There are a number of amazing inventions that have been created during the course of human history. Some of the great ones that come to mind are:
-The printing press
-The electric light
-Electrical power plants and the infrastructure for the mass distribution of electricity
I could list many more. Each of these inventions is amazing and have greatly improved the lives of billions of people.
As great as they are, there are three inventions I believe tower above all of these. Without these three inventions, none of these would exist. Humankind would still be living in the prehistoric age. Many of us would have never been born.
What are these three inventions? They are:
-Language (written and spoken)
These are not usually classified as inventions. I classify them as inventions in the broadest sense because they were created by humankind. There was a time when language, mathematics, and money did not exist. They had to be created over the course of time.
Language is the mechanism whereby we are able to communicate to ourselves and to others using sound and symbols put together as words, sentences, and paragraphs. Language is the expression of thought. And thought is the primary cause of everything human beings create. Without language, none of those other inventions could exist. Without language we would be no better than the beasts.
Mathematics is the language of science and commerce. It is one of the primary ways we understand natural laws and unlock the secrets of the universe. For example, it is through mathematics that we were able to unlock the power of electricity and unleash a host of modern conveniences.
Though money is really an invention that is a combination of language and mathematics, I list it separately because it is through the use of money, a universal system of exchange, that the resources to create other inventions. Money has a history. That seems to be a simple statement, but I believe it is important to understand this, because we are so used to the fact of money that it's easy to forget that it is really a mental construct that we created. Paper and coins are only symbols of that construct the same way that words are a symbol of thought.
There was a time that money was not. For example, the U. S. Constitution, adopted in 1789, gave the U. S. Congress the legal power to create money. The U. S. Coinage act of 1792 adopted the Dollar as the currency unit and subdivided it into 100 cents. The first U. S. Mint started operations in Philadelphia in 1794. You can read an interesting chronology of the history of money at http://www.ex. ac.uk/~RDavies/arian/amser/chrono.html.
Money is simply a mechanism that governments have created in order to facilitate the exchange of value. This facilitates the coordination of economic cooperation between people.
As I write this, I am sitting in a nice restaurant enjoying a great salad and a glass of passion fruit ice tea. The free flow of money made this possible. Let's look at just some of what had to happen for me to be able to have this salad in this location:
-The land had to be purchased or leased.
-The building had to be designed and built.
-People had to be hired.
-The food had to be grown (in remote places of the country) and delivered fresh to the restaurant.
-Utensils had to be purchased.
-The cooks had to prepare the food.
-The server had to bring the food to my table.
How much physical effort did I have to put forth to enjoy my salad? All I had to do was show up and place my order. My total cost-only about $17. What allowed all of this coordinated effort by all of these people? The free flow of money.
What this means for you is that you can create virtually everything you want and need by the efficient use of language, mathematics, and money. The real power is in your thought power to create value for others using these three tools. If the use value you create is greater than the cash value you receive, you have added to the life of your customer. The cash value you receive is greater than the total cost of providing the service, you have made a profit. Repeat this process on a large enough scale, and you will create massive wealth for yourself and for others.
Copyright (c) 2005 Bill Marshall - All rights reserved. Feel free to republish this article provided you include the copyright information and the weblinks where possible.
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