Tuesday, January 19, 2010
There once was a dirt poor fella who won a lottery. He won $1 million!
He promptly quit his job at McDonald's and purchased a $5 million home (placing a $500,000 deposit on it and paying $25,000/month on house payments.) He also purchased a Hummer Limosine (for special occasions) and a Jaguar (or some insanely expensive car, sorry I don't know their names). These cost another $200,000, which he paid in cash.
He hired a butler and a maid to care for his house and a chauffeur to drive him around.
"But wait!" I said to this fella, "At this rate, you'll go through your $1 million THIS year. Then you won't have enough to support this lifestyle. You'll never be able to make the house payments after this first year, nor pay for your staff or even the gas for your cars!"
"Phhht!" he said confidently. "I still have plenty of money! I'll just keep playing the lottery and I'll probably win again. Don't be such a negative thinker. My ingenuity and determination have gotten me this far, haven't they?"
"Well," I sputtered, "PERHAPS you'll win another lottery, but wouldn't it be more prudent to take advantage of this opportunity WISELY? To use the resources to ensure your children and their children might have a better life?"
"Are you kidding me?!" He shouts. "Look at the life I'm providing them! How could it get any better than this???"
Now, surely, I would think that most would agree with me that this fella was a bit fortunate in getting that windfall but he is foolishly and quickly pissing it away and he'll be worse off in the end. This is conservatism in the good, practical sense.
We have resources now, we have wealth now, but what assurance is there that we will continue indefinitely to enjoy access to "our" cheap oil in the amount to which we've become accustomed? And if we aren't assured an unending supply of cheap oil (and we most assuredly are not) or even coal or natural gas, then how wise is it for us to base an economy upon it, acting as this fella did, as if it would always be there and easily available?
Not wise at all, seems to me.
In this bleak midwinter, let us give prudence our due diligence.