Sunday, August 29, 2010

An Island in the Middle of Nowhere

Is obviously not the best place to be in difficult economic times unless it is greatly self-sufficient and immune from the problems tormenting the other population magnets -- because isolation limits choices.

While it is nice to have plenty of sunshine, fresh air, and water as far as the eye can see -- those are the givens of any particular environment, but not the necessities of food (including drinkable water), shelter, and clothing, which is what isolated, independent societies need to produce, rather than just the money. The basic productivity of a society, determines the value of money -- which is the medium for those exchanges, which is largely worthless otherwise.

That is the problem with any currency that is mainly a storehouse of perceived value rather than a medium of exchange -- like gold, precious stones, and illiquid real estate. You'd better enjoy it as much as it is -- because your chances of exchanging it for something of greater value and usefulness, is non-existent.

The fundamental problem of Hawaii is not any lack of money -- but the lack and diminishing opportunities for beneficial exchanges of the sort that make life better, which becomes more apparent with such ending of the illusions that they are going to successfully be able to swap trash for cash. That only happens in a "perfect world" delusions.

Not that one can't recycle trash to something more useful -- but that has to take place within a closed system, or internal economy to create greater value. Because it is the act of creating greater value from that which was fully used, or useless(worthless), that is the action of increasing wealth and prosperity -- and not just getting more money to bid the increasingly scarce goods, higher, until ultimately, all but a few, are locked out from participation in those markets of exchanges.

Implied in any "paradise," is the feeling that the best things in life are abundant and cheap, if not free, otherwise competing warm venues like Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Texas, are much more compelling opportunities to take one's chances and place one's bets.

That is particularly true for the Baby Boom generation that might have been expected to fuel further real estate speculations in Hawaii -- and growth. There is a point in which even fantasies becomes "unaffordable."

The surprising thing for most newcomers to the Islands, is the realization that all the natural advantages of developing a culture that optimizes life under those advantageously mild conditions have been literally "taken for granted," and thus abused and wasted in that way. People have to appreciate what they have to make it greater, and not diminish it because it is "free," until one day, it is simply gone -- and they have no way of recreating it, or making something even better. "That's never been done before."

But that is the value of culture and societies, and not merely honoring the past by hoping they could repeat the old ways forevermore. Life doesn't work out that way for anybody. Far more likely is that even their best laid plans, come out differently -- and so the value of any "education" they get, is to prepare one adequately for those challenges of different (unexpected) outcomes, and not just the one they have all their bets on -- "happily forever after."

But frequently, the worst thing that could happen, is the best thing that ever happened -- and changed one's life in ways one could never have imagined it, which more often than not, are the truly great success stories in life, and not simply honoring and repeating the patterns, of every generation before.


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