CHAPTER THREE

SUBSTITUTIONAL EQUIVALENCES

The Drivers of Societal Phase Change

LET’S BEGIN LOOKING at substitutional equivalences with an example of a structural transformation that might seem on its face to be an unlikely driver of societal phase change, but that nicely illustrates the substitutional equivalences that power it: bank robbery.

Robbing banks at gunpoint is dangerous work that frequently results in long prison sentences or getting shot or killed. And the returns on the investment get lower all the time. Gone are the days when Willie “the Actor” Sutton could rob one hundred banks for a collective haul of $2 million—$30 million in today’s dollars.1 Because of the use of credit cards, banks no longer keep huge hoards of cash on hand; ...

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