THE “I AM RICH!” MENTAL EXERCISE
By Economist Robert Heilbroner
1. Take out all the furniture in your home except for one table and a couple of chairs. For a bed, use blankets or pads.
2. Take away all of your clothing except for your oldest dress or suit, shirt, or blouse. Leave only one pair of shoes.
3. Empty both the pantry and the refrigerator except for a small bag of flour, some sugar and salt, a few potatoes, some onions, and a dish of dried beans.
4. Dismantle your bathroom, shut off the running water, and remove all the electrical wiring in your house.
5. In fact, take away the house itself and move your family into your storage, garden, or tool shed.
6. Place your new “house” in a Shantytown, with hundreds of others exactly like it.
7. Cancel all subscriptions to newspapers, magazines, and book clubs. This is no great loss because now you have to imagine that none of you can read, anyway.
8. Imagine there is only one radio for your entire Shantytown.
9. Move the nearest hospital or clinic ten miles away and put a midwife in charge instead of a doctor.
10. Throw away your bank books, stock certificates, pension plans, and insurance policies. Leave the family a cash hoard of ten dollars.
11. Give the head of the family a few acres to cultivate, on which he can raise a few hundred dollars of cash crops … one-third of which will go the landlord and at least one-tenth to the money lenders.
12. Take your average life expectancy and lop off twenty-five years. At least.
Now you are living in the same conditions in which well over one billion people on the planet live. How rich we are, indeed! Use that wealth responsibly and with compassion.
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