Pretty much everything can be viewed as a process. When a rock is thrown at an angle, it follows a trajectory back to the earth. When water is poured into the dirt, it “finds a path” and percolates down into the earth. When a baby is fed wholesome food, the baby grows. Even a forest fire is a process.
For human beings, the processes we engage in are purposeful, and we use them to get something, or to get somewhere. But processes have limits, beyond which they break down and stop giving us what we originally wanted or needed. One needed process is the economy.
To avoid the backbreaking toil of a “hand-to-mouth” existence, we need the economy to function. But the economy is just another process, susceptible of breaking down.
Using a percolation model for the continued spread of a forest fire, given the share of all of the surrounding area which is combustible, fires stop spreading when less than 60% of the land is covered with combustible material:
In this model by NetLogo, you set the forest density and the fire starts at the left. In this particular run of the model, only 11.4% of the forest burned, when the process of the forest fire was completely stopped.
When available resources for combustion were only 59% prevalent, the process stops. Even increasing the available resources for combustion to 60% does not guarantee a continued process:
In this run, with 60% of the surrounding area filled with combustible material, the fire still burnt itself all of the way out before reaching the right side. The main takeaway is, if a process does not have what is required to renew itself, it stops.
Like a forest fire, an economy is something which grows — as long as there is a critical threshold level of available resources for it to grow. The amount of economic output which remains inside of the private sector — rather than being siphoned off by the government — is vital.
If 40 cents of every dollar of private sector wealth creation gets siphoned away into government schemes, leaving 60 cents of every dollar of produced wealth in the very hands of those who produced it in the first place, then not enough resources remain in the private sector.
Once you cross the threshold and no longer leave enough resources available to the private sector, then the entire process can shut down. A rough indication of the share of output left available to the private sector, is the comparison of wages to government spending.
Back in 1948, wages reported to the IRS (left-side circle) were twice as high as government spending (right-side):
Having wages being such a large share of GDP guarantees that economic decision-making is decentralized enough that there is no single point of failure which can collapse the system. It makes it so that resources can go toward their best uses.
But after moving away from the economic freedom that we had back then, government spending is taking up a greater and greater relative share of economic output:
This graph shows the situation in 2015, but in 2020, government spending was higher than the sum total of all wages paid out. But economic processes will break down once not enough available output is left inside of the private sector (where all wealth is created).
Because nature cannot be fooled, progressive government encroachment into the private sector will cause the “motor of the world” to stop — just as it is the case that, once available resources are removed in the area surrounding a fire, the fire burns all of the way out.
Fires cannot continue to burn without sufficient resources, and economies cannot continue to function without them either.
What is needed in the USA is a return to a “wage economy” like in the 1920s — where wage earners allocate most (>50%) of all economic output, and the entrepreneurs and venture capitalists (the private investors) allocate the next highest share, and the government allocates the smallest share:
[fire model finds the outer limits of process sustainability] — NetLogo Fire Model. https://ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogo/models/Fire