Water freezes at 32 degrees F. A physical law. Anyone wishing to ice skate has no choice but to wait until that physical law is satisfied. However, if we wish to play a game, all the “laws” or rules are man-made. We do as we like. “Baseball” exists nowhere else but in the collective mind. We do as we like when we play baseball.

Economics is one of the games we invented, including the artifacts that go along with the practice. Unfortunately we have crossed over into a never, never land. We believe that one of the artifacts is real. We believe “money” is wealth when in reality money only represents wealth. Money keeps track of productivity, nothing more. The consequence of this fantasy of ours creates much havoc. Perhaps a good example is to compare a teacher with someone claiming the “wealth” of $1 billion. It will take the hard-working teacher more that 300 lifetimes to equal $1 billion. We imagine this to be true when, after all, it is only a phantasm. There is no human on this planet capable of providing the productivity represented by $1 billion.

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It is easy to understand how this came about. From infancy we saw our parents manipulate “money,” we then learned to count “money,” and we had fervent wishes for more “money.” Productivity and, only productivity, has changed the face of America. That is the reality. We became, in other words, more efficient. Money was only a means for exchanging effort for effort, as efficiently as possible.

Then the day of the speculators dawned, and we saw “dollars” being harvested with the other half of the transaction ignored. There was no “productivity.” But “money” demands an exchange. There must be an exchange. There must be productivity. Our Governor wants to give a “Hedge Fund” money for new quarters. But, there is no productivity. Hedge funds produce nothing. No bread and butter, and no table to put it on!

Gambling casinos produce nothing, and yet they are a source of “money.” It is empty money. Drained of any value. If we all worked in casinos we would starve, every one of us. Those elected to manage Connecticut need to put “money” in its proper place and think instead of productivity and efficiency.

When I started working in 1950, we were able to build a house and send two to college — without crushing debt. Pay equaled our productivity. Today, the  productivity of the average worker has increased even more — by 180 percent —  but, somebody else has grabbed the “money” on the way to your pocket.

Dare I say, Wake Up, America !

Oscar Burgeson is a Bristol resident.

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