"Michael Malgeri has created a series of small books that could change the way an entire generation views individualism, profit-making, and capitalism. The books are easy to read and fun to discuss with children of all ages. They capture the imagination and explain the moral foundations of a free society with just a few words and pictures. Adam Smith and Milton Friedman would have approved!" Joseph Bast, President, The Heartland Institute
"Kids will learn from these. But adults would, too! Should be mandatory reading in Washington." Steve Forbes, Forbes Magazine, on the "Johnny Profit" series
"Johnny's Gold continues the bold and unconventional theme found in the world of "Johnny Profit". It shows kids that money, rather than being the root of all evil, is a tool of progress and justice. Parents will also learn and enjoy." Larry Kudlow, CNBC's "The Kudlow Report"
Written by Michael A. Malgeri
Layout and Illustrations by Michael Schultz
By Michael A. Malgeri
To Mikey and Dominique, our precious nuggets
Like "Johnny Profit," "Johnny's Gold" has a single purpose, which is to present the idea to young people that honest profit-making is good. It further explores the fundamental principles of Capitalism by explaining, through simple storytelling, how a gold standard monetary system works. It is written in honor of the vast majority of those businesses, large and small, dedicated to maintaining honesty and integrity in the pursuit of innovation, productivity, mutually beneficial exchange, wealth and happiness for all. The book uses very simple language in a fictional setting to convey fundamental concepts in another easy to understand bedtime story about Capitalism.
At the end of a long crooked road, on top of a hill with snake-like trees, stood the castle of the evil Wizard of Kimor. From his grand balcony he would look out over the village below.
Through the heavy creaking doorway frightened villagers would come, their heads bowed, as the Wizard sat high on his throne at the far end of a vast room. They came with gifts hoping he would help them with their troubles.
"Great Wizard, please stop the pain in my back, so I may continue to work in my fields and grow peaweed for my hungry family," begged an old farmer.
"Bring me two more sacks of peaweed. I will mix a magic drink that will only work if you believe in my powers."
The Wizard made himself rich from the suffering of others. The older he got, the more he was feared. Everyone thought he was magical.
One day, Farmer Tom came to see the Wizard, carrying sacks of peaweed in something very strange.
"What's that thing you're pushing?" barked the Wizard.
"Oh, this is my wheelbarrow. I invented it and as you can see, it makes carrying everything so much easier!"
"How do you have time to create such a thing? When do you work in your fields to grow peaweed?"
"Oh, I don't grow peaweed anymore, kind sir. I spend all my time making wheelbarrows and trading them for the things everyone else makes. Trading is making our lives so much better. We owe it all to Johnny Profit and the shovel he invented!"
"Johnny who? What is a shovel? Why are you so happy? You're 26 years old. You should be preparing to die soon."
"Oh, no kind Wizard! Johnny's shovel allows us to plow our fields so much easier and faster. It gave us many hours of rest and fun. We also have lot's of time to share ideas when we're not working in our fields."
"I see," said the old Wizard as he stroked his long white beard. "Go now! And leave me this wheelbarrow." He was not very happy. The moment Tom was out of sight the Wizard screamed for his servant.
"Who is this Johnny Profit? Go find out what's happening and don't come back until you've got answers!" The Wizard knew that if the people learned to take care of themselves, they would no longer need him to be their ruler.
The servant rushed off to Kimor. While the Wizard waited, he began thinking of a plot to kill Johnny Profit.
"What's for dinner Molly?" asked a hungry Ben as he opened the door to his home.
"How about peaweed pie?" said a familiar voice.
"Johnny!" exclaimed Ben. "What brings you here today?"
"An idea, my old friend. A wonderful idea."
"Ah, Johnny! Nothing makes me happier than to hear those words. You taught us how to invent new kinds of food, clothes, medicine and many helpful tools."
"Everything we built made our lives healthier and happier. We no longer spend our entire day on our knees digging in our fields. I even have more time for my baths, Johnny, and no longer smell like a horse!" said Ben with a smile.
Johnny laughed, "Ben, you have the honesty of a child."
"Thank you, Johnny. Please, tell me about your new idea!"
"You'll have to wait until tomorrow morning. We'll go for a hike up Mount Kimor as soon as the sun rises. Now, let's enjoy this wonderful dinner."
"I'm VERY tired!" said Ben as he reached the top of Mount Kimor. "I haven't climbed a mountain in a long time."
Johnny laughed, "You did well. We made it to my secret workshop!" said Johnny.
It was a cave and when they walked inside Ben saw sledgehammers, wheelbarrows, buckets and a huge oven. In the corner was a workbench with small hammers and tools.
Suddenly, as the light from the sun entered the cave, its rays reflected off a small object on the workbench. Its sparkling glimmer caught Ben's eyes. "What is that?!" he asked with wonder.
"GOLD?" asked Ben. "What a beautiful stone, Johnny!"
"It's not a stone, Ben. Feel how heavy it is."
Ben picked up the piece of gold and bounced it in his hand.
"Ah, it's a metal! What great things are you making with it?"
"I use these tools and dig for gold. Then I make money."
"Money?" asked Ben. "What's money?"
Johnny showed Ben a bag of round, flat coins made of gold.
"These gold coins are money. They will make trading much easier for everyone in Kimor. Everyone will be healthier and happier. Let's take them back to Kimor and I'll show you what I mean."
As they walked back down the mountainside, they didn't notice the Wizard's servant. He was hiding behind a large bush and heard every word they said.
It was a very busy day in the village when Johnny and Ben returned from their hike to Mount Kimor.
"Now watch this," said Johnny as he took out 20 gold coins from the bag Ben was holding.
"Hey Tom, how would you like to make a trade?" said Johnny.
"I always like making trades with you, Johnny. What have you got?" was Farmer Tom's reply.
"These are gold coins I call money. I'll give you 20 of them for one of your wheelbarrows."
Tom held the twenty coins in his hands. "But what would I do with this money, Johnny?"
"Well, you can trade 4 of them with Jonas for a pair of shoes he makes. Then you can trade 6 coins with Gus for one of his shirts."
"Hmmm," said Tom. "That really makes trading a lot easier."
"Yep," and you'll have 10 coins left over for trading some other day for whatever you want. Just keep the coins safe in your pockets or at home until you're ready to use them."
Tom was amazed! "Johnny, this is wonderful! OK, let's make our trade so I'll have money to use for trading with Jonas and Gus."
Johnny and Tom made their trade and Tom rushed off to find Jonas.
"Now watch what happens," said Johnny to Ben.
"Hi Jonas! Would you like to trade 4 of these gold coins for 1 pair of shoes? You can use them to trade for other things."
Jonas understood how to use the coins very quickly. "Hmmm, he said. "How about 5 coins for one pair of shoes instead?" Tom thought for a moment and then said, "OK! That sounds fair."
In no time, Tom had made a trade with Jonas for shoes and now Jonas had coins to trade with someone else. Then they watched Tom trade with Gus for a shirt and then Gus traded his money for wheat with Otis. Of course Otis went off to trade with someone else.
Johnny also continued trading his gold coins for things made by the other villagers and once they learned about money, they all began using it for trades too.
The gold money coins spread throughout the village making all trades much easier and faster. Everyone agreed that money, when used for honest trading, was GOOD!
"Johnny, can anyone dig for gold and make them into coins for money?" asked Ben.
"Sure Ben! As long as people believe the coins are made of REAL gold they will use them as money in their trading. The coin maker must be honest and trusted by everyone."
"Johnny, what do you call this way of trading? What do you say when people are free to trade or not to trade and when no one is forced to do anything they don't want to do? What do you call a way of trading in which people use gold coins as money to make trading easier and where honest people, who make fair trades, make their lives and everyone's lives better?"
"I'm glad you asked Ben. The type of trading you described is called Capitalism," said Johnny.
"There's one thing that troubles me, Johnny. If the Wizard learns about gold and money, he'll want to rule over it. He'll want to destroy all the things that make Capitalism good."
"You're right Ben. The people of Kimor should never let that happen. If they do, their lives will always be controlled by the Wizard. He'll try to make them think Capitalism is evil and that he is good."
Ben nodded. "Johnny, before you came to Kimor, people died at a very young age. You taught us how to use our ideas to invent wonderful things to make our lives longer and better. Now, you've taught us about this wonderful way of trading and dealing with others called Capitalism. Some day, I think Capitalism will allow us to reach the stars!"
Johnny smiled. "You're my best friend. Your kindness saved my family when we reached Kimor after our long hard journey. Would you be my partner in finding gold and making money? Together we'll help make Kimor an even better place to live."
The sun began to set and its fiery rays shone on Ben's face as he smiled with joy. Johnny knew his answer was "yes!"
Once again as they walked away, they didn't notice the Wizard's servant. He was hiding behind a large boulder and heard every word. Now that he knew about money and Capitalism, he rushed back to the Wizard's castle to tell him EVERYTHING!
The Deadly Plot
"I WILL NOT ALLOW THIS TO CONTINUE!" screamed the Wizard as he raised his crooked staff over his frightened servant. "I am the supreme ruler of Kimor! Why do these villagers listen to Johnny Profit. He is just a child compared to me."
"Great Wizard, I'm told he is 92 years old," said the servant.
"What?!" screamed the Wizard as he rapped his staff repeatedly on the stone floor while his servant hid under a table.
"It's not true. It can't be true! No one can live that long. No one can be older than I. He must die!"
"What are you going to do?" the mouse-like voice said from the darkness.
"I must destroy Johnny Profit. Once he's gone, the people will fear me again and I'll own all the gold and all the money. I'll teach them that money and Capitalism are evil and only I am able to control it for them."
"I'll decide what trades are made and who can make them! No one will be allowed to make their life better unless I allow it!" The Wizard's eyes burned with hate.
"Inventions! Ideas! I'll show them an invention! Come! That cave will make a nice tomb for the great Johnny Profit!"
The Wizard's Revenge
The next day Johnny and Ben returned to the cave. There was work to be done and they were eager to start. They talked about how they would hammer and dig through the rocky walls in search of gold.
Other Kimorians would work for Johnny and Ben and would be paid in gold coins. A track would be built on the path to the cave that would make it easier to move gold and supplies in carts with wheels.
While Johnny and Ben worked, the Wizard and his servant climbed the back side of the mountain, waiting for the right moment to carry out the evil plot.
"Johnny, I'm going to get a bucket of water. I'll return shortly." said Ben.
"OK, Ben. We worked hard today." said Johnny.
Ben slapped the clay colored dust from his hands and headed toward the stream. When Ben was out of sight, the Wizard and his servant silently crawled behind the bush outside the cave where Johnny remained inside.
"Is that the cave?" whispered the Wizard to his servant.
"Good. He's there! Start the fire!"
The servant lit a match as the Wizard held a long candle-like object in his hand.
"What is that?" asked the servant.
"Shut up!" snapped the Wizard. He placed the big candle's wick in the fire and it began to sizzle. As it sparkled, he crept toward the entrance, tossed the fiery stick into the cave and ran back to his hiding place.
A shocking BOOM soon filled the air like no sound ever heard in Kimor. The ground rocked and there were frightening echoes. It was louder than 10 thunderbolts and was followed by the sound of crunching boulders and rolling stones. The echos died as they traveled through the mountains.
The Wizard and his servant peeked from the bush, their mouths wide open. When they saw the cave's entrance was blocked with boulders, the Wizard screeched with joy! He danced and cheered, shaking his staff at the sky, screaming with a demon's laughter.
"Come, great Wizard. We must leave before Ben returns."
The Wizard stopped. His shifty eyes scanned the area from behind his silk cape. Convinced they were not seen, the wicked pair made their escape down the back side of the hill from where they came.
Down by the stream, Ben's body shook as he slowly rose. A flying rock from the blast had struck his head and he was knocked out for a short time. He rushed back to the cave and fell to his knees in horror at what he saw.
"Johnny," he whispered. "Johnny!" he yelled and ran toward the rocks, screaming as he tried to move the boulders. He could not budge a single stone and fell to his knees weeping with his face in his hands.
He continued sobbing until he heard the soft purr of a cat and felt its fur as it rubbed against his leg.
"Hades?" he said, recognizing the Wizard's pet. He jumped up and searched the area. Behind a large bush hanging from a branch was a piece of purple cloth that was torn from the Wizard's cape.
Ben's eyes widened. He raced down the hill to find help to save Johnny. He hoped it was not too late.
In the valley below, the city of Kimor was alive with trading. No one noticed Ben as he raced through the center square and leaped on to the platform that supported the Great Bell.
He grabbed the long heavy hammer and with all his might slammed it again and again into the bell's side. With each deafening clang, Kimorians ran from far and wide to see what was wrong. When a huge crowd had gathered, Ben dropped the hammer.
His chest was pounding and he bent over holding his knees trying to recover his breath. The crowd fell silent as they waited to hear the terrible news from their friend. In a loud panting voice, Ben began to speak.
"Kimorians, the time has come to save a friend! Grab your shovels, your hammers, your ropes, your picks and levers. Johnny Profit is trapped in a cave on Mt. Kimor! The Wizard,"
Ben did not have to finish because within seconds, every man, woman and child was racing up the path towards the mountain. Each carried something that would help save Johnny. One Kimorian, Old Man Jim, heard Ben's words and went home instead.
They reached the cave in groups. The youngest and strongest began to hammer away but after a few hours it was clear that the boulders were too big.
They would never be able to bore a hole through the wall of rocks before Johnny died. Ben ordered them to stop. He made a team of eight of the strongest in the group. If they could move just one boulder, perhaps the rest would fall.
"One, two, three NOW!" screamed Ben. The team pulled their long levers against the bolder, like rowers on a boat.
"One, two, three, NOW!" screamed Ben again. Muscles bulged and sweat dripped, but the boulder did not budge. The crowd watched in silence and many wept as the they realized it was hopeless.
They were about to give it another try when a voice cried out from a distance. "Wait!" It was Old Man Jim. It took him a while to reach the cave, but when he did the crowd parted, letting him through.
He screamed again. "Wait! I have an idea!" These were exciting words for every Kimorian. Ideas always meant there was hope. Everyone gazed at the thick, candle-like objects with long coarse wicks Old Man Jim was carrying.
"What is that you've got?" asked Ben.
"My latest invention," replied Jim, "They're called dynamite. I invented them to help us find metal and blast holes that would take 20 people with shovels to make. I see my invention has been used for something evil."
"When I heard the BOOM not long ago and listened to Ben's story, I knew the Wizard was up to no good. Now take cover, so that we may save our friend!"
Jim tossed sticks of dynamite to each person on the rocky wall. He told them to place the dynamite behind the largest boulders. They were also given small torches.
On Jim's command they used the flame of their torch to start the wicks sizzling. Then they sprung from the rocky wall like jackrabbits, racing down the path to take cover with the rest of their fellow Kimorians. It seemed like a long time until finally, the dark night sky lit up with a series of brilliant lights.
An earth-shaking BOOM followed each flash! Eight times the night became day and the earth quaked. When it was over, they raced up the hill towards the cave.
It was Ben who arrived first. By the light of the moon he saw the opening to the cave once again, and standing straight and tall, with a confident smile, was his friend. Ben raced to hug Johnny and the crowd roared with delight.
"You almost died, Johnny, but you look more alive than ever."
"Thank you, Ben. I knew someone's idea would save me and it did!" Everyone cheered with happiness and pride.
Johnny and the Wizard
The next morning the Wizard sat on his throne, his head bowed in misery, since he heard about the rescue of Johnny Profit. He held a small jar of unknown liquid in one hand and the crooked staff in the other.
His servant burst into the great room and said, "Someone is coming! I'm not sure who it is!"
Without a glance the Wizard said, "It's Johnny Profit you fool. Let him in when he knocks, as I'm sure he will."
A deadly silence filled the room only to be broken by the distant sound of sandals crunching along the path to the Wizard's door. The crunching grew louder and louder until finally, there were three sharp knocks.
"Come in," shouted the Wizard, his voice sounding like a growl. The door opened with a long steady creak. The rays of the morning sun highlighted the figure of Johnny Profit as he stepped into the great room.
He walked without fear until he was within a few feet of the Wizard and stopped. Johnny's eyes blazed with the torch of life. The Wizard's stabbed with the daggers of hate.
"You made a mistake coming here, Johnny Profit. I can still kill you!" There was a long pause. "I said I can still kill you, you fool! I can! I can!"
The Wizard stood up in his chair, his staff waving frantically in the air. Johnny stood firm, his eyes on fire.
The Wizard continued yelling, "I can! I can! I," suddenly he stopped. He slowly sank into his throne, his shoulders hunched, his head drooped, his arms resting hopelessly on the thick pads by his side.
There was a long silence, and then the loyal servant said meekly, "Master?"
The Wizard spoke slowly, "Killing you would do no good. I should have known when I first saw that wheelbarrow, that it was too late for me to continue as the ruler of Kimor."
"The people are no longer weak and frightened. You taught them to think and you made them proud of their ideas. You taught them how to take care of themselves. You taught them that honest trading, money and Capitalism are GOOD!"
The Wizard paused for a long time. "There is no place for me here any longer." He swiftly drank the jar of liquid.
Seconds later, the crooked staff dropped from his hand and his body sank further on the throne. He was dead!
The Legacy of Johnny's Gold
Like his shovel, Johnny's gold and his ideas about money and Capitalism changed Kimor forever. More and more wonderful things were invented and traded.
Everyone knew that the things they made could be traded honestly for money, and money could be traded honestly for anything else. Everyone knew they were free to trade or not to trade.
Many years later, Ben and Molly walked into a supermarket to buy a few things for dinner. They strolled up and down the many aisles each with shelves stacked with thousands of things to buy. Ben reached into his pocket and felt his gold coins. It made him happy that he could trade them for anything in the store.
On one aisle a friendly worker handed them a free food sample and a cool drink. They accepted with smiles.
When they were done shopping, Ben pulled out a bunch of gold coins, some that were stamped with his face and others that were stamped with Johnny's.
The young check out girl smiled when she recognized the faces on the coins. She trusted that the coins were as good as gold.
Ben winked and lifted his bag of groceries. "Have a nice day!" he said as he and Molly went home for dinner.
If you enjoyed Johnny's Gold, consider buying Johnny Profit, the first book in the Johnny Profit series. Johnny Profit teaches that honest profit making is good and starts young people on their way towards learning the fundamental principles of Capitalism. Kids will love Johnny and his pal Ben as well as the surprise ending. Johnny Profit is available at this link. ( http://tinyurl.com/8nbf4bt )
Warm This! is the third book in the Johnny Profit series. It gives young people a pro-human perspective on environmental issues. As the real Mother Nature says, "If you make a small footprint, no one will ever try to fill your shoes." Warm This! is available at this link. ( http://tinyurl.com/96ynhgt )
Johnny Profit, Johnny's Gold and Warm This!
Get all 3 books in 1! Just click this link. ( http://tinyurl.com/jy9peqt )