Compare the world physically 2007 vs today. Much the same in terms of real things such as oil reserves, power production, food production, boats, planes, machines, factories. In fact we have slightly more of everything.
According to the economists however, the world is a much poorer place. So the child asks the awkward questions:
Child: So what exactly has changed in the real world?
Economist: Nothing in real terms
Child: So why are we bothered?
Economist: Because we don’t have enough money any more
Child: But where has it gone?
Economist: We owe it to others
Economist: Well, everyone really, mostly for their pensions
Child: So we owe it to ourselves in the future?
Economist: Yes, that’s probably quite correct
Child: Then why don’t we just give it back?
Economist: Um, we don’t have it to give back
Child: So where is it?
Economist: Um, Not sure really
Child: So, if physically, we have all the same things as before why are we bothered?
Economist: Because there’s no money to invest in anything
Child: Then why don’t we just use the things we have and invent and build new things with them?
Economist: Because, ah, we need money to do that sort of thing
Economist: Oh, surely you don’t expect me to explain the whole way the economy works do you?
Child: I don’t think its that difficult, I would just tell everyone to get on with making things, that’s what we do when we have nothing to do, and we don’t need any money to do it.
Economist: That’s ridiculous!