Economics, as it relates to a person’s life, is multifaceted. And, it’s not always related to money.
For example, if time is the scarcest resource, how do you use it?
Does happiness matter? And, how about success? Should you focus on it?
If happiness and success matter, how do you allocate your time?
Or, what’s the future of the world’s economies?
Will Africa find prosperity and peace?
Will the advent of thinking machines lead to the obsolescence of humanity?
These five, fascinating TED talks will help to inspire you as you think about these pressing economic questions.
1. My philosophy for a happy life / By Sam Berns
Regardless of monetary yield, happiness should be your endgame.
This TED talk speaks to the issue of, not money, but how to best use your life to produce happiness.
Speaker Sam Berns was a teenager with progeria, which is a disease that causes a person to age at an extremely accelerated rate.
At first, it’s hard not to feel pity for Sam. But as his talk progresses, you come to find that Sam has insight that evades some their entire lives.
He distills his personal narrative into four points that he uses as an intuitive guide for his life. By following this simple ethos, he is a very happy person, despite whatever disability he encounters from day to day.
His last point is pretty funny, but no less true.
2. The power of belief – mindset and success / By Eduardo Briceno
What makes some so successful while others aren’t?
Being economically successful is not everything, but achieving goals does matter. It makes life meaningful. So while money, shouldn’t necessarily be your primary goal, finding meaning and purpose should be.
This TED talk covers a simple hypothesis that those who try with the right attitude might fail at first, but their chances of success are amplified.
Throughout the talk, the speaker uses the example of Josh Waitzkin, a chess prodigy, who after mastering chess, switched his focus to the martial art of T’ai chi ch’uan, eventually winning a world championship title in 2004.
Eduardo discusses Josh’s philosophy toward mastering a new field.
3. The minimalists: a rich life with less stuff / By Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn
In terms of personal microeconomics, the most fundamental and scarce resource is time.
Wealth and happiness flows – or doesn’t – from your choice of how your time is used.
But how do you spend your waking hours?
The key to happiness is getting down to the minimum you really need materially, according to Minimalists, Ryan Nicodemus and Joshua Fields Millburn.
These guys saw outside factors, specifically a herd mentality, dictating what they should value.
They had enough. They threw off the shackles of extraneous debt, sold the expensive, not-yet-paid-for stuff, and moved to live a more simple life.
In their TED talk, they share what benefits they derived from decluttering life, both literally and figuratively.
4. In praise of macro – yes, macro – finance in Africa / By Sangu Delle
Africa has been ravaged by colonialism, war, and famine. But because of its development needs, the continent presents itself as one of the greatest investment opportunities in the modern world.
Some have deemed the 21st Century, the African Century, which will usher in prosperity and peace to the continent. This much is known for sure: Africa will sooner rather than later develop at a break-neck pace.
The hope is that the people who make Africa their home – all 1.11 billion – will play the majority role in this development.
In this TED talk, Harvard educated Ghanian-American entrepreneur Sangu Delle discusses how to accomplish this. He shares his idea of how larger capital infusions with Africans at the helm of the new businesses could help.
5. What happens when our computers get smarter than we are? / By Nick Bostrom
Is the obsolescence of humanity inevitable with the advent of thinking machines? It’s mind blowing to think where technology could take humanity, especially in the economic sphere.
For example, what jobs will be left, if all are performed by machines? Will a capitalistic system still work?
Like it or not, machines are the future of humanity. While we stay more or less the same, technology makes gains on us every day. One day, they’ll have us beat, and it could end well or not so well.
This topic has gotten a lot of heat recently, with everyone from Elon Musk to Bill Gates to Steven Hawking voicing concerns.
Nick Bostrom, a philosopher working at Oxford University, delves into some of the riskier problems with super-intelligent computers and what can be done to prevent a doomsday scenario.
What have we learned today?
Be around people you like.
Have confidence that with hard work you can get there.
Keep it simple and be happy.
Also, Africa needs more heavy investment to empower its citizens.
And finally, it’s time to start thinking about how to address artificial intelligence.
Some final words
Like the way we think about economics? Join our tribe. Get a Dino Tax Co t-shirt now for $12 by clicking here. Our logo was designed by OKC artist Jeff Sparks. Our shirts were handprinted with care by Cheap Rent using water-based, eco-friendly inks.