John Steward of Jesus
  The "Good News" (Gospel) > Archives > Other Writings 1979-1985 > External or Internal Wealth

External or Internal Wealth

Spring, 1981

As a country moves toward greater control and more extensive confiscation of wealth for benevolent distribution, the individuals within that country would be well advised to accumulate internal wealth rather than external wealth.

External wealth, though absolutely necessary for survival, consists of material resources which are subject to seizure by the agents of government.  The security offered by external wealth is therefore always precarious, and subject to instantaneous disappearance.  This applies to money, houses, land, gold, stocks, bonds, etc.

Internal wealth is the human capital which is also essential for survival, but which is not subject to seizure because it is enclosed within one's epidermis.  Furthermore, elimination of the life of the wealth-possessor destroys the wealth.  There is therefore an incentive for even an oppressive government to avoid liquidation of the possessor as a punishment for non-cooperation.  Internal wealth consists of the knowledge, skills, and strength possessed by an individual, the use of which, when properly focused, produces results which are desirable for the subject and for other human beings.

The criteria for measuring the value of internal wealth are similar to those for measuring external wealth.  Agricultural skills always have value because food is basic to life.  Social skills are always useful because human nature does not change.  A rare skill will generally have more value than a common skill, other factors being equal.  The strongest man in town may always find a market for his strength, while the common worker may not.

Some skills may do so much to improve the quality of life for the possessor, that marketability is a secondary factor.  A family which can share musical skills in a string quartet may find rewards greater than the wealthiest man may find in any audience.