Thursday, January 29, 2015

Self-Reliance Tip of the Week - Luck Be the Laborer

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It's no secret that Benjamin Franklin is one of my heros. He was random, fun, wise, creative and loved life. He was also no stranger to work. In 1729 he published "A Modest Enquiry into the Nature and Necessity of Paper Currency" in which he explains that without labor, money, gold or any other currency has absolutely no value. During this time, there were many people who were love-struck with the possibility of digging up a pirate's booty (not the hind end...his loot). They would spend money, time and labor to dig holes in "hopes" of finding the stolen goods. So...basically stealing from a thief. What a waste! Not to mention having to make conscious efforts to avoid these rather large gopher holes! It kind of reminds me of what happened to so many people as they blazed the country to get to California during the Gold Rush. So many lost everything and gained nothing, returning home empty handed.

My buddy Ben said:

"The riches of a country are to be valued by the quantity of labour its inhabitants are able to purchase, and not by the quantity of silver and gold they possess...Trade in general being nothing else but the exchange of labour for labour, the value of things is...most justly measured by labour."

He had a friend in Agricola of Chester County who gave his son a good plantation. The father told the son, "My son, I give thee now a valuable parcel of land; I assure thee I have found a considerable quantity of gold by digging there; thee may'st do the same. But thee must carefully observe this: Never to dig more than plough-deep."
(Benjamin Franklin by Carl Van Doven, pgs 98, 102)

That my friends, is excellent advice. 

The April 1978 General Conference has a little more to add to this topic. The then, Elder Boyd K. Packer said:

The Welfare handbook instructs: “[We must] earnestly teach and urge Church members to be self-sustaining to the full extent of their powers. No true Latter-day Saint will … voluntarily shift from himself the burden of his own support. So long as he can, under the inspiration of the Almighty and with his own labors, he will supply himself with the necessities of life.” (1952, p. 2.)

If a member is unable to sustain himself, then he is to call upon his own family, and then upon the Church, in that order, and not upon the government at all.

This brings me to today. We have people who have saved for college educations to find out that that savings may be in vain because government overreach wants to make everything free. Many people put savings aside thinking they will get their necessities later and put off becoming self-reliant because there is a lot of time for that later. Currency can be a very fragile thing. Especially for the consumer hungry, production starving USA.

President Brigham Young said during the time of the Gold Rush, " Never let anything go to waste. Be prudent, save everything, and what you get more than you can take care of yourselves, ask your neighbors to help you... But pause for a moment, and suppose you had millions of bushels [of wheat] to sell, and could sell it for twenty dollars per bushel, or for a million dollars per bushel, no matter what amount, so that you sell all your wheat, and transport it out of the country, and you are left with nothing more than a pile of gold, what good would it do you?You could not eat it, drink it, wear it, or carry it off where you could have something to eat. The time will come that gold will hold no comparison in value to a bushel of wheat. Gold is not to be compared with it in value."
Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses

Even though I seem to be a bit quote happy today, there is still so much to be gained from all of these wise men. Saving money is a wise thing to do; however, according to President Young, gold (or cash or bit coin) will hold no comparison to wheat (or anything else that people work for). What if I won the lottery or happened upon a pirate stash? All of my problems wouldn't vanish. Some of them would, but what would I gain from not working for it? Notta whole hecka. Adam was able to eat bread because he had a sweaty face (I know, sounds weird) - but it was a blessing to him. And so it will also be to us. 

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