You know sometimes you read a book and it spins you off into pondering something else. Something similar happens to me when I look at a map. I go for directions, whether the old time folded paper in the glove compartment or on Google, and end up finding directions and also getting lost in the geography.

And so I am reading a book on history. It is actually a collection of essays from a professor in the early 1900s. He looks at history from the standpoint of culture rather than just a bunch of facts that are in succession. This means he ponders the why of events. A good example was the Egyptians. He says they were very high class. His meaning of high class is things like the arts, architecture, philosophy, etc. that are thriving at the time. His evidence is the pyramids and art found in certain dynasties of the Egyptian culture.

This got me to thinking. The pyramids are built and it is still very mysterious to us how they were done so. But we assume that the Egyptian people split their time the same way we do. As a people they must have a large army, 2-4 hours of TV consumption per day, and spend time producing all sorts of useless things that a consumerist society buys. However, the Egyptians, during their high culture days, had a tiny army made up of peasants and the leading general was the equivalent of a volunteer leader. This means much of the production, labor or capital, would be used for something else.

This spurred me on to think of what could we be creating today if we didn’t need such a large military? Or economically, if we didn’t subsidize big financial, what would our financial industry look like today? Because we are spending resources in one place means other industries are not receiving them. If big finance wasn’t subsidized, the smaller banks may have been strengthened eventually.

Moral of the story is, be careful; reading can take you places off the map.