What inspired me to write “Contentonomics”
As an international economist and strategic planner for Bank of America I traveled to many countries. On these trips I always tried to find time to walk through the cities I visited. I talked to and watched people in the streets and stores. I toured commercial shopping centers and grocery stalls. Wherever I was, there appeared to be an ever-present link between the diversity of material life and the all-to-normal human endeavor to strive for a better state of well-being. The material diversity in taste, personal expression, and habits was ever-evident and said much about local living, about the local economy. But joined to the bustle and striving in the material world, another aspect of living appeared to me as constant and universal, as fundamental to our social relations with the community. This “aspect of living” and its link to economic endeavor became the inspiration for writing “Contentonomics”. Despite national borders and a multitude of political systems, cultures, habits, ethnic groups, religions, and economic stations, it appeared that all people desire and are comforted by three vital things:
⇒ Reward, respect, and recognition
That is, what unite us all are the desire for, and the achievement of, a sense of well-being and contentment that come from the personally held notion that others in the community recognize, respect, and reward us for who we are, what we are, and what we do.
Trained as an economist, and taught to see individuals acting out roles as producers and consumers on the economic playing field, it occurred to me that a crucial place where we can find these three sources of personal success-sense is in the economy. But the economy is far more than numbers, statistical trends, financial transactions, and lofty theories of supply and demand. The economy is us; we are the economy!
At the end of the day, what is important for us is that it is in the economy where we create personal value for others, and in the eyes of others. This personal value springs form our favors, personalities, aptitudes, skills, ideas, work efforts, and manufactured products. In most cases we receive money payments for the value we create. These payments then become our ability to acquire what we perceive as value that others produce, others’ products, services, and work effort. The recognition of our own personal value by others, by the community, then becomes the source of how we are viewed and in turn how we view ourselves. It is the bedrock from which our sense of reward, respect, and recognition springs. It also allows us to prosper in the material world.
Contentonomics is a mind-set of thought and action. The book is a road map to living by this thought and action. As such, I believe it can help one to be a productive producer and a creative, mindful consumer in a way that maximizes the likelihood of finding the reward, respect, and recognition that others and the community can give. As well, living Contentonomics helps bring a serenity of spirit comes with a feeling at one with the world.