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When I was in high school Go-cart tracks were a fad. A friend of mine named Steve went to the local go-cart track a couple of times a week. One crucial fact about high school boys and go-carts: teen age boys will go as fast as that go-cart can possibly go every time. Combine that with the fact that those little go-carts can really get up and go and you’ve got incredible potential for amazingly scary home videos. This is a combination of facts that those track operators knew all too well. So, the operators would install a little device on the engine called a governor, a simple device that keeps a machine from going too fast. My friend Steve had taken auto-shop in high school and thus knew all about engines and governors—especially how to disable the governor. And so of course, the next trip to the go-cart track for Steve ended in a predictable way—he disabled the governor and ended up in the emergency room! Most every machine has a governor to regulate its speed, and it’s put there to keep the operator and the innocent bi-standers as safe as possible. The governor isn’t put there to destroy the fun, but to make wreck-free fun possible. When the governor is disabled, someone’s going to wreck. We have disabled our own internal governor that helped us know the difference between needs and wants and that helped keep our spending in check—and the result is that our society’s life-style of spending has sped dangerously out of control and we’ve wrecked.

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