Last week I published a book review and was somewhat dismayed to see it get so little response. Perhaps people are too busy with their holiday shopping... or already immersed in another book. Nevertheless, I must continue to urge anyone who has time and an open mind to read this book and comment.
Larry has been so kind as to answer some questions I asked him about himself and his brilliant stroke of genius in comprehending what led to this book and what it can mean for mankind if we listen. Here is that interview:
Lydia: What is your background? Tell us a little bit about the author.
Larry: Let me begin by saying who I am, what qualifications I have, my appearance, and my character are irrelevant to whether my system for a new money is a good idea or not. Do not judge an idea by its proponents nor its opponents. If I am a saint that doesn't mean the idea is a good one. If I am a scoundrel that doesn't mean the idea is a bad one.
I was educated at Texas Technological College (now Texas Tech University), Florida State University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I have a B. A. and M. A. in Sociology from TTU and all but dissertation in Sociology from FSU and all but dissertation in higher education from UNC-CH.
For eight years I taught sociology in college then returned to graduate school.
I have been a computer programmer and system administrator for the last 26 years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, my current employer.
I have three adult children, a number of grandchildren, and one great grandchild.
My main hobby is coaching youth sports (29 years so far). So far that includes baseball, football, and basketball.
I have no consumer debt. I own my home (no mortgage). I have been married twice (each a fine woman). The first time for 12 years. The second time for 29 years so far. I love my family, my job, and the kids I coach. I am a very lucky person since I still have very good health.
I am a very happy man.
Lydia: Where did the idea for your economic system come from?
Larry: I stumbled across it accidently (intellectually, of course) one day in the spring of 1970 while teaching a class in sociology at American University in Washington DC. I said something really stupid to the class and they called me on it (as they should). I tried to defend the indefensible (my ignorance) and in the process came up with the basic concept of my system. I had no idea what I had.
In the days and weeks that followed I sort of played with the idea trying out various things. Several times while watching the news I would think "well, if my idea were in place we wouldn't have that problem." Then for about six months I didn't even think about it because I was changing jobs and moving to Gerogia (West Georgia College). After I arrived and got settled I got to thinking about the idea again and began to refine it and started doing the research on the background for the idea that I should have done before I opened my mouth in that old class. I discovered how foolish my statements had been.
So there I was. I had discovered the solution to most of the worlds problems but didn't know what I had. Then I discovered over the course of several weeks that it would solve a lot of problems. At least six months later I began to figure out why it solved those problems. And finally, I discovered the basic ideas that explained why we had those problems in the first place. So I had done the whole thing backward.
One usually thinks of solving problems by first understanding what causes the problems. Then finding several possible ways to eliminate the cause. But I found the solution, then found the problems it solved, and finally came to understand why the problems existed.
In short the whole thing was an accident. But then I don't think the solution could have come any other way. I think that if I had come at the problems from the other direction, from examining one or more of the many problems and seeking to understand their causes, I never would have understood the cause of the problems at all. And if I didn't understand the cause I would never have been able to come up with the solution. It was only because I had this neat solution to a host of problems that I could go back and see what these problems all had in common that this particular solution would eliminate them. The light dawned on me slowly because it was so unexpected. That's why I can't blame other sociologists, economists, political scientists, or even anthropologists for not understanding the basic source of these problems. Our minds simply have been trained from childhood to see things in a certain way and until we can recondition our minds, until we can see things in another context, we do not recognize what is terribly obvious.
Lydia: Your story gives new meaning to the term, "If money were no object." Was that intentional, or a side benefit?
Larry: That particular line is a great pun which I forbore to use in the novel.
In one sense, that phrase was the whole point of the novel, to show that money should never be something which prevents people from doing the right thing. But in another sense, though it reveals a basic concept, the phrase usually points at something altogether different than the point of the book.
Lydia: How long do you think a transition from our current system to your proposed system would take?
Larry: As I indicated in the novel I think about two years would be adequate once the nation makes the decision to use the system. Naturally, people would be talking about and reading about the idea for quite some time before the necessary legislation could be passed. So from right now, about the best we could hope for would be about five years. I sped it up to about three years for plot purposes. :-)
Lydia: No more: poverty-induced crime; hunger; taxes; marriages that stay together because of economic reasons... Free: basic food, clothing, shelter, education, medical care and even Internet, etc. Is there any evil you think this system is incapable of nullifying or healing through its self-regulating mechanisms?
Larry: Mental illness will always be with us though this system would speed improvements in the treatment of mental illness.
Human foolishness and incompetance would be reduced but not eliminated.
The problems surrounding mate selection and love will still exist.
In other words, people will still be quite human with all the vices and stupidities that we all suffer. It's just that with my system, money doesn't make things worse, human frailties are minimized and the unfortunate consequences of those frailties are reduced to a minimum.