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Greg Linster

For some reason I find that people have a hard time understanding games that aren't zero-sum. Blogging is another game that is not zero-sum, but is often confused for being zero-sum.

Anyway, I really enjoyed the post. I hear people (especially in academia) obsess about GDP, as if it was the end-all measurement for the good life. I obviously think that it isn't. What if GDP is the wrong thing to measure? Personally, I like Bhutan's focus on "Gross National Happiness" instead of GDP.

Kent @ The Financial Philosopher

GNH instead of GDP. I like that!

On zero-sum, I agree that there are too many people who feel that others must lose for them to win. It's similar to the timeless mistake of thinking that giving and receiving are opposites.

Brian Gough

Thank you for that awesome post! I've never thought of it that way. It really doesn't matter does it?

Kent @ The Financial Philosopher

Thanks for the generous compliment Brian. There are certainly worse things than being the number two economy in the world...


The zero-sum is prominently echo by the press and those in the power, to manage general expectations and set up political agenda. Also GDP in current times is more pegged to inflation of fiat currency and speculation than any relation to welfare improvement or happiness of any sort (even in real times).

Though IMF is pretty wrong on US hedgemony coming to an end - the overwhelming military position only became more overwhelming, with addition of full fledge bases in afghan and iraq.


Simply phenomenal post! America’s pre-eminence in the world is not exclusively based on GDP. To conflate cultural hegemony with the overall breadth of an economy is folly. I would consider myself fairly progressive on the political spectrum yet it does trouble me that China is expanding their economy on our backs. The trade deficit speaks for itself. All of our relationships should be symbiotic. With all of the political wrangling over the budget, no one seems to be debating foreign aid, it is truly mindboggling. I think macroeconomic principles can be more easily understood on a mirco level. Before I force my household to go without, I will stop making donations to charities, etc.


Agree with this post in a touchy-feely sense, it doesn't matter as long as everyone in the world is getting along. But what if your superior gets antsy and decides to use their muscle to strong-arm you in some way. You fill in the blanks.

Kent @ The Financial Philosopher

Good points, Jamie.

Having economic power does provide a great deal of power in the form of leverage (influence on the geo-political front).

This is truly a philosophical debate. Ironically the roots of Taoism, which promotes passivity and strength in non-resistance, come from China.

A Taoist believes there is power in the lower position, in nothingness.

Examples include:

*A ship floats because the hull is empty.
*All rivers flow to the ocean because the ocean is in the lowest position.
*The tyrant does not attack the baby.
*The reed bends in the wind, while the hardened tree breaks.

Thanks for your comment...


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About Kent Thune

  • Kent Thune is a wealth manager, a writer and a philosopher... Read More


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