What is Surplus? The Commencement of Trade

The creation of surplus wealth is a pipe dream for many–if not most–of the world’s population. But if you take a closer look at your life, you will see vast quantities of surplus all around you–if only you were looking in the right places.

Instead of being content with our lot in life, how can we do more with what we have been allotted? That question has puzzled and perplexed capitalists since we first embarked on the journey of More. But more what, exactly?

Real estate is often touted as one of the most conservative and stable of all investments. With the Earth as the stabilising foundation, we build a roof over our heads and give ourselves a safe home to return to as we hunt, forage and make just about enough to sustain us and clothe us. We can live off what we have been allotted and be quite content with our lot in life.

On the other hand, we can work with the Earth to provide us with so much more. We can build apartment complexes, employ technology to farm the land so that it yields a greater output which in turn provides us with a surplus to trade.

With trade, we can form meaningful associations with others who have surplus in places where we have deficits. As we give, take and reciprocate, excess wealth is created. With the excess wealth that is created from these activities, we can invest in budding enterprises or make charitable contributions to social impact causes.

A geometric representation of trade

But none of this can happen if we are content with our lot in life. If we are content with our lot in life, there is no impetus for surplus and no impetus to trade.

Why did traders leave their homes with their wares? To meet other traders, of course. With barter as a humble beginning, we created a complex world economy where we are all an interconnected web of More. More what, exactly?

More than what we had before.

Take a good look in the mirror. You have something that someone needs. What is that something and who is that someone?

Once you answer that question, the creation of surplus wealth will no longer be a pipe dream.

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