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Insights: Prosperity - by Hook or by Crook
December 07, 2010

Prosperity - by Hook or by Crook

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"Despite a voluminous and often fervent literature on "income distribution," the cold fact is that most income is not distributed: It is earned."

- Thomas Sowell

Having recently come to terms with the theft of key items of electronic equipment belonging to New Insights Africa and having spent much time thinking about the mindset of those who would seek to enrich themselves through depriving others, I thought that the newsletter I received this morning from Gordon Stuart of Sentinel Advisory Services, hit the spot perfectly.

Five points to ponder

Stuart was responding to the calls from various bodies in this country for the nationalisation of mines and for the altering of our constitution to allow for land repossession at the State's discretion.

Here are five points he suggested need to be taken into account:

  1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity, by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.

  2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.

  3. A government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.

  4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.

  5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work, because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is the beginning of the end of any nation.

Fair Exchange

As I read through the simple but powerful points Stuart made, I kept thinking back to the subject of Fair Exchange - something that we, at New Insights, teach as a core principle of good life coaching.

We strongly encourage our trainees and coaches to practice the concept of 'Fair Exchange' in their dealings with clients (or anyone else for that matter) because we believe this:

Only in the case of both parties to any transaction feeling that they have received sufficient value from the exchange, is that exchange morally and ethically justifiable and will that exchange bring about greater good.

That's rather a mouthful but consider this.

Life involves a series of inputs and outputs.

You've heard the oft-used sayings: "What you put in is what you get out," "You get what you give" and "What goes around comes around." Over the longer-term these are immutable truths.

Life, like the Universe in general is characterised by a state of balance. The more we humans try to upset that balance, the more we will experience upset ourselves. The more we try to take without giving, the more we will find ourselves being taken from without getting.

The way to true joy and happiness

If you conduct your life by adhering to the principles of fair exchange in your many and various transactions, you will experience guiltlessness, clarity of conscience, freedom and, ultimately, greater joy and happiness.

On the other hand, if you choose to practice unfair exchange you may experience some short-term gratification but at the expense of true joy and happiness in the longer-term.

Most out-of-exchange

Theft is, of course, the most out-of-exchange transaction one can engage in.

One party enriches him or herself entirely at the expense of another and the 'value' in the transaction (at least in the short-term) accrues entirely to the one committing the crime. In fact, the very use of the word 'transaction' here is questionable because it carries the consent of only one party.

Scarcity of resources

The fundamental mindset on which theft, fraud, corruption, and all other distasteful out-of-exchange practices are conducted, is one of scarcity of resources.

Simply put, there is only so much to go around and if you have lots then the chances are that I won't have enough. The 'scarcity of resources' mentality becomes self- fulfilling in it's practice, as greed sets in amongst those who have and frustration and disillusionment spreads amongst those who don't.

Abundance and prosperity

Earth was always meant to offer a life of abundance to all, with transactions of a fair exchange nature, ensuring the continuance of abundance and prosperity. People who subscribe to this can be said to have an abundance mentality.

Abundance and prosperity are not just to be measured by the size of one's bank balance, though for some that is an important measure. They are measured, ultimately, by the level of joy and happiness one experiences - the whole point of life on earth.

Having a substantial bank balance can enable one to enjoy experiences that heighten one's true level of joy and happiness but only when that bank balance has been accumulated through transactions that involve fair and voluntary exchange.

As we enter the season of transactions, I wish you fair exchange in all your dealings!

Till next week...

Warm regards,


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