If you were a country, what would you do?

United Nations HeadquartersIf I was a country I would care about the well-being of my people.  I would truly care about the health, education, and happiness of my families.  That’s easy to say, but hard to pay for.  How would I fund it?  I would make stuff, lots of stuff.  My rationale – jobs, lots of jobs.  I would create a sustainable economy built on the bedrock of manufacturing.  I’m not talking about designing things, but actually making them, with real factories, real machines, and real people, because as a country, it’s more important to make things than to design them.

The single most important equation for me as a country is

Price – Cost = Profit.

While companies care most about profit, as a country I care most about cost – manufacturing cost. I want to incur the cost of manufacturing within my borders, and for good reason – that’s where jobs and money are.  For a product that sells for $100 with a 20% profit margin, costs ($80) are four times larger than profits ($20).  No big deal you say?  Pretend you are a country and look at the three components of cost from my perspective – labor, materials, and overhead, and then ask yourself if it’s a big deal.

My people get paid for their time. (For me, as a country, that’s magic.)  They buy food, clothing, and shelter and have a little fun.  In turn, they pay me income tax, which I use to educate my children.

My dirt, rocks, and sticks are used in products and my people get paid to dig, move, mix, and cut. (More magic.)  And the machines to do it all are made by my people. We then make the same trade as above – they buy food, clothes, shelter, they pay me income taxes, and I use the money to pay for healthcare.

My dirt, rocks, and sticks are dug and moved to make electricity.  My people get paid, they spend, and I provide services. A good trade for all.

I’m not an economist, and I’m oversimplifying things.  And I know there’s more than a hint of nationalism here.  But, even still, when I pretend to be a country, all this makes sense to me.

If you were a country, what would you do?

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