President Obama wants “sacrifice” from citizens to create a “healthy economy”. That is what ABC Radio told me.

What President Obama does not understand is that a successful economic environment is not created by people sacrificing, as if there is some fiscal Volcano god waiting in the ground about to grant prosperity.

Economics is about choice, interaction, purchases, and the movement of capital.

An economy is made healthy not through sacrifice but investment, willful and deliberate spending (which is an exchange of capital for a product or service, which for businesses is often just more capital), risk, and return. People invest in things when they expect some sort of benefit at the end of the effort. They do this believing that after the series of expected events they will earn a profit directly as a result of their own respective intentions and actions. Most of them, but not all, understand that actions which could produce a great profit are also the ones with the greatest potential to lose their investment capital. People only work for something in this field when they expect something back! The losses are, for educated investors, par for the course! The losses usually occur because someone else’s investment in a different product, industry, or service, was fruitful. Because of these investments and purchases people who are employees get paid and spend money/capital on services and products, which in turn allows other people to get paid as they traded time/capital and effort/capital to create these products (which sometimes are services).

These are all simple ideas.

“Sacrifice”, except in the case of Old Covenant (Old Testament) Christian theology and Jewish theology (as well as the cosmological and theological viewpoints of some other religions) is where one eliminates something of his or her own that is valuable in exchange for nothing, for the purposes of some greater good. Secular sacrifice tends to be for nationalist or patriotic purposes, and in that case it is usually in exchange for national and/or civil defense against a hostile enemy, which in that case sacrifice leads to a direct and logical result. The important thing about “logical results”, which makes them logical, is that they are linear and can be explained later in a direct and deliberate fashion, linking one action, a cause, to an effect. The Bible links blood sacrifice to forgiveness if sin(s), as a cleansing ritual. This is explained as a how, if not a why. During the great wars of the first half of the 20th Century it was explained how war bonds and scrap drives, various rations led to supplying military forces for the direct purpose of fighting American enemies such as the Second and Third Reich, the Japanese Empire, and just overall the Central Powers from 1913-1919 and the Axis during the forties.

The “sacrifice” that the President asks for today is something he asks for in an environment, a nature where sacrifice has never brought anything. Sacrifice is antithetical to any economic or fiscal principle I have ever read or heard. Every economist I put any stock in has insisted that people take part in an economy for the sake of self-benefit. There are those who insist on concepts of “fairness” and “social justice” and a lot of math-men who have been working for decades, literally, to create a formula that would incite maximum reward from various investments with a minimum risk of losing the investment. The people who work hardest to create products and services that people wish to purchase do not work that hard for strangers; they work that hard so that people will purchase their products and/or services. The people who purchase these wish to purchase the best; they have little interest in wasting the products (the paycheck) of their own investment of time and energy (work) on something that will not satisfy them. The concept of “sacrifice” for a secular system of currency-exchange is an anathema to these people; especially since most of them do not think of any of this at all and simply wish to get the most benefit they can muster for all of the hard work they put in to the whole deal.

When people suddenly understand that “sacrifice” means “work for nothing” and God is not involved then suddenly they stop working and what happens to the products and the quality thereof after that?

This whole focus on “sacrifice” of the citizens in order to get a non-sacrificial system of citizen participation is only part of why we are in trouble, but it is indicative of how we will get into further trouble. Remember, when we will not willingly sacrifice when we are asked to, we will be made to sacrifice. Beyond that we will be sacrificed.

There will be a volcano god, I am sure. Whether it involves literal volcano or a metaphorical one I am not entirely certain but I believe the literal volcano might end up being a more pleasant end given what I have learned of government.