I was at the farm of a friend of mine. He wasn’t always a farmer. Most of his life, he has been a successful entrepreneur and innovator. He is well known in the tech world, and yet he seems to have rejected much of technology and has endeavored to return to a simpler, more physical, self-sustaining world.
Even as I write this article, I am depending on multiple systems to perform the task. I have a computer hooked up to my home’s electrical system, which is connected to a massive electrical grid for the East Coast of the United Sates. Writing this article is a complex process involving thousands of switches, electronic identification and payments. When I am completed with this article, I will send it over the Internet run by even more systems to my editor; this is so much more complex than pounding out an article on a manual typewriter. I bet some kids today would wonder what a typewriter is or how it works without electricity.
Let’s get back to the farm and my friend. We were standing in a field of tomatoes. He picked a large red one and held it up face-high and asked, “What do I have here?”
A bit confused, I answered, “A red tomato.”
“That’s true, but it is real,” he responded. “It is a tomato. I can sell it. I can eat it. I can hold it. It is mine.”
He then took a large bite out of it, so I assumed he wanted to eat it.
“What’s your point?” I asked.
As he ate, he explained that in the modern world, with all its technology, we live lives of delusion. It is hard to determine what we have and what is real. He talked about our monetary system and the fact that our money is no longer backed by anything real, like gold, but rather a promise made by corrupt politicians.
He was right. My bank accounts are nothing more than electronic promises made by a binary code on some computer relying on delicate systems just like the very article I am writing. I thought about how fragile this electronic world is and how quickly everything we have can be lost by the flick of a switch or a change in a government edict.
There are countries right now discussing the total elimination of money. All transactions would be electronic. Physical wealth would be a thing of the past. There is already a movement in India to try to eliminate most money and require only electronic purchases in the future. These will be purchases dependent on systems you have no control over and systems that can be tracked. Agencies will know your every purchase. Your wealth will be what the state says it is. The concept of private property will be lost to systems and central planners.
I think it is time that we start thinking about becoming more self-sustaining and less dependent on systems. Think about growing much of your own food. Prepare to have reserves of food in case systems do break down. Network with friends who also want to self-sustain.
To some extent, we should maybe think about returning to the real and networking with others in cooperatives. We should prepare for the worst but hope for the best. We should also understand that true wealth is in families, community and something you can hold in your hand, like my friend’s tomato. ◆