game

Somethings are zero sum games, as in for one person to gain, another has to lose. Futures are a zero sum game, as is poker. A few things aren’t and this is the basis of the cock block theory of economics. I’m not so sure. Despite the fact there is a seemingly limitless amount of money since the feds just keep printing it, there are only so many resources. So, I don’t think the theory works so well with respect to those resources.

11 Responses to “Zero sum game”

  1. HL Says:

    There are limited resources and we all compete for them. If I am “bigger, faster, stronger, smarter” and take the only apple on the tree, you will have to wait for yours, or go get it from another tree, which deprives someone else. When there is an abundance of a given resource, there isn’t much competition for it.

    The questions is, if someone on down the line takes an apple from a tree that no one else would have taken, perhaps because all of those who would try are too “short, slow, weak, stupid” to even get the apple against NO competition…has a “wrong” been committed?

    It is strange that so many on the left declare evolution undebateable as an absolute truth, then shit the bed when someone suggests society or economy should also work that way. I mean, if “survival of the fittest” is the way of the universe, then why should anything be different?

  2. el bombardero Says:

    The reality of limited resources is the major flaw of the infinite growth model, and one of the flaws in the way that we exercise capitalism. No economic system is without flaws, and I think capitalism offers some opportunities that other systems don’t offer. But we need to stop believing that capitalism is the growth model that is the salvation of mankind. You can’t have growth forever because eventually we are going to run out of the resources that make growth possible.

    We are witnessing the collapse of that model now, and our kids will not be living in the same land of opportunity that our parents enjoyed.

  3. SayUncle Says:

    Well, that and the fact that there is now so much money, it’s not worth as much.

  4. comatus Says:

    Astounding, e.b., I don’t think I’d ever seen a tin-foil condom before.

  5. Melody Byrne Says:

    Resources ARE limited, depending on which resources you’re referring to. Physical resources are limited, as is time.

    However, humans have one resource that we never seem to run out of: our ability for ingenuity and creativity. The ability to add value to either a produce or a service or prevent value from being lost is what people pay other people to do. This is the very basis of wealth creation and why, even with limited resources, we’ve gone from being at the mercy of nature to warm water-tight homes and cheap food that we didn’t need to grow ourselves.

    When someone is attempting to make money by adding value and they are continually hampered in their efforts by a bureaucracy (which adds no value of its own) does anyone win? The bureaucracy feeds itself for a short time off of the labor of others, and some moronic voter gets to feel good because they made the world “more fair”. However, who knows what would have happened if that inventor didn’t need to spend days each year dealing with insane paperwork and bureaucratic hurdles. Maybe they would have discovered a real alternative to gasoline or a house-cleaning robot if they’d just been able to devote more time to the task.

    There are tons of people who spend all day, every day, preventing others from accomplishing any kind of wealth creation. Lawmakers, bureaucrats, lawyers, rivals, competitors using methods other than competition (sweetheart deals, friends in the administration), leeches of all sorts. What good could they accomplish if, instead of focusing on making life harder for the truly productive, they spend their time learning how to add value themselves?

  6. Dustydog Says:

    Eating lunch at my desk; link is blocked for “Racism and Hatred”. Makes me want to read it even more.

  7. Gene Hoffman Says:

    Everytime someone thinks we’re going to run out of some key resource, we humans figure out a replacement – and usually a far superior replacement.

    You’ll note on the gas bump a lack of a choice for “Whale Oil” between “Unleaded” and “Premium Unleaded.”

    Time is about the only finite resource and, on one measure which is human mortality, we’re making more of that every year too.

    -Gene

  8. A Critic Says:

    “Despite the fact there is a seemingly limitless amount of money since the feds just keep printing it, there are only so many resources”

    That’s not increasing the amount of money. That’s just transferring the value of money from old money to new money, just like any other counterfeiting.

    Resources may be finite, value and money are not. Value is infinite.

  9. Lyle Says:

    “Resources” are only “resources” because of human ingenuity and productivity. That cannot be over-stated. Sure; there is a limited amount of iron on the planet for example, but a; there is a shitload of it, b; it was never a “resource” until someone figured out how to use it, and c; if we’re desperate enough, we’ll come up with alternatives or go out and get it off planet.

    This “we’re all competing for limited resources” meme is waaaaay overdone, usually for the purpose of trampling liberty, ginning up hate for certain industries, or otherwise making excuses for a total lack of imagination.

    Unleash human ingenuity and productivity, and there will practically never be a “lack of resources”. Human ingenuity, and the freedom to use it, is the primary “resource” anyone need be concerned with, so quit fucking around with it and we’ll be fine.

  10. Rob Says:

    Are resources limited? Sure; the universe is finite, after all. Somehow, I doubt we’ll be able to actually exploit all of them before the death of the universe, though. There’ll be a few hiccups along the way when technology fails to outpace consumption, but they will be minor footnotes. Necessity is the mother of invention and we’re damn inventive, when you get right down to it.

  11. MichigammeDave Says:

    Ms. Byrne nailed it. There’s a difference between wealth and money. There is a finite amount of money available, regardless of how much the Fed decides to print. If they put more paper out there, it’s worth less.
    But wealth is something else entirely. “Wealth creation” is a product of human ingenuity, and has little to do with fiat currency. Unfortunately, another product of human nature is envy – and that’s the trait that makes people who can’t create wealth believe that those who can are doing so at someone else’s expense.
    The solution is to stop electing that kind of person to national office.