Since I first posted the Spherical Model website, back in 2010, I’ve left it pretty nearly untouched. Today I’m contemplating a change—in how I label the Economic Sphere.
Each of the spheres has a positive goal north, and a negative goal south. The Political Sphere’s north is freedom, and south is tyranny. The Social Sphere’s north is civilization, and south is savagery. I often use the term Civilization Sphere, just as a shortcut to the goal.
Up until now I’ve been referring to the Economic Sphere’s north as free-enterprise economy, and south as controlled economy. That orientation won’t change, but free-enterprise is really the “how” of getting north. What we’re really aiming at is a northern prosperity, to avoid a southern poverty. [If you’re new to the Spherical Model, the spherical orientation does not coincide with our earth; the directions refer to a visual model for ideas, policies, and practices.]
|Economic Sphere, with edits|
I think it has been clear, prior to this post, that we were getting freedom, prosperity, and civilization by going north in all three spheres. A quick search shows I’ve used that exact phrase in 16 different posts. But I’m getting more consistent at making it a theme. Half of those posts came in 2014; another 5 in 2013. So I’m making the change to make it unmistakable: there is no path to prosperity in a southern economic model. In the south, instead of the one who earns the wealth deciding how to spend it, someone else decides: the tyrannical state (central planners) in the eastern quadrant, the tyrannical crime lords (mafia, mob, gangs, marauders….) in the chaotic western quadrant.
Are there examples of prosperity in the south? Probably, in history, here and there, depending on how you define it. In a monarchy, under the rule of law (as opposed to arbitrary ruler’s law), where there is access to natural resources, and trade, and a lot of autonomy among individual citizens, you’re going to see some prosperity. Still, you’d be hard-pressed to find a large economic success before the United States where even the poor are so unlikely to starve or be without shelter and clothing (subsistence), and probably have what other cultures would consider luxuries.
When you take away a person’s control over the money they spend their life to earn, you take away that person’s incentive to work hard, innovate, and risk savings. An economy that discourages hard work, innovation, and capital investment cannot lead to prosperity. It can’t even maintain a lack of poverty; once the capital from a better economy is used up, poverty either creeps in or crashes in.
With each of the spheres, you have a 45th parallel line in each hemisphere. So, in the Economic Sphere, above the 45th parallel is true prosperity. People are able to overcome the state of nakedness, shelterness, and lack of experience they were born with to become self-sufficient in providing for their needs—and many of their wants. They have life, liberty, and property, and are able to accumulate wealth according to their successful use of their capital. There will likely be people who cannot, through no fault of their own, take care of their own needs—the very old, the chronically ill or disabled—but there are enough willing charitable givers to keep those people fed, clothed and sheltered better than the poor in a southern hemisphere community.
Down south, below the 45th parallel is true poverty, with a lot of subsistence living—and some dying of hunger or lack of water, basic cleanliness, clothing, and shelter from the elements. And there’s very little hope of getting out of that miserable condition. There may be a few elites with great wealth, usually the ruling tyrants and their minions, who do not give freely to alleviate the suffering of the poor. This is the condition in much of the world—throughout history, and many places today.
We know the simple economic answer to poverty: allow individuals to control the wealth they make. You tie into the political sphere by having limited government to protect life, liberty, and property. You tie into the social sphere—civilization—with honesty, respect for property, family strength, avoiding covetousness, and encouraging voluntary charitable giving.
These answers are simple, and they’re proven. But the solution isn’t easy, because the world is oriented toward the southern hemisphere. The masses of humanity seem unaware of the northern hemisphere of possibility above them, so they oscillate between statist control and mob rule control. The regular workers out there would be happy to just be left alone to do the work they want, pursue their own path, take their own risks. It’s a natural yearning of the human heart to be free to pursue happiness our own way. But the discouragement and fear mongering offered up by the controllers have left them looking only down.
The goal is to spread the message: look up. We can all have better than tyranny, poverty, and savagery. Follow the right principles, and we can move on up north to freedom, prosperity, and civilization.