What Price?

Money, Dollars, Success, BusinessThis has been puzzling me.  Maybe you can help me work it out….

I’m not even going to touch on the conspiracy theories or give any opinion on the character or behaviour of either of the protagonists here, because that’s not what interests me.  What I want to figure out is the part money plays in the story.  (Also I know it is far more complicated than I’m making it.  I just want to solve my puzzle.)

Once upon a time there were two men (as I understand the story) who were developing electricity in amazing new ways, so that it would be available to all.

Thomas Alva Edison, Inventor, 1922One was called Thomas Edison.  He was a smart, hard-headed businessman as well as a brilliant innovator.  He needed investors in order to develop his amazing stuff.

The other was called Nikola Tesla.  He was clueless with money and no good at working with people but also a brilliant innovator.  He too needed investors, for exactly the same reason.

Edison wanted to develop a business empire, selling electricity and electrical products to people.

Tesla wanted to develop free electricity, so that no one would have to buy it ever again.  He’d worked out a way of doing that.

So let’s imagine you were an astute investor, back then, with lots of money in your pocket.  Which of these men would you invest in?

It’s not a hard choice to make, is it?  Edison wins hands down, because his investors will get great returns as everyone clamours to buy his products.  Tesla doesn’t stand a chance.  You invest in his company and you get free electricity forever – but so do all the other people: the ones who didn’t invest anything.  There’s no profit to be had in something that is free.

That means the world is stuck with power stations that run on fossil fuels or nuclear power, and we are all still having to pay for our power – as is the planet.

Flash, Tesla Coil, ExperimentNow let’s imagine an alternative universe in which the investors all went for Tesla’s ideas.

No one owns electricity.  It’s as free as the air we breathe, even in places where people struggle to survive.  There are no bunkers full of nuclear waste that can’t be safely disposed of, no pollution in the seas around Japan, no coal or oil-fired power stations belching out fumes.  Suddenly electricity is not a commodity. It isn’t bought and sold.  You can’t own shares in it.   You can’t wage wars over the fossil fuels to power it or build pipelines where you shouldn’t.  It’s simply energy, like a thunderstorm or a forest fire.

We live in different times now.  What if crowdfunding had existed back then?  Ordinary people hand over their money to pay for some kid’s operation or to refurbish a hostel they will never see.  In my tiny country £46.6 million was raised in one night last week for Children In Need.  Billionaire stars turn philanthropist and give away their fortunes.

If Tesla were here now, asking for investors, would he find them?

Light Bulb, Idea, Light, Dim, Bright, OnSo this is my puzzle:

Have we changed, in those few short years since Edison won his battle?

Is the pursuit of money, ever so slightly, losing it’s grip?

Are we treating it more, now, like energy, allowing it to flow freely rather than stockpiling it and having to make a profit from it?   And if we use it that way, how might our world change?

 

 

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12 comments on “What Price?

  1. I think thee is a large generational divide on this issue. My children believe in helping everyone and crowd-funding. My parents wouldn’t dream of it. I have made a number of contributions to crowd-funding sites with about half of them being successful and half going bust (and where did my money go there?). We’re getting there. Slowly.

  2. “Suddenly electricity is not a commodity. It isn’t bought and sold. You can’t own shares in it. You can’t wage wars over the fossil fuels to power it or build pipelines where you shouldn’t. It’s simply energy, like a thunderstorm or a forest fire.”
    I love this. Sorry for going off on a tangent but from my stuidies into history many of the sites called temples or tombs, et cetera actually have some indications that they may have been some sort of power stations.
    I suspect tesla may have reinvented the same method they used to generate power.

    Anyway, Sorry about that. I do honestly think people are tired of this system. I think people fail to realise just how little time it has existed in human history. We are not made to live like this. It’s unnatural.

    • Don’t apologise – tangents are great! That’s how creativity happens. I’m sure you’re right, too. Just as what happens now is ‘unnatural’, it would be very natural and right for people to have had access to the power available through the earth or in the air, or wherever it is, so I’m sure Tesla’s discovery was a rediscovery.
      I like to think that such things will soon get sorted out, and with visionary young people like yourself around to join up the dots, I feel hopeful for the future.

  3. Based on my country’s recent election, I’d have to say that we haven’t changed enough. I believe that some people have changed, and as time passes, more and more people are very slowly coming around. But I doubt I’ll see this come to pass in my lifetime on a massive scale.

    Prime example is Higgins ability to transmute radiation using only our meditation. People don’t want to know (choose to not believe) that it won’t take billions of dollars to “clean up” radioactivity that is poisoning the planet. And what is done doesn’t even clean or clear the radiation; it merely delays the inevitable. People don’t even want to entertain the notion that we currently have the technology to clean up our pollution, and that we could have free energy, and live sustainably, because it would involve change that would be too painful for too many people to handle. Call me a cynic, but people on the whole, in my experience, don’t make meaningful change unless they are in a lot of pain, or are forced to in some way.

    I do love your vision, however.

    • I do understand what you’re saying here, Sue, and fully sympathise. I would imagine it’s quite difficult to be optimistic in the US right now.
      Yes, I was thinking of Higgins’ work when I wrote that part. Maybe what matters is not that most people don’t believe in such things, but that some do…
      Maybe I’m hopelessly optimistic, but I like to see the future in the best way possible, as it’s us who create it 🙂

      • I’m actually the eternal optimist within my own little sphere of existence, but when I looked out to the rest of my country recently, I realized just how much of a bubble I tend to be in. That said, I’m going back to my sphere to continue doing my thing. I do know that energetically, my life and my “work” matters a lot.

  4. This is a great post. Michael Tellinger urges anyone who has a technology to simply give it away. He says post it online and make it available to everyone (before someone does away with you!) and forget trying to make money on it. But isn’t it reasonable to want to make a living?

    Anyway, thought provoking post. Thanks.

    • I know, I’m still trying to work out this money vs. giving idea. There are two totally different paradigms going on there and I can’t quite see how the two can be reconciled. Maybe the money-based system has to fall, or maybe the giving-all-you-can ideology will gradually replace it, until making more than you need at the expense of others becomes as morally indefensible as owning a business based on slavery. Just musing. I don’t have the answers…

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