Growing up, one of my mum’s favourite terms was “economize”. She used this term in reference to almost everything under the sun, from asking us (insert: my brother) not to finish all slices of bread to suggesting that there wasn’t a need for too many outfits: one could “economize” what they had.
My mum is a very smart woman but wasn’t educated beyond high school. She wasn’t much of a consumer of news or reader or books from all my recollection, so her intellect was and is still innate. I didn’t realize just how deep it was until I was admitted to University to study Economics: the study of the scarcity of resources and how we manage that.
I introduced my mum only because I am in awe of how she managed to keep my 4 siblings and I afloat, with very limited resources. I grew up in a middle-class, two-parent household and while they both worked outside the home, finances were always tight. Yet I didn’t know that until I was much older and seeking the more luxurious items in life: such as trendy shoes or clothes. Throughout my early childhood, my mom had organized our family into a well-run economic system where we all pitched in with chores: cooking, farming, helping each other with homework etc. These kept us all busy in our little areas of expertise that we didn’t notice any lack.
Most world Governments that thrive do so by running a similar establishment to what my mum did. They encourage and develop many competencies in their citizenry so that each contributes to the whole. The farmers can add to the food basket, as teachers teach, doctors heal etc. Ideally, each group is compensated fairly (my mum fed us well) and can then purchase the goods or services they can’t produce. Eventually, these citizens can develop their skills enough to market them outside of their immediate surroundings thereby presenting opportunities to grow their incomes even more.
I am reliving my Economics study through the lens of my mum’s home. At what point did the perfectly “economized” household start experiencing scarcity? Was it real or created by outside notions of basic needs? It is possible for an Economy to thrive while existing in a wider, more diversified environment, which creates new supply and demand for non-native goods and services.
I will keep tacking these points only because I do extremely love Economics as a social science but also because I am a dreamer and believe that if I can figure out how the world can achieve Economic stability, as seen from my mum’s eyes, perhaps world peace is achievable after all.