- the economics of you -

  • Jun 25

    It’s been a while, but we’re back again. We don’t have to rehash where we are in our struggle to do better for ourselves. We, as individuals know where we stand, each in a different place, yet in a similar place. So, enough about that. Where are we going and exactly how do we plan to get there? We need a vehicle to help us. We need something we can see, put on paper, fill in our own blanks, make our own changes. We need to discover who we are and what we’re best at, see the structure of our lives, see exactly where we are and where we’re going. We need to see what’s against us so that we can start preparing ourselves. We need more than a plan. We need something physical, something concrete that we can work with and make physical changes to improve.

    Concept spider-2In the diagram at the left, you see a conceptual representation of what could be such a vehicle. It doesn’t have wings or wheels or a motor as such, but it can take us to where we want to go. That “1 unifying entity” is the thing we focus on as being “the vehicle”. But that entity depends heavily on its components. Like a car depends on its motor, its wheels and transmission, our conceptual vehicle requires many inputs to function. The higher the quality of the inputs, the more performance the vehicle will have. Like Henry Ford’s first Model T in 1908, it was a basic improvement in transportation. From there, cars (and all their components) have evolved to where we are today. Our proposed conceptual “unifying entity” vehicle is no different. It was conceptualized, researched, designed, engineered to meet a single overall need: taking you to where you want to go.  You are the driver of your own vehicle.

    The diagram shows concepts directly related to our vehicle that we will now call ICANomics. It has a philosophy (mission statement etc.) of its own, is based on current events, requires your active involvement, will liberate you materially, involves psychology, social interaction, involves the family and community, requires diversity, improves the quality of individual lives, requires traditional and progressive education, demands creative out-of-the-box thinking, mentoring and sponsorship, involves economics (both personal and global), is entertaining and culture friendly, is business-related, requires investment (effort and resources), considers the environment and is critical to economic growth.

    But, enough about the components of the vehicle. You don’t need to know details about your car to drive it. You don’t need more words about this vehicle either. All you need to know is that ICANomics, while being different, can get you there and driving it takes you on a journey through the story of your life.  The process itself is easy enough for a ten year-old to understand and drive some version of it. Have confidence. Trust yourself.

    Summary: Start with an open mind. You can do it if you allow yourself. You need to get someplace specific to feel better about yourself. Get into this thing called ICANomics and drive it to take you to where you want to go. To drive it, you will have to follow a process– a sequence of understandings and moves on your part. It’s about hands-on understanding of how and why things work. Payment? Nothing for now. It’s on us. Take what you get and go with it. It’s like a game. The better you play, the more progress you make.

    Speaking of Henry Ford, he said, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” Think about that. Stay tuned.


  • Apr 19

    If you are a serious helper, teacher, facilitator, poverty-fighter, productivity coach or parent, you may appreciate some ideas about other things you could try– and where we’re headed. And you may be curious to see that we’re not another “do-better, run-faster, study-harder” advice-giver. Our specific objectives are to-

    A. show them (the young, productively unexperienced) their individual futures (if they continue as they are),
    B. enable them to discover themselves,
    C. show them what they need to know now,
    D. enable them to develop a map to their chosen futures,
    E. show them how to use their acquired experience and knowledge to travel their paths to their visions, and
    F. show them how to plug their value into the economy.
    Not exactly a straight route, but we are confident that a map through these concepts will be clear– and different for each.

    Below is a table of sequential steps– what to do, examples, reasons and comments. Each of these steps will be addressed as we proceed.


    Do this






    1 Play BUX for fun. From scores, deter- mine the highest ER, economic ranking Let’s play a game about making money. Attracts and focuses on productive experiences Ages 10 & up. Fun. Saves words, lessons, time…
    2 After play, connect feelings while playing to various game situations and their actions/reactions How did you feel when you had many chips? Few chips? Others were ahead? Connects emotions to actions and events. They’re related. Demonstrates players’ control of feelings thru material world conditions
    3 Enable them to make connections between the game and the real world Cards are resources, chips are money, sets are products, drawn cards are opportunities, prices are… To show that this could be their material futures– if no changes Leveling, confidence, self-esteem, success-knowledge builder.
    [Table found here.]


    4 Facilitate self-productivity exploration Who are you and what do you want to do in life? Questions they nat- urally ask themselves Gordon Allport’s 7th Stage of personality developm’t
    5 Discuss personality. Show how we differ in thoughts, emotions, actions Some are introverts, some feel, some logical, artistic. We’re all different. No one way for all. We’re born with personal- ities that influence us.
    6 Give your subjects a quick traits-based personality test. (on paper or Internet) Go to: Humanmetrics.com A quick and  effective place to start showing differences. Introvert, extrovert, intuitive, sensing, thinking, planning…
    7 Investigate personal attitudes– their outlook on themselves, others and the environment. Are you optimistic or pessimistic? But attitudes can change. How? Change and growth, at  the core of this process, can be stimulated. Attitudes can change with persuasion– Advertising is about changing attitudes.
    8 Explore their interests and curiosities What are you interested in? Self discovery/inventory Probing for possibilities
    9 Explore their talents and strengths What do you do best? More self discovery More possibilities
    10 Try to merge personalities, interests, strengths and preferences into possible career directions. Introvert, thinking, loves numbers, curious– mathematician? Looking for general directions to excite career interests There are methods for this synthesis– some technical, some less so.
    11 Facilitate them to visualize their desired futures. (Don’t restrict. Go with it. We can’t predict.) “Where will you be living? What will you have? What will you be doing for work? A self vision gives direction, meaning and motivation to the effort. The clearer and more concrete, the better. And it can always change.
    12 Evaluation; Now that they have connected concepts about themselves, do they feel different? How? “Do you see yourself differently now?” “How are you different?” “Why?” A reflection on personal understanding and realignment of focus A look at themselves building their own value. Birth of a new effort?
    13 Show that we are all within our unique, limited “bubbles of experiences”. “We only know what we’ve seen and have been told…” To open their ideas of reality and possibilities We are capable of more than we know. Our future is beyond our limits now.
    Demonstrate how we think and how we can think more creatively and productively. Google: Edward de Bono, lateral thinking, If change is possible, thoughts must precede actions. Creativity and innovation are keys to progress and economic growth.
    15 Define perceived limits and what it is to exceed them. Exploration of the unknown. Columbus, space travel, a sub-4-minute mile, computer We usually benefit when limits are exceeded Limits are changed by vision, courage, will and performance.
    16 Discuss our five basic psychological and how they drive us to action belonging, physiological comfort, competence, stimulation, going against We all share these 5 needs. We express them differently We are needs-driven. Think of them when producing value.


    17 Discuss money as concretely as possible and determine what it means to them as individuals. For those who shun it, how do they plan to live? “List three of the important things that money means to you as an individual.” They know that money is necessary in the material world– and they’ll need it. Money cannot be abstract. It satisfies both material and psychologi- cal needs.
    18 Discuss the concept of value, its definition and its importance as something good to have. “What does having value mean to you personally?” Personal productive value is the major focus of this entire exercise. Resource to value, value to income, income to vision to happiness.
    19 Discuss and visually present supply-demand-pricing overall concept. (Curves could help if understandable.) “Suppliers sell their pro- ducts and services to con- sumers at certain prices.” To see how prices are affected by supply and demand This concept will reinforce the experience from playing the BUX game.
    20 Show and discuss an image of the basic, general economic system. (Specific cash-flow diagram required) “This is a picture of how money flows in a general economic system.” To get a big, visual picture of how the eco- nomic system works A picture is worth a thousand words.
    21 Show and discuss an image of the global/macro economic system. (Spec. diagram) “This is a picture of the global economic system. You are here– a consumer.” To see the big economic picture and where we fit into it A global view. Same as above, but applied to the world economy.
    22 Show and discuss an image of the micro-economic system. (Specific diagram.) “This is a picture of your family’s economic system.” To see how their families  relate to the global economic system A household view. Same as above. Same as company’s econ system
    23 Show and discuss an image of the individual’s economic system. (Specific diagram.) “This is a picture of your own economic system. Notice the similarities.” To see how their own economic system works in reference to others A personal view. Same as above. All systems similar to each other.
    24 Discuss lack-of-money issue. It requires a certain, deliberate and focused strategy to reach ones’ vision. Avoid distractions. Focus on the vision. “Some players start out with less. They need to play a more focused life-game.” In their BUX experience, they have seen winning players start with little Comparison of starting behind in BUX game to starting behind in life. It is always possible to win.
    25 Show a diagram of the general structure of most novels and stories. (Specific diagram) “All stories have the same general structure.” This structure helps to mentally organize info. to understand stories. Accelerate understanding by schema development
    26 Show a diagram of the general structure of most games. (Essentially same diagram) “All games have the same structure. When you see it, you’ll know what to do” Structures help to organize your thoughts and actions. Accelerate understanding by schema development
    27 Show a diagram of the general structure of their personal games. (Spec. diagram) “All people have the same structure to their life’s game.” This structure helps  with focus, strategy, & actions Accelerate understanding and action by schema use
    28 Help them develop their structures into detailed, step-by-step maps to their visions. “Let’s reverse-engineer a path from your future to where you are now.” It helps to have a map to help you get where you’re going. Reverse engineering is a known process. Special skill may be required here


    29 Demonstrate (again) the connections between the cards in BUX and real-life resources. “You are already familiar with how to use resources to create value. Here are examples of resources.” These connections focus seemingly unrela- ted concepts on one objective– productivity. Individual productivity doing what one prefers. Result: satisfaction and growth in personal output
    30 Show how knowledge/information is a most important and  necessary resource. “Without knowing much, it is more difficult to create value.” Many people see little use for knowledge. Once their direction is clear the need for special knowledge increases.
    31 Show how having skills is a most important resource. “Without being able to do much, value creation in- creases significantly.” Many people don’t see the need for skills. Once their direction is established, skills make things happen.
    32 Make the definition of resources clear. “Resources are anything one can use to build value.” Most are unclear on this pivotal point Resources are just about everything
    33 Make them aware of time as a very valuable resource. Once lost, it’s gone. “Time is important. Try to waste as little as possible.” Most young people are not aware of time-use. When focused on a goal, the use of time becomes part of the strategy
    34 Show how people are resources, especially those with economic value. (This explains some salary differences) “People make things happen. They invent new things, they innovate.” Many are not aware of their productive effect. Everything not created by nature was created by humans.
    35 Show the importance of technology in our standard of living and economic growth. And that there are a full range of opportunities in its’ production. “Your phone screen separates users and producers. Some think that the most fun is on the creative/productive side.” Many use technology only for entertainment, while not considering the universe of life on the other side of it. Creativity leads to innovation that leads to technologies that grow the economy that usually leads to better living.
    36 Show that opportunities, seen or not, are passing by us. Some see them. Some don’t. “We are all presented with opportunities. Pick the ones that interest you and go.” Some never see opportunities. Others see them all the time. Opportunity recognition is easier once a clear future vision is achieved.
    37 Show the necessity to take risks and how to make the most of luck. (Using the game as an example, safer players progress slowly and usually don’t win.) “Some people are lucky, but only if they can perform when the opportunity comes.” Many don’t understand the importance of being prepared for luck when/ if it comes along. We make more progress by risking and being “lucky” than we do by being safe and comfy.
    38 Demonstrate the importance of action, drive, commitment and grit, the concept of intent and the determination to succeed regardless. “Your journey to your vision, while exciting, won’t always be fun and easy.” Some think that things just happen. Luck or no luck. Challenges are a fact of life. Push on. Like in any game, there will be resistance to you winning. Deal with the challenges and do it.


    39 Summarize what they have experienced focusing on their preparation for the personal and real game they are about to play. “You have been successful with creating value from resources. You know what to do. Continue.” Summarizing their experiences prepares and gives confidence for their journey ahead. Preparation is a mix of knowledge, experience, action memory, skills, confidence, timing, grit…
    40 Show the difference between a job and a career– the pros and cons of both “There is a difference between a job and a career…” Some are not initially clear on this distinction. Building personal value requires knowing the dif- ference between the two.
    41 Show them how to use the value that they have built in themselves to get a job, or start a career. “You know your value and how it applies to your vision. This is how you target and present it.” Many with value cannot make others aware of it and therefore have a hard time selling it. Value presentation is critical. One must present him/herself as a special opportunity.
    42 Show them how to get paid for their ideas. “So you are creative. There is a process for presenting valuable creative ideas. Learn this process.” There must be ways for valuable ideas seeking avenues to reality and reward to succeed. Economic growth depends on innovation– ideas being developed, presented and utilized.
    43 Show them the basics of starting their own companies “You can give yourself a good job by starting your own company with others and a valuable concept.” Many would like to start a company, but have no idea of what’s required Starting a company is a 1-2-3 process, and doable, especially with others with value to offer.
    44 Show them how to put their total experiences together and make the moves, as they did in the game, to get to their objectives. “You know the big picture and where you fit in. Play your real game to win.” The final confidence building send off. They have what they need. They’re ready. Let them know where they can get continued support.

    That’s pretty much the outline for the process. It may look long and short on details. But about its length, depending on its purpose, this material– after the playing of the game, can be covered within a couple hours, or over a period of four to ten to twelve to 28 45- or 90-minute classes, or over any period of time in the case of self-learners progressing at their own chosen pace. It depends on the purpose of presentation/ application, the flow of the concepts and what is omitted, emphasized or deemphasized. And about its details: Although anecdotally tested for years at the elementary, middle school and college course levels with encouraging results, many developmental details have been experienced and addressed– including some advanced (post-statistical/AI) mathematical methods for individualization not yet in the public domain. To go into all this here would be counter-productive.

    The game itself can be played for social entertainment by any age group. It appeals to and has been played by six year-olds. Although not recommended for players this young, this suggests that children of this age generally have the capacity to perform complex economic decision-making. [A concerned mother once asked, “What kind of a game is this that has my six year-old asking me financial strategy questions that I can’t answer?”] The process has been taught as an “interdisciplinary” college course. Twenty-somethings play weekly and it was played weekly for over two years in a senior retirement home with some players in their nineties (who had no interest in the productive process).

    Any one or more of the above 44 “Do-this” concepts can be singled out and mixed and matched for individual productivity application. But for maximum effect, coherence and synergy, the game should be played first to proficiency by those being guided so that their productive experiences can be reinforced before being applied to their lifestyles. This productivity process is a hybrid based on observational/experiential-learning models and traditional teaching concepts.

    The overriding objective of ICANomics and this process is to focus on- and satisfy the productive needs of the user/recipient. It is their personalities, their visions, their choices, their actions, efforts and abilities that will enable them to achieve their visions and future states of being. We are only trying to support their efforts.

    This offering itself has visions of developing into a robust, tech-driven contributor to an industry whose product is (coherent, comprehensive, individual) Economic Growth and a better standard of living for all.

    Does this process interest you? And do you see how this process– whole or in part, can help you achieve your vision of helping others to achieve their visions?

    Please contact us by email with your comments, questions, suggestions, corrections… We are a small, under-staffed, self-funded organization– practicing ICANomics.

  • Jul 14

    The name ICANomics says, “I CAN master my own econOMICS (thank you).”

    The reason we created ICANomics is that the subject of economics is quite difficult for most to understand. In high school, where one would think practical economics could be important to teach, it is part of social studies which is itself only one-twentieth (1/20!) of the total high school curriculum. And the economics that’s taught in elementary, middle and high schools has little or no relevance directly to the individual– you. ICANomics, although it follows many of the same basic rules as economics, is something you do rather than something you study. It applies directly to your use of resources and your ability to produce and sell goods and services. In other words, the money you get paid should be  directly dependent on the value that you offer the economy. (More on this later.) The way the system is supposed to work, if what you do has little value, you shouldn’t expect too much. (Of course we all know people who appear to do little and collect a lot, and vice versa. Stay tuned.) So, what ICANomics does is help you up your game to create more value for yourself and while you’re at it, the economy.

    As we continue, the differences and similarities between ICANomics and economics will become more apparent. But for now, let’s just say that ICANomics is about your active involvement rather than your passive observation. The study of economics is about keeping track of the resources in our world. It is more about knowledge and is learned by studying theories, definitions, formulas and curves as they relate to the flows of resources. ICANomics is about keeping track of your own material position in the world. It is more about your skills and is learned by doing– focused, interactive experimentation, emotional reactions and the understanding of the big economic picture. That is why economics is understood primarily by studying information  while ICANomics is understood primarily by interactively experiencing a game.

    Sure, ICANomics could be approached from a purely intellectual point of view, and mathematicians, theorists, philosophers, educators, psychologists… will have points of view. This is only natural. But ultimately knowledge must be tested, it’s value to mankind assessed, conclusions drawn, and the question answered: “Was this of benefit to human development?”

    A complex civilization like ours without economics is unimaginable. How else would we know and keep track of who owned what, how our resources were being used, who was producing what, and the value (economic worth) of things? Trading would be based on nothing. Money would have no standard value. The world would be utterly chaotic, ignorance would be normal and might would always be right. A case can be made for economics being the backbone of our existence– as we know it. So, if this is true, it’s up to us to keep economics alive, to do our parts, to contribute what we are best at while receiving the rewards from our efforts. ICANomics is attempting to augment the study of economics and the performance of our economy by stimulating the individual economic growth of those with capabilities– which is virtually everyone.

    Naturally, ICANomics cannot speak directly and individually to you. But, it can do the next best thing. ICANomics can, through not yet released technology, give you the experience of a materially successful and unsuccessful life, put you in touch with your inner self (redundant we know), put you in touch with those who can help you, bring out your best talents and strengths, synthesize your attributes and interests, help you construct a vision for your future, give you vital/visual knowledge, help you construct a path to your vision, enable you to visually structure your material life, present you with the tools that you can control, and show you how to get your economically-valuable self into the global economy. And this on an individual basis. Tall order? Yes, but that is the task ahead.

    For ICANomics to deliver on this ambitious promise, it will depend on a highly robust networked technology of unprecedented scope, supply and demand stakeholders working together with singular purpose, scientific and technological breakthroughs and forthcoming resources.

    ICANomics is doing for itself what it says you CAN do for yourself.

  • Jul 9

    Turn on the news. Economics-economics-economics… …unemployment… …the dollar… …foreclosures… …cutbacks… …national debt… …consumer debt… …less of this and less of that… …stimulus… …price increases… What does all this mean to you personally? Not much? The experts are simply telling you what is happening and what you already know. Sure, we need to do something to grow the economy, but what can we do and how can we to do it? Any specific ideas from the experts? Is there anything that we can do now to help “the economy” or better yet, help ourselves?

    The objective of ICANomics.com is to start a constructive conversation about new productive ideas– self-productive ideas around a specific process that could help us out of our various economic predicaments. If such a process could be developed, it may be possible that some of us could follow it in our unique way, to increase our productivity and incomes thereby helping ourselves (and “the economy”). This is no get-rich-quick scheme. You’ll not be shown how to balance your checkbook or invest in stocks and bonds. You must have money before you can do those things. We are about earning money and economic survival in a new economy. Today’s economy has fewer traditional, good paying jobs, yet most are continuing to look for them. For many, this economy is about feeling out of control while waiting for what we hope to be economic growth. It’s an economy of big data, big needs, big money and big gridlock. Where do we fit in? What can we do for ourselves?

    There are ways out of our own private predicaments. (Finding the ways is the challenge.) ICANomics is trying something new. And even though we know we are making mistakes, with your help, we can correct our errors and move on. In doing this, we will have at least started the ball in motion. It will pick up speed when we get involved and work together, sharing the load, each for our own benefit. Our objective is to help you reach your objective. Take what you can get here and use it in your special, unique way to get to where you want to be. Only you know that place.

    We are playing a game of sorts, where you are the hero in your own game, going for what you choose against the forces of economic resistance. So, here is the first major decision of your game: would you risk (1) some time, (2) some focused effort and (3) a little money to be shown a clear way to your specific life’s objective? Think about that. Your answer will tell you how much you think your future is worth.

    Plug-and-play! (1) learn the rules, (2), plug yourself in and (3) play your game to your chosen future.

    More about you and the process to come.