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Do you remember the Great Depression? Probably not, but you at least know what I’m talking about. One day people went to work, and everything was business as usual. The next day, suddenly, there was no more work because apparently there was no more money. Let me explain how that thought is actually insane.

What happened during the Great Depression? Or even now during our Great Recession? Did our resources cease to exist? Did the cows, fish, and plants of the land disappear? Did the sun go out? DId workers become lazier, dumber, or just lose interest? No, of course not. We have more or less the same amount of resources as before the Great Recession, and workers still have the energy and desire to go to work. So what does it mean that there is no more money?

This is the problem with confusing money (symbol) with wealth (physical reality). We all do this. You go to the store and load your cart with goodies, and then you run up to the checker and he says to you, “that’ll be 40 dollars please.” And then everyone gets depressed. “Damn, I just lost 40 dollars,” you think. But all you did was part with the paper! Your real wealth is in the cart, but nobody thinks of this. We only think about the paper we lost. This is insane folks.

What happened during the Great Depression and the Great Recession is a slump in money. But we tend to be so naive that we do not realize that money is just a measurement of wealth, in the same way that inches are a measurement of length. It would be like working a construction job, going to work, and the foreman telling you, “Sorry, you’re out of a job Peter. We ran out of inches.” Because of this, we get into unbelievable trouble. In order to have the possibility of a better life, a change has to occur inside. One way to start might be to not mistake symbols for reality. But let’s not forget, every stick has two ends.