April Freeman Banner 2014


Million Dollar Dream

MARCH 01, 1957

I dreamed I had a million dollars and need never work again.

I thought of all the things I could now do because I had a
million bucks. I would have the fanciest food money could buy.
I would buy a fine house. Only the sportiest and most expensive
automobile would suit me from now on. Clothing? Only the richest
and finest would ever cover me again. Oh, I was in clover
all right. My fondest wishes had come true.

 In my dream I dressed and, being hungry, went to breakfast.
There wasn’t any. My wife was in tears. The food she had ordered
the day before hadn’t been delivered. Not even a bottle of milk
or the morning newspaper greeted me when I opened the door.
I tried to telephone the grocery but the line was dead. I said,
"Oh, well, I’ll take a walk and bring back something for breakfast."

 The street was deserted. Not a bus, street car, or cab was in
sight. I walked on and on. Nothing in sight. Thinking something
had happened only to my neighborhood, I went to another.

Not even a train was moving. Then people began to appear on the street — first, only a few, then many, then hundreds.

I joined them and began asking questions: "What has happened? Where can I buy food?" Then I got the jolt. Somebody said, "Don’t you know? Everybody has a million dollars and nobody has to work anymore."

 At first I was stunned. I thought that somehow a mistake,

a ghastly mistake had been made — but there was no mistake.

It was really true. Everybody had a million dollars and thought that work was over for him.

Then it dawned on me as never before that all of us are dependent upon all of the rest of us; that to a small extent at least my labor had a place, a part, in the total welfare of mankind. With an angry shout I tossed to the winds even the thought of a million dollars.

Then I woke up. My dream was over. The sun was shining, the birds singing, my wife rattling the breakfast things.

I looked out the window and saw a world of people moving about their tasks, each contributing a little to my life and living, just as I contribute to theirs. I called to my wife, "Hurry up with that breakfast, sweetheart, I want to get to work."

EDITOR’S NOTE: This fable, reproduced by permission of The Employers’ Association of Chicago, illustrates that money is not wealth. Nor has it ex­change value except as the owners and producers of goods and services find that it facilitates their trading with one another.

A society of nothing but consumers is indeed a dream that no amount of money can bring to realization. Anyone who attempts to issue money with no provision for its redemption in goods or services is due the same rude awakening that is in store for every dreamer of something for nothing.


March 1957


comments powered by Disqus


* indicates required
Sign me up for...


April 2014

Around the world, people are struggling to throw off authoritarianism, with deeply mixed results. From Egypt to Venezuela, determined people build networks to overthrow their regimes, but as yet we have not learned to live without Leviathan. In this issue, Michael Malice and Gary Dudney discuss their glimpses inside totalitarian regimes, while Sarah Skwire and Michael Nolan look at how totalitarian regimes grind down the individual--and how individuals fight back. Plus, Jeffrey Tucker identifies a strain in libertarianism that, left unchecked, could reduce even our vibrant movement to something that is analogous to the grim aesthetic of architectural brutalism. The struggle for our lives and freedom is a struggle for beauty; it begins inside each of us.
Download Free PDF