A Course of Continuing Education Learned Through the Study of Life and Current Global Markets
February, 2000 – Update
The Economic Power of Play
WORLD REPORT Update, February 11, Little Horse Creek. Last night I sat by the creek listening to its torrents caused by the melting snow. As the sun set, Ma (our trusty spotted hound who showed up starving last year in the pumpkin patch-WR issue 12-99 and stayed) was romping about the meadow in play. She’s probably a year old now but is still a puppy at heart. Watching her having so much fun chasing nothing in particular started me thinking. As adults we learn to take everything (especially matters relating to money) so seriously. We have forgetten how to play.
Yet if we look back over the past few years we will see how little differences and play have created huge, gigantic, incalculable amounts of wealth.
The little difference is in the way telephone companies charge for use. In the U.S. phone users pay a set charge and make local calls freely. Yet in Europe the phone calls are charged for all calls (even local) at a per minute of use rate.
I believe this little difference created a subtle change in the mentality of American versus European youths. Remember as a kid how you spent endless hours chatting on the phone (or how your kids and grandkids do now)? In Europe this was not so, the price of such conversation was metered and way too high.
This changed the way Americans think about, feel and use technology to disseminate information freely. This subtle change helped create the culture that led to the Internet and the concept of opening information to everyone at no charge. Yet all this talking was just a form of play.
Then came the computer and freer thinking American kids started playing computer games. Here another subtle difference took effect. European education is much tougher than in the U.S. European kids in school don’t have much time to play. Yet the games which so absorbed our American children led to a human intimacy with the computer perhaps never encountered before. That understanding matched with the free spending telephoning days helped the Internet to be born.
Take this a step further and perhaps it all makes sense. The U.S. is less reverent of tradition. School and learning old things are less important. Play is a way of learning what is new, of matching imagination and exercise without the fear of failure. Think about that and we might see why God created play.
From a practical point of view one of the greatest college drop outs in recent history has to be Bill Gates. He probably was too busy playing computer games to bother with school! Look where his play led him.
All these thoughts lead me to recommend a novel I am reading entitled “Factoring Humanity”. This is a novel that may some day help you create wealth. Here’s why.
In the August 1999 issue of WORLD REPORTS, I wrote about Quantum Computers and the mind blowing changes they will wreak upon our society over the next thirty years.
Smart investors will learn what these computers are and how they work as soon as they can. Quantum computers will be among the next really big waves (bigger than Microsoft). Yet this is not easy, because the concepts and sciences involved are complex and defy conventional thought. Now thanks to a recommendation from EClub advisor Steve Rosberg, I am reading this novel which is a well written, enjoyable, easy to read, science fiction novel that also helps understand the workings of quantum computers. What an enjoyable way to get ahead in the world! Get this book right now. You can order it through book stores or here on the site.
The fortunes of the future belong to those who learn how to look ahead and break traditional bounds. The next billionaires will create their wealth in industries that don’t even exist today. We probably won’t find these secrets by working hard either. So relax, read a novel and enjoy the process. The real future is in play!
Factoring Humanity, by Robert J. Sawyer. Published by Tor Science Fiction books. It’s 2007. A signal is detected coming from deep space. Mysterious, unintelligible data streams in for ten years. A professor who has devoted her life to deciphering this message finally understands and learns a new technology that can rip through the barriers of time and space, holding the promise of a new stage in human evolution or the end of the human race.