Thursday, July 29, 2004

Mortality, Morality, and Growth

WhenI turned 34 this past April I realized I had outlived Jesus, Alexander, and Chris Farley.  I beat them, but I felt old.  And weak.  I'm the father of two daughters and have nightmares of boyfriends I won't be able to intimidate.  I need to look in shape and threatening within the next say... 4-7 years. 

So I've established some rules for myself:  First, I don't eat at any restaurants that have a drive up window.  Second, I've given up all sweets.  This doesn't sound like much, but I've been known to eat a pounder of M&M's in one sitting - weekly.  Third, I eat no potato chips and french fries.  I've stuck with eat of these so far.  I've failed at getting to bed earlier and a total cessation of caffiene.  Oh, well. 

I've lost a grand total of zero pounds, but I feel better, stand taller, have more patience.  Also, I've been exercising.  If I keep this up, the tightening of the cold grip of death will be postponed by a few years. 

In my book, I wrote 10,000 words or so on what's necessary for a growing economy.  I totally missed the effects of Hell.  The St. Louis fed has given me pause for thougtht.  

From the report:
....there is a tendency for countries in which a larger percentage of the population believes in hell to have lower levels of corruption.....It shows a strong tendency for countries with relatively low levels of corruption to have relatively high levels of per capita GDP. 

I don't believe this report. Someone from the St. Louis Fed is having a little fun.   I would leave the stats to The Divine Mrs. M. but from my rudimentary knowledge the sample size seems small and the correlation between belief in Hell and corruption (-.34) doesn't seem all that strong.

Plus this flies in the face of my own professional experience as a financial planner working with middle income people for the past several years.  Most people don't take action their retirement until they are pulling the confetti from their hair after their retirement party.  I'm sure most people don't think of the afterlife either-at least not specifically.  People just don't look that far ahead.  There's always time to correct a problem.  Sure, this could send me to hell, but I'll make up for it later.

Further, the human capacity for justifing their own wrong actions is infinite.  Everyone has an excuse.  I'm sure Hitler felt totally ready to meet his maker.  Is the fear of Hell going to keep an export clerk from demanding a bribe or a cube person from playing solitaire?  No.  They can justify it in their own minds.  Hell isn't for them and even if something would send them to Hell, they've got time to make up for it.
Stay you.