Reaping the Fallow and the Fallen: The Law of Diminution at the Margin

There’s an economic theory — The Law of Diminution at the Margin — that has largely been echoing in the hollow.  Few of us are attuned to the consequence of the condition, but that doesn’t mean the meme doesn’t exist or factor into the existence of what binds us to the living.

The Law of Diminution at the Margin works to round up all the curves and the pinnacles and the pitfalls of a flailing economy to explain how we feel about the things we have acquired.

If you have a hundred donuts, your advantage over a person who has one donut is 100 to one: You have more donuts, so you value each of them individually less against the whole. Donuts are perishable. You cannot stockpile the calories anywhere except in the fat around your belly. Losing one donut leaves you with 99, while the other person with only one donut is left with nothing if one is lost.

There are a couple of human living conundrums that are influenced by the Law of Diminution at the Margin — where the theory is spun against expectation. One is age. A 75-year-old places much more value of successful, healthy, years alive than a three-year-old can, so the margin is not one of diminution, but one of a fought-for expansion against the tempering, but intemperate, bell curve of life.

Another flow that curbs against the Law is one of money and authority.  We have been trained to believe that the more influence we have is directly related to the size of our bank accounts, and so we are fooled into insincerity and insecurity as we are unable to ever feel as powerful in the virtual world as we can lounging on a couch with a bellyful of leftover donuts.

This grab for imagined unadulterated power is something that can never be quenched or conquered. Those around us who focus on wealth acquisition — instead of on increasing the social moral value — are never satisfied and never have an opportunity for depth of vision or precision of context.

That leads to a life without real meaning or viable purpose because there must be more to the existing other than the gathering. Only the fallow and the fallen are reaped.

There must be sharing with others and a reinvestment in the harmony of community if we ever hope to survive together and not shattered apart.


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