Saturday, June 23, 2012

Ten Fingers: World Orientation

We’re going to play a game today called ten fingers. I’m tired of hearing arguments back and forth about economics and tax structures and smaller government and stimulus and bank bailouts. None of it makes sense in thirty seconds or less.

So to help me, I will be presenting to you thirty second demonstrations here that will give you context for what money is and what it means to the world and America. And the good news, it only takes ten fingers to demonstrate this.

First, the world and the US. Put up 10 fingers. Go on spread them out and wiggle them a little—stretching is good. All these fingers are everyone in the world; the whole world in your hands feels good right? Now, close your hand except for your right middle finger. Half of your middle finger represents the population of America as well as its rough political leanings (middle left)—also, America Fuck Yeah! The other half represents the EU.

Now, throw up another finger. These two fingers represent the amount of money that America makes as a percentage of world GDP—half of your middle finger is worth two whole fingers. Open up your whole hand now. That represents all the money that the EU and America make. Your middle finger is worth a hand.

Ok. Open up your hands completely and look at the world again. Make the live long and prosper sign with one of your hands. If you can, two sets of two fingers should be separated to form a ‘V’ sign. The pinky and ring fingers are China—1.3 billion strong. The other two fingers pressed together are India and Pakistan—even though they may not like it. And your thumb can be Southeast Asia. But who cares about all those people? I mean, they only make three fingers worth combined. And your smallest three fingers at that. If you eliminated China from the pack you’d barely have your pinky.

Open your hands again. Let them feel the breeze. Now open your wallet and grab a two dollar bill—just kidding, those are rare. But people living on two dollars a day or less are not; your open palm represents all of the people who live on less than two dollars a day. Your closed fist holding a barely used bill of currency may be redeemed at your local Starbucks for a tall drip coffee—the smallest cheapest drink. If you live in a state with a high sales tax you may not be able to pay for it fully.

That’s your orientation to the world. It’s not everything but it gives you some context when we start talking about America.