Life Is Circular

Three hundred years ago, most paper was made from linen rags. As the volume of printing increased trees began to provide the bulk of raw material and we don’t know so much now about rag-based paper. You will find it still in paper money, stock and bond certificates, and some life insurance policies. When you need something permanent, cotton paper works better.

From ancient times, there comes a circular description of how life works.

Rags make paper

Paper makes money

Money makes banks

Banks make loans

Loans make beggars

It seems owning a bank is better than borrowing from one.

Rags are not the only circular thing

I found another. It is a thought from a 2016 novel “Those Who Remain” by G. Michael Hopf, “Hard times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men, and weak men create hard times.

Do you think we are in for hard times because many people have not faced much adversity?

How people create hard times

Economist Joseph Schumpeter postulated that capitalism would eventually fail because it was so good at creating wealth. It permitted people to get along without contributing. People who didn’t need to work 10 hours a day to have food and shelter, could theorize about the failings of society, and capitalism in particular. Some would listen and act on the theory.

They would eventually harm capitalism and the easy wealth would disappear.

There are many examples extant.

Where do we fit today?

We have the “good times create weak men” part, and we have easy to borrow money, especially by governments. Combined with intellectuals who have theories without tests and accountability, where does the combination end?

I suppose with weak, well-educated, beggars in hard times.

Maybe we get lucky. I know a horse breeder who claims you want to start with a stallion that is fast but without much endurance. You breed it to a mare who is not very fast but has high endurance. The idea is to get an offspring that can run far and fast. Sometimes though,  you get a slow one without much endurance.

Combining ideas like circularity doesn’t always work out as you would think, but pay attention to the possibility.

Optimists view

I doubt it ends with the certainty of hard times. All of the circularity misses one aspect. Not everyone is affected the same way. There have been plenty of people who have hard times in the midst of plenty and others who prosper in hard times.

The Morris Massey is a professor of marketing and a sociologist. His thesis is you are what you were where when and where. You were fully formed in terms of motivation and other factors by the time you were 20. Can you remember yourself on your 20th birthday? That’s who you still are.

I had heard of the idea in the mid 80s, and not so much since. The idea of circularity as destiny got me to thinking about it again. That and meeting a college professor who was using the idea in an HR course. You act based on your 20-year-old world. If you were 20 in 1936, you see the world and behave very differently than someone who was 20 in 1966 and they differently again from those who came of age in 2016.

My view is there will be good times ahead, but not necessarily for everyone. Nor everywhere. The wise among us will assess how it will play out and prepare accordingly. Will the one who create good times prevail or will the destructors? What opportunities will come to be? What skills will be both new and needed? You can be a little ready.

I found a worthwhile publication on the subject. Not so much how to prepare, but how to understand the factors. You can find it here. Preserving Our Past, Embracing Our Future. 

To understand the context of our world, we must understand our viewing point. Things look differently depending on where you look from. Not everyone was 20 on the same day and in the same place. The paper will help you.

Anticipation is the key to success. Use it.


I help people have more retirement income and larger, more liquid estates.

Call in Canada 705-927-4770, or email don@moneyfyi.com

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