These social scientists studied a group of
farmers and gave them IQ tests throughout the year. Same farmers, same test. But what they found is that these farmers
did much, much worse Before they’d actually harvested crops. When everything was starting to go towards
empty, they actually had lower IQ scores. And then, when they tested them at a point
when the harvest had come in, their IQs went up. And so then they were trying to figure out,
how did the same person’s IQ actually change throughout the year? And then they ran a similar test on Americans. And what they did is they asked people a bunch
of IQ related questions and got baseline scores. And then they said, hey, you now have a bill
that you cannot pay. Just think about that. And then they gave them the same IQ test again. And low and behold, the Americans who were
presented with a bill that they could not pay, even though it was obviously a fictitious
bill, actually had lower IQ scores. And it turns out that not being able to pay
your bills has the functional equivalent of decreasing your IQ by 13 points, or one standard
deviation. And what they found is, there’s a mindset
of scarcity that’s associated with when you don’t have enough money, or you don’t have
enough time, or you don’t have enough food, or if you don’t have enough companionship. And it actually decreases your functional
bandwidth. It’s different than stress. It actually makes you less reasonable, less
rational, less generous, and more subject to bad ideas and bad impulses, including even
things like racism and xenophobia. Now, the opposite of a mindset of scarcity
is a mindset of abundance, which is what most entrepreneurs have. A mindset of abundance is a sense of optimism
that if you build it, it will improve. You will be able to get the resources, you
will be able to get the customers, you will hire and find the right people. And, abundance and optimism ends up building
unto itself and producing results if the environment is right. And so, this scarcity mindset and abundance
mindset are very much in opposition. And, we’re programmed with a scarcity mindset
in many ways, because genetically, we’re brought into an existence where things were scarce,
where if you ate too much in a particular period, maybe you won’t have enough to eat
later. And so, right now, this tension is something
that humans and Americans struggle with all the time. Unfortunately, right now, the scarcity mindset
is going up and up in the United States, because people can’t pay their bills. 78% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. 57% can’t afford an unexpected $500 bill. And so if there’s a sense that the United
States is getting less reasonable, less rational, even more subject to bad ideas, and less open
to other people, it’s related to the fact that right now a mindset of scarcity has swept
this country because of pervasive financial insecurity. And that’s one of the reasons why I’m so passionate
about a Universal Basic Income, The Freedom Dividend, to help reverse this trend, get
the boot off of people’s throats, and replace the mindset of scarcity with a mindset of
abundance. With a mindset of abundance, we would see
untold new– hundreds and thousands of entrepreneurs, artists, creatives, founders, starting new
things and organizations and projects and companies around the country. Because what we need for that to happen, more
than anything else, is a mindset of abundance and people thinking that if they take the
right moves into the future, they’ll actually succeed.