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Michael E. Angier

By Michael Angier

Is There a Limit to Prosperity?

Cable News Headline: "Oil Prices Rise, but the Economy is Unstoppable"

I'm not an economist, but it sure seems to me that the above headline is right on. The economy IS unstoppable. It's huge and getting bigger. I still maintain that we're at the beginning of the largest economic boom in the history of the world. See The Top Ten Ways to Exploit the Roaring 2000s.

One of the limiting beliefs held by many—either consciously or unconsciously—is that there is a finite supply of money. In other words, if one person has more, then that means someone else has less. It's simply not true, and the following story illustrates the point well.

Back in the eighties, Steven Rockefeller built a house in Cornwall, Vermont. It was reported to have cost a million dollars. Back then, a million-dollar home in Vermont was quite rare. It was a beauty, and I'm sure it's worth much more today.

My friend John Cady was one of the best commercial painters in northern Vermont, and he was fortunate enough to be awarded the painting contract for the Rockefeller mansion. I always thought it was interesting he was paid by checks written on account number ONE of the Chase Manhattan Bank.

Stay with me here, as we see how wealth was not only moved to Vermont but also how it created even MORE wealth.

Before the house was built, Rockefeller had a million dollars in his family's bank in New York. After the house was built, he still had his million dollars; it's just that now it's in the form of a house. He exchanged his interest-earning million dollars for a million-dollar appreciating asset—his home.

Now here's where it gets interesting. This was not a tit-for-tat exchange. The million dollars was transformed—cash into real estate. But there was ALSO now a million dollars in cash in the hands of contractors and building suppliers. That million was circulating through the Vermont economy and beyond.

A million dollars became two million dollars in the course of only a few months. Wealth was not only transferred—it was CREATED.

That's the power of the economy. And there's no limit to the wealth and prosperity that can be created.

. . . .






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Last Updated 04/11/2005