This article is part of a series by Jeffery J. Smith on the surplus—also known as “economic rent”—that exists in the economy. Currently, this surplus is hoarded; yet once shared, this surplus could generate undreamed of possibilities for the entire human population. To see the entire series, visit Progress.org/Counting-Surplus

Only a tiny segment of humanity understands that the worth of Earth must be measured and broadcast, and further, that a critical mass of the rest of humanity needs to understand the power of our spending for land and resources to create both problems and solutions. Being one of the few to understand the need to know the size of rent, it is up to me to ferret it out. Especially now, when our problems are dire and our reformers flail about blindly.

If on my watch things worsen drastically, it won’t be because I failed my responsibility to make rent knowable. I’ll redouble my efforts, and see this through to the end.

Yet who? me? Determining the value of all land and resources is a bit of a long shot. And even if the worth of earth is unearthed (pun intended), many people who’re supposed to care—the reform minded—won’t. Hence a lot of friendly supporters in the past actually would not mind seeing me quit this task.

Of course they’re being sensible but now is the time to be pigheaded and provide needed leadership. Like when Einstein went alone into quantum physics. Like when Picasso went alone into abstract art. Like when Steve Jobs went alone into the personal computer. Not that I’m in their league. It’s just that the payoff can be huge. And someone ready, willing, and able has to it.

Besides, determination feels so much better than despair. This self-imposed research effort is a tough roe to hoe, but when the going gets tough, the tough get going. And no pain, no gain. Plus, why should business, sports, and war get to use all the inspirational quotes that rhyme? Those fields of endeavor have clearcut definitions of failure and success—greatly to their advantage—as do I.

From here on out, I’ll do everything possible and then some to dig up every darn datum on this social surplus, assess it for accuracy, and package it for easy understanding.

The official sources of statistics have not made such research any easier, and the entrepreneurial sources have not made their statistics any cheaper. But at both places their personnel is constantly changing, so their degree of cooperation is constantly in flux. With luck, a data angel may be reached.

My mental wheels are turning. Maybe it’d work to recruit an academic to join me in a visit to a Congressman, to pry the answer out of a government agency. Who knows. Couldn’t hurt.

Who knows where a break could occur but it feels good to be back in the saddle.

This article is part of a series by Jeffery J. Smith on the surplus—also known as “economic rent”—that exists in the economy. Currently, this surplus is hoarded; yet once shared, this surplus could generate undreamed of possibilities for the entire human population. To see the entire series, visit Progress.org/Counting-Surplus

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