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Category Archives: Business

Extreme Individualism Is Why Whites Don’t Run Hollywood

Every day, message boards flare with rage and envy at successful groups like American Jews, blaming the situation always on conspiracies, never on their own shortcomings as a people.
Why, they wonder are half the supreme court justices, authors, famous scientists, all the movie studios Jewish?

Though Jews have an advantage in brains on average, there are so few of them, this alone can’t explain their dominance.  With tens of millions of whites to draw from, there’s no shortage of people who could compete with them, if they had decent teamwork.

Part of the formula for success is rich Jews identify members of their community with potential in the long term and get them the money and loans they need to focus completely on projects that interest them.

There’s no way the individually competitive white community would identify someone brainy and eloquent, then allow them sometimes to putter around into their 30s before there’s a payoff.  That’s pretty much the life story of Bernie Sanders.  He probably wouldn’t have become a US senator if he had to focus his energies on a 9-5 job instead. 

Extreme apex ventures like professional acting, writing, art, politics, academics, journalism are too risky and too expensive for atomized individuals to participate in.  That just leaves an open field for a group that backs each other up and makes investments in developing their own human capital.  

If a group doesn’t want to show up for the game, they can’t complain when they don’t win.  Then the cohesive team of people who took control of all the high risk/high reward ventures secure immense power over society.

What’s sad is white society didn’t always believe “every man is for himself,” “the world doesn’t owe you anything,” and “you have to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps.”

Alexander Hamilton comes to mind as a good example.  He grew up in the Caribbean as an illegitimate kid.  His mother, strapped for cash, died when he was still young.  In our current society, he’d disappear into the foster system and dysfunctional public “education” never to be heard from again.

In an ironically less backwards 18th century, the local property owners noticed Hamilton was extremely bright, mature for his age, with an excellent work ethic.  They trained him in the sugar cane export business and then as he continued to show promise, pooled their money to send him to university in New York.

The community support that Hamilton benefited from would be unthinkable in modern white culture.  In fact, with jobs that pay even the simplest living now scarce, workers take perverse joy in someone like Hamilton falling through the cracks.

They love to waggle their fingers patronizingly and say  “Look how I pulled myself up while that smart guy turned out to be a loser.”  A quick glance at reality TV shows us how taking pleasure in watching others fail while we are safe serves as porn for both sexes.

A culture of extreme individualism devolves into the backstabbing and treachery of royal court politics until nothing gets done and no one cares anymore about real accomplishment, just “getting ahead” through “networking.”  The greatest object of scorn is the poor cuckold fool who gets things done and the most admired the clever manager who takes all the credit for it.
 
No wonder even the most popular fantasy story, Game of Thrones, takes place in a world where no one is good, everyone ruthlessly schemes in a royal court, and all things magical and fantastic lie dormant.

Meanwhile, the Jews see someone like Hamilton in their community and give him a chance.  Maybe he turns out to be a loser after all or just doesn’t quite make the cut for the big time.  But if the gamble pays, they have a US senator or an A list actor that’s from their own group and now owes them favors.

Success stories in developing human capital teach us apex ability at anything requires identifying talent early and giving it direction.

Alexander Hamilton was running businesses by the time he was a teenager.  David Farragut was responsible for ships by the time he was 12 years old.

By age 18 after 12 years of public school boredom, smart kids have already had much of their potential wasted and millions of them have already checked out from a senseless and stupid society that gleefully wastes their time.

Much of this stupidity comes from the failed religion of equalism.  In the 18th century most people had the common sense to understand that the most talented people have superior genes and surpass other people at an early age.

In some ways their society had more opportunity precisely because it didn’t buy into equality.  If a 12 year old could perform at an adult level, he just might get a chance to rise to his potential.

Until white society rejects its failed culture of atomized competition, they will always be the puppets of smarter groups who can work together and promote their own.

They can blame the Jews and pogrom them all tomorrow but the next day, someone else comes along to fill the vacuum and dominates them, again beating them bloody with a riding crop as they squeal in impotent rage through a ball gag.  
And there they stay trapped in humiliating servitude to more cohesive tribes until they change themselves.

It’s the Chinese handcuffs of culture.  As soon as white society finally examines and changes its attitudes, cultural autonomy suddenly becomes effortless.

Most Wealth is Wasted in Modern Society

Of the massive 15 trillion dollar per year US economy there is undoubtedly some millions that comprise the fake plant industry.  
Fake plants serve to accentuate the soullessness of your typical office or waiting area with a parody of nature.  The materials and labor that goes into them serves no essential purpose nor does it make anyone happier.  What then is the point?

Why not just have fake plant makers stay at home with basic income if they’re wasting time and resources?  The system works by most people being forced to sell their labor(not everyone can be entrepeneurs) so they have food to eat and rent for their landlords. Why do we assume all labor must be good when every other living thing rests when it can?

The other side of this equation is consumerism that operates on the Keynesian assumption that all economic activity is worthwhile, and the more of it the better, no matter what.  And if you ever doubt it, you’re a commie or worse, a socialist!
This encourages an economy based on make-work that gets people a paycheck so they can buy more stuff without anything of value getting done.

So if I were emperor I might outlaw the manufacture of fake plants.  Maybe there’d be a black market for them and maybe fake plant dealers from time to time would get a whipping in the public square or get pilloried and pelted with rotten eggs and tomatoes.  

At the very least it would make fake plants more expensive and lower quality so fewer people would bother.  Being  a worthless “good” that no one really likes, there would be no Al Capone of fake plants.

Growing up in the 90s, I saw the social order of consumerism at its absolute peak.  Even people of modest means lived in decent-sized houses and their garages were invariably full to bursting with thousands of dollars worth of frivolous toys they never used.
 
I remember getting taken to house parties with my parents and seeing whole collections of the brand new DVDs worth hundreds of dollars that just sat there in glass cabinets, never removed from their plastic in houses that were so fastidiously clean, they didn’t even seem lived in.

I would get a feeling of dread and black depression in the pit of my stomach.  I could sense it was signs of sickness and decay though I couldn’t articulate or explain, even if someone in the smugly triumphalist 90s would have listened to such talk.

I reflect on my childhood and remember how most people given more money than they need to live just blow it all on stupid fads and status signalling anyway and are just as miserable and greedy as they were before.

Actually I perceived a thinly veiled cynicism, viciousness, and jadedness pervading most everything, even in other kids, who would’ve slit a throat for more Abercrombie and Fitch apparel. There were no loyalties or values, just things.

I remember those times as the worst and darkest of my life even though I spent my 20s perilously close to going completely broke as I had to teach myself the laws of real world survival from scratch after getting a worthless degree.

For all the pain it has caused, I actually think the challenges of the 21st century have forced people to reflect again on what is really important in life—and discredited the corrupt 1960s cultural revolution.  In some ways, it would have been the true nightmare if that on-paper prosperity had gone on forever.

Giving the commoners excessive wealth through the labor market or by welfare is like inflating the college degree or home loan markets.

The trouble in understanding this lies in enlightenment delusions of “perfectly rational” human behavior.  Or in other words assuming that people will always strive to improve their situations in a stricly pragmatic material sense.

In reality, beyond getting basic necessities met, most people just care about attracting desirable mates, making friends, and starting families.  
Humans as social animals are hardwired to compete for social prestige by any means necessary.

Like many other animals we see in the wild, human males try to build bowers and put on courtship displays to impress females.  Females spend most of their time and money acquiring accessories and grooming their plumage to impress the best bower builders.

As the level of wealth rises in society, the bowers get bigger and the accessories get more elaborate.  The dark side of this is if you don’t jump on the fad wagon and compete with the Joneses, you get left behind or even cast out from society.

Eventually you have a society where social signalling with more expensive houses, cars, and credentials puts all the wealth in the world straight down the toilet.

Human status is relative to what other people have and that’s why those who say “But US poorz is better off than African Kingz cuz they’re fat and they’ve got microwave ovens.” are full of crap—and they know it.

So if I were emperor, I would put restrictions on what kinds of houses are legal to build.  No more oversized houses with shoddy architecture and cheap materials that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.  

I would insist on durable materials suitable for the climate at reasonable prices that are large enough to do what’s necessary, especially anywhere near the cities where land is scarce.  It wouldn’t even take that long to phase out the current generation of houses that are considered “old” after 30 years.

There would be no more luxury cars for commoners.  No more hummers and pickup trucks on the road(unless you live off-road, have a farm, or a small business).  Excessively big vehicles just force everyone else to get bigger, more expensive cars if they want to survive a collision and consume ridiculous amounts of gas.  For 99% of people it makes more sense to rent a uhaul for the day if they need to move some stuff.

The credential factory universities wouldn’t get free money anymore and would have to answer directly to market forces.  They would probably just go back to being a socialization service for the upper middle class and up.

I would also abolish all employment laws concerning race and sex, granting peoples complete freedom of association.

I would make it legal to use IQ tests or other aptitude tests for employment to make a huge chunk of the bloated credential economy obsolete overnight.

I’m sure some who read this will choke with indignation at this “infringement of individual property rights” etc. etc. But I really see it as more mundane than that.  No different than rules against business owners burning down their competitors’ shops or building codes that limit how high or prominent signs can be.

A clear basic duty of those who control the guys with guns is to keep competition at all levels of society within healthy limits so they in turn can compete with other groups of guys with guns.

Let’s imagine for a moment that we take away those building codes.  Overnight, restaurants would build ever larger, taller, more brightly flashing signs and decoration to get attention even as the quality of the burgers they’re selling plummets.

This is exactly what happens when a population has no rules of social competition.  It simply escalates out of control until the most fabulously wealthy society in history is mired in crushing debt and most people are living paycheck to paycheck.

The core problem is that we actually idolize the social order of endless escalation that is destroying us.  Like countless empires before us that squandered their inheritance, we will find ourselves suddenly vulnerable to barbarian incursions from every side and our ability to unite, fight, and trust in our fellow man utterly extinguished in the endless war of all against all that we worship.

Until we rethink our basic assumptions about wealth and human nature, we are like Tantalus doomed to be thirsty and hungry though surrounded by all the wealth of the world, satisfaction always just out of reach.

Perhaps, we may even begin to dream of heresies—would living in a basic mudbrick house and a basic car be bad if we didn’t have to worry about basics of life like healthcare?
If you can’t buy a McMansion or lame crap like fake plants, and you don’t have to worry about becoming a debt slave for life if you trip once on a flight of stairs or slip in the shower, suddenly the unthinkable might occur.  The urge to get more money even if it destroys your entire society, might just diminish and economic activity become limited to where it does the most good.

The Problem of Rent-Seeking

Money is in theory just a liquid means of exchange so every bit of it should represent real world wealth.
The core problem of a society based on financialization is everyone starts to believe money itself is wealth.  Then society rewards the manipulation of money more than it does the creation of real wealth that actually helps people.

Why would anyone of means do anything productive if they can just collect interest and rent?
Rent-seekers use property to extract wealth indefinitely, making their living from a distortion of reality.
In the world of material things, there is no such thing as a gold mine that never runs out.  There is a limit in value to all things.  Yet those who control property can extract rents in perpetuity.

Patent law recognizes a limit in the claim to the rights of an idea or invention.  In time, the patented material becomes the natural inheritance of those who benefit from it.  So by what principle then does rented property stay forever in the hands of an owner who never uses it for themselves and never produces anything?

In Cincinnati, where I currently live, I noticed there are small patches of land used as paid parking in downtown.  Someone bought a small lot, threw down some asphalt on it, installed a ticket machine and voila, they can rake in cash every day.
The person who provides the parking lot, I thought, provides a useful service.  Not to mention most of these lots are cheaper than the parking garages, so they can save people money too.
On the other hand, I noticed these lots were minimally maintained. The asphalt was worn down, cracked, with weeds growing through it.  I supposed other than checking for freeloaders every once in awhile, there was no incentive for the property owner to do anything else while they reaped their dividends forever.

So the problem here is we need people to develop property and provide services but the value they bring to the table must also be recognized as finite.
The property owner must make a reasonable profit if we want them to bother but it is unnatural and improper for them to bring in an indefinite and infinite harvest once they have long since ceased to contribute new value.

So would it not make sense if there were limits to ownership of property that collects rents?  Like patents, you profit for awhile, but eventually it passes on into the public domain.
This could be especially relevant where there is opportunity cost.
Those little flat, run-down parking lots in Cincinnati are surrounded by 10 story buildings.
So while the land is put to a use that creates some value, surely it would create far more value if it re-entered the market and was used for a multiple story building owned and used by a business that actively creates new value every day.

The total gain appropriate to a renter could be determined by a number of factors.

-Absolute quantity of wealth invested in the property.(Did someone spend millions or billions of dollars on it?)
-Percentage of personal wealth invested.(Did someone put a lot of their money into the property?)
-Riskiness of the investment.
-Amount of effort to develop and maintain.
-Value the property gives back to society.(Penalize houses that sit empty just to get flipped later and/or keep rents artifically high.)
-Opportunity cost to society based on the property’s location.
-Is the property a strategic chokepoint that people have to pay for and therefore easy to command unreasonably high prices for?

The point would be to impose especially harsh penalties against large, lazy property holders who try to be dogs in the manger using the state’s monopoly on force— without which they own nothing—to parasitize others.  Without the threat of armed enforcers, they would probably be shot in the head trying to impose their will.  Why do they deserve state backing that not only hurts society, but delegitimizes the state by association?

Money acquired through parasitism is heresy.  Not only is the sacred relationship of money and wealth desecrated and distorted, every penny of false money-as-wealth is real wealth stolen from those who are trying to help the social order.  Once a society rewards clever defectors, while punishing honest cooperators, it is doomed.  Society cannot exist without maintaining the integrity of its wealth.

A worthwhile society understands that money used as counterfeit real-world wealth is nothing but theft and fraud—not just against one person but against the entire social order.  There could be a generous grace period after implementing such rules after which, perpetrators would be regarded as far worse than mere murderers.

See Also: White Collar Criminals Are Worse Than Street Criminals

Quantum Medicine Quacks Explained

21st Century Gurus for Fun & Profit !

“Like everything else, science also has power politics because it is done by people, not logical automatons. Like elsewhere, power also accumulates in its institutions and develops inertia of its own. But science itself presents studies that make its community aware of these imbalances. It is one thing to rail at the human failings of science, but entirely another to rail against scientific process itself as a religion.”

“Quantum Theory is a difficult area of physics. Even physicists are humble in their claims of fully understanding it.It is an unintuitive and complex mathematical theory that does not lend itself to rhetorical expression. Several attempts have been made to state it in plain language, all of which seem to have done more harm than good (the absurd von Neumann–Wigner interpretation was perhaps the most damaging and was the basis of most pseudo-science that arose from the area), to the public understanding of science. To think that one understands quantum mechanics by reading these interpretations is closer to thinking that one understands the issues of robotics by watching Transformers movies.”

“But particle physics is not what happens in human bodies for the simple reason that particles get liberated from atoms at only high energy states. Since our body does not have mini particle colliders, understanding biology and its chemistry at the level of stable atoms and molecules has been quite adequate. But should a case to go beyond atoms present itself in the future, before we can have quantum medicine, we must have a robust quantum biology. The lack of this never bothered “quantum healers”.”

UPDATE!!! Face to Face with a Quack

One of my associates bought a pair of those magical quantum machines from China for the “fair price” of 350€ considering that they’re sold at 12000€ in my country, it could be profitable to resell them.
The machine consists in a pair of headphone connected to an electronic device with a fancy archaic connector also Junk Software with pretty animations is included with the product: all it does is generating random diagnoses based on inputs from the user such as Age, Gender etc.

I volunteered for a free diagnosis & these are the results:

INPUTS: Male, 20-30 years old.

Health Report:

Nasal Obstruction (I actually have it).
Severe Vaginitis ( My phantom vagina must be in severe pain ).
High Blood Pressure ( No I don’t ).
High Trygliceride ( Nope but many other people do ).
Blindness ( I am Mr Magoo ).

Best of all I appear to have delayed menstruations.

When asked for any proper scientific findings he started to ramble about how BigPharma is conspiring against this wonderful invention, ironic since he displayed signs of having simple paranoid delusions.

He started to claim that I know nothing because I don’t have a degree (not in medicine, mind you ) and he does so I should shut up and believe it without a SINGLE scientific explanation because if I don’t I am a “close minded” fanatic ( so much projection going on here ).

Since a single diagnosis was correct he started to ramble about it’s clear accuracy !
Like broken clocks are “right” twice a day so are Quacks for all the wrong reasons but that’s all they need: post-hoc rationalizations & magical thinking.

The solution is simple:
Be open minded only with other open minded individuals. Much like the Geneve Convention should be applied only to those who signed it.

Lack of a Long Term is the Problem With Capitalism

Unregulated capitalism knows no past or future, it concerns only the desires of the present.
The state must serve the role of investor to guide the self-destructive child that is the free market.
This means watching out for the long term interests of the society.
Even before American independence, free market greed set up a disaster as business owners chose to import slaves rather than pay to import labor.
They saved themselves money and time for awhile, but by so doing they sank to the degradation of keeping slaves and doomed their children and grandchildren to all the problems that came with having a captive population of millions, doomed hundreds of thousands of grandkids to perish in battle, and saddled an entire people with problems that still must be dealt with hundreds of years later.

Clearly those old planter aristocrats cared nothing for the future, had no use to care for anything beyond the day they died.
But why should a society have any regard for the needs of the reckless and greedy who plan to leave their mess for others to clean up?
Surely such fools surrender implicitly their freedoms in the same way as a murderer, who threatens his victims more immediately and more directly.
Surely they harm society in the long term as surely as a high IQ welfare mother helps society’s future.
A highly intelligent woman raising a large brood of kids makes her less able to work a job, but she more than makes up for her individual output of one lifetime by contributing several valuable lives who will bear quality offspring in turn.
A society that consumes her entire potential in the workforce, devouring the leisure time she needs for family and children cheerfully eats its seed corn, dooming future generations to poverty and suffering.
So too did an 18th century planter consume the seed corn of the crop that rightly belonged to his children by importing slaves.
So too does a modern business owner import temporary talent from every corner of the earth to avoid the temporary expense of training local people who will always be there and teach their craft to their children.

The murderer may kill a few people before he is caught, but the long-term evil doer may well leave behind problems that affect everyone after him forever.
Let’s imagine some finite resource is utterly consumed according to the supposedly holy and infallible forces of demand.  We may suppose that when the resource is still abundant, demand dictates it be used for the most mundane and frivolous purposes without a second thought even though it may run out forever by noon tomorrow.  The free market is by nature a stampede of lemmings.
Without firm guidance, the free market enshrined as God in America becomes a rampant cancer.
And many forget, that without the intervention of government, there are no markets, only loot and plunder.

So a great state must protect its future investments from predation and in righteous ruthlessness crush those low souls who are willing to benefit now while incurring a net expense for everyone else later.

There are those who do not care what happens later — fine.  But by the principle of justice they cannot expect anyone to care about their problems, their property, or their freedoms, now or ever.

The problem of course is in the absence of philosopher kings, we fear the abuses of such a government more than we expect competence in its administrators.

The Rest Are Not Rising After All

BRICs map

Brazil, Russia, India, China. The so-called BRICs.

“Over 50 percent of them(Americans), according to a Gallup poll conducted this year, said they think that China is already the world’s “leading” economy, even though the U.S. economy is still more than twice as large…

The notion of wide-ranging convergence between the developing and the developed worlds is a myth…

Of the roughly 180 countries in the world tracked by the International Monetary Fund, only 35 are developed.  The markets of the rest are emerging – and most of them have been emerging for many decades and will continue to do so for many more…

There were a few pockets of countries that did catch up with the West, but they were limited to oil states in the Gulf, the nations of southern Europe after World War II, and the economic “tigers” of East Asia…

It was only after 2000 that the emerging markets as a whole started to catch up; nevertheless as of 2011, the difference in per capita incomes between the rich and developing nations was back to where it was in the 1950s…

Other than being the largest economies in their respective regions, the big four emerging markets never had much in common.  They generate growth in different and often competing ways – Brazil and Russia for example are major energy producers that benefit from high energy prices , whereas India, as a major energy consumer, suffers from them.  Except in highly unusual circumstances…they are unlikely to grow in unison…

Russia’s economy and stock market have been…dominated by an oil-rich class of billionaires whose assets equal 20 percent of GDP, by far the largest share held by the super-rich in any major economy…

…looks back to say the seventeenth century, when China and India accounted for perhaps half of global GDP…

China’s population is simply too big and aging too quickly for its economy to continue growing as rapidly as it has.  With over 50 percent of its people now living in cities, China is nearing what economists call “‘the Lewis turning point'” the point at which a country’s surplus labor from rural areas has been largely exhausted…

One casualty will be the notion that China’s success demonstrates the superiority of authoritarian, state-run capitalism…

Although the world can expect more breakout nations to emerge from the bottom income tier, at the top and the middle, the new global economic order will probably look more like the old one than most observers predict.  The rest may continue to rise ,but they will rise more slowly and unevenly than many experts are anticipating.  And precious few will ever reach the income levels of the developed world.”

Foreign Affairs, November/December 2012 Broken BRICs: Why the Rest Stopped Rising, Ruchir Sharma

How Microsoft’s Human Resources Culture Drove Away Talent

“Microsoft’s implementation – “stack ranking”, a bell curve that pits employees and groups against one another like rats in a cage – plunged the company into internecine fights, horse trading, and backstabbing.

…every unit was forced to declare a certain percentage of employees as top performers, then good performers, then average, then below average, then poor…For that reason, executives said, a lot of Microsoft superstars did everything they could to avoid working alongside other top-notch developers, out of fear that they would be hurt in the rankings.

Employees quickly realised that it was more important to focus on organisation politics than actual performance:…”

LINK

One of the commenters on this article, a ‘mikesmith’ gives some real food for thought by challenging current conventional wisdom about the ascendancy of STEM.

“I was particularly struck by the very last line, quoting Jobs: ‘Microsoft never had the humanities and liberal arts in its DNA.’ That is so insightful and so true, and says so much about why Apple is now the world’s biggest company. And it’s now fundamentally an arts company, nont a tech company. Sure it has to have great technology. But the purpose of the technology is to sell the arts products. It’s the products created by musicians, writers, filmmakers and others sold on iTunes that is financing Apple’s growth.

And it’s not just true about companies but about countries as well. Those that prosper in coming years will be those that promote the arts, the humanities, the liberal arts. Education in those areas should be a country’s number one priority, and those countries that do that will be the leaders and will have the most prosperous economies. People who study business and technology simply aren’t capable of coming up with the creative ideas. They are good at bean-counting, or finding ways of making the creative peoples’ ideas work better, but they shouldn’t be in charge and they certainly shouldn’t be receiving the bulk of the investment. It’s the artists and the creatives who matter, who now generate the ideas and the profits. Consider how much economic activity just two artists, Tolkien and Rowling, have generated in the past decade. Huge streams of billions, stemming from the work of just two artists! And they will continue for decades.

I’ve read numerous articles in this paper and others recently that young people are studying business and the sciences more than the arts and the humanities. That is just disastrous, both for the individuals and for their countries. And I feel so sorry for those young people who have been brainwashed into thinking that that’s the way to go. There’s no future for them. They should consider well Jobs’ insight, it’s quite brilliant.”

The Decline of the Traditional Job

The original Luddites were quick to grasp the long term implications of the industrial revolution as they saw their living vanish overnight.

The ‘job’ as generations from the 19th century onward have known it has gradually been decreasing in importance and reliability.

We’ve tried reducing to 40 hour work weeks, we use schools to keep young people off the job market for years.
We’ve adopted a truly Keynesian economy that devotes most of its efforts to useless pyramids and intangibles rather than producing concrete things, if only to keep people occupied and keep wealth in circulation.

Yet we’ve reached a point where even these measures are failing to create a job market that can distribute wealth enough to create a stable society.

I cannot help but conclude that we are approaching an age of small scale entrepreneurship because that’s how increasingly more people are going to have to make their money. In some ways it is actually an age of opportunity where more people will be free agents rather than hirelings. And perhaps society will actually benefit from vast numbers of useless pyramid builders being freed up to do things that actually yield a net positive effect.

If the payoff from scarce jobs does not outweigh the inconvenience and strain of being lorded over by bosses, alternatives become more attractive.

An initial consideration for finding a solid source of wealth, a viable business concept.

Does it have an economic “moat” that makes it difficult for competitors to challenge you or can anyone set up shop overnight?

Here’s a rundown of the types of economic moats.

Rockefeller: Oh the Joys of Deregulation

Railroads, factories, refineries…In the 19th century it became possible for a few people to control a few critical chokepoints of commerce and exploit them for all they were worth.

To some, these people were “captains of industry” to the worker on the street they were often known as “robber barons.”
Once one of them dominated a key commodity or transport system they could wield monopolistic powers with impunity.

Many people believed that “free” markets would naturally lead to the optimal public good, the regulations that could have stopped the near destruction of competition in the economy didn’t yet exist.

John D. Rockefeller grew up poor in rural America, his father absent most of the time womanizing and plying money-making schemes, his mother overworked at home on the farm.
Because they never knew when people would come calling to collect debts incurred by the father, they always had money in reserve and kept close track of finances.

When Rockefeller got his first job in Cleveland he started keeping a personal ledger poetically named “Ledger A” that he used to keep track of every penny that passed through his hands.
To put this worship of order and precision in perspective, Ledger A became Rockefeller’s personal Rosebud, a sacred artifact he later had locked away in one of his private vaults.

It was with this methodical spirit that Rockefeller continued to accumulate wealth and assets. He saw commerce itself and the accumulation of capital as a sacred mission.

Realizing that drilling for oil itself tended towards booms and busts, Rockefeller had the brains to focus on refineries that could bring in steady profits whether or not there were localized surges or shortages.

He also leveraged his growing economy of scale to get discount rates from the railroads which allowed him to sell his product cheaper than the competition. Soon everyone had to push for these discounts or go out of business. To a few victors who could push the railroad transport prices lowest went the spoils.

This price war over the railways is why today we have interstate commerce laws. Because Rockefeller could use railroads to help him sell more cheaply than the competition wherever he went, no one else stood a chance.

State governments and the feds tried to make regulations to prevent companies like Standard Oil from operating across state borders without having to answer to any set of local laws. Soon,companies had to operate under the laws of a single state.

Standard Oil simply split up into nominally separate companies, one for each state and all were governed from a seemingly innocuous holding company.

As government continued to try to restrict the reach of robber barons, men like Rockefeller kept finding ways to honor the letter of the law while circumventing its spirit.

Rockefeller responded to concern over the growing size of his company by maintaining every appearance of competition.
Companies he bought out would keep their old names and management. No one would even know anything had changed except for a few people at the top of the hierarchy.
He also allowed an insignificant sliver of the industry to remain somewhat independent so he could always make the claim that some competition existed.

Because of these stealthy tactics, few people realized just how big Standard Oil had become until it was too late. Whereas other Robber Barons liked to behave like celebrities, Rockefeller kept quiet operating largely behind the scenes. He didn’t truly become a household name until long after he had taken over.

Perhaps more than anyone, Rockefeller invented the modern corporation with its precisely organized state-sized bureacracies.
Because Rockefeller found himself in charge of so much, much of his effort was spent simply figuring out how to delegate tasks.

He also invented much of the modern corporate culture even becoming one of the first executives to organize much of his social life around holes of golf.

Like many magnates of his time, Rockefeller seemed to feel a certain tie to a homeland and people that today’s borderless tycoons would be hard-pressed to understand.

That Rockefeller retained some kind of moral vision and notion of a higher purpose even as he gained absolute power seems unthinkable after all the horrors of the 20th century and the dominance of disconnected kleptocrats in the 21st century.

It truly is amazing in retrospect that he actually tried to build things and give back to the society that gave him his wealth rather than relentlessly hoarding everything he had by running his operations out of multiple countries.

Indeed in the 21st century, today’s Robber Barons have transcended obsolete nation states.
They play the laws of one zone against the other for their gain much as Rockefeller once did with the laws of different U.S. states.

As unpopular as the notion of some kind of world governing system is, some kind of international commerce system may become necessary to stem the depredations of billionaires who reap all the benefits of playing a game of arbitrage within the current decrepit and outdated international system: If one nation objects to being exploited by them, they simply take their money somewhere else with a government more amenable to their desires.
If particular countries try to enforce regulations, elites can simply split different operations into different countries all under different names just like Rockefeller used to do in the states with bits and pieces of Standard Oil.

In our age of multi-national corporate entities effectively acting outside of the laws of nation states, we would do well to pay attention to the lessons we can learn from men like John D. Rockefeller.

Source:
Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller Sr.

Google’s Director Of New Projects – On Innovation

Dr. Astro Teller goes over his system for creating innovation, pointing out that:

  • Innovation is counter-intuitive, otherwise we would already be doing it. This means that experts in a field usually will not be able to predict (1) how useful an innovation will be because they are so deeply entrenched in the system. (2)
  • Ideally you should find 3-4% of experts in a field you a innovating in to agree with you, look for the “weird” ones. They should be willing to join you in your project. If everyone agrees with you, you are too late. If no one agrees with you, you are wrong about it.
  • You can’t judge your feelings on it, you either get a metric to judge progress of an innovation or follow the inventor as he makes progress on his work.
  • It’s important that you have a story about how the innovation would effect people, so that you can create something that actually changes people’s lives.
  • A story has to mention the problem, a product or service that solves the problem, you have to show that there is something hard, be it in creating it or in the legal barriers, and show why it wasn’t already fixed by the market a few years ago.
  • He recommends making people also give him 10 bad ideas along with the one good one, to show that they have been exploring lots of little bets that could pay off, instead of just hinging their success on one “big idea”.
  • It’s also super important to figure out what tools you used to implement that idea, and then spend time on improving those tools so you can innovate and implement the idea even better the next time around.
  • He even goes as far as throwing out the code his team writes for the first 6 months, to give them a lot of room to explore a huge goal and then start fresh with what they learned without having to hook it on to an old system.
  • Rebuilding from scratch allows you to iron out the errors and correct dysfunction. If you can’t rebuild it, you didn’t understand it deeply enough in the first place.
  • Separate the people who have an emotional or practical stake in preventing innovation. You don’t want to start a popularity contest among people who don’t want you to win.
  • You can’t break too many assumptions at the same time, otherwise it will be too far outside of the range of most people to market.
  • He gets his engineer’s to say no more than yes. Engineer’s are emotionally attached to their projects, you need to get them to separate themselves from the project. He even provides an incentive for them to kill their own projects, offering them a bonus if the project works, no bonus if it doesn’t or a bonus +10% or more if they are willing to kill their project and start on something new. The cost of running dumb projects is huge compared to bonuses.
  • You have to even kill the good ideas so that the great ones can prosper.
  • If you want to give people a lot of room to succeed, you have to give them a lot of room to fail and make a mess.
  • Innovation tends to happen in small groups with lots of structure.
  • It can be easier to create a new version with exponential gains, instead of relying on incremental gains. It forces you to stretch your brain to find new ways of solving the problem. You already know you can’t get huge gains using traditional methods. (3)
  • The easiest way to fix problems is to transplant ideas from one field to another.
  • “Me too” ideas can make money, like making new iterations of facebook for doctors, dentists, ect… but they are not innovations. Innovations are a new class. (4)
  • The best fields for innovation are where people are torturing themselves. What is the most painful and awkward thing people are doing in spite of the challenges, how can we make that easier and then sell it?
  • Engineers are taught to solve problems, entrepreneurs and designers are taught to change problems. An engineer will create a great vase, a designer will create a “mechanism to display flowers”, to loosen up the constraints and find the best solution possible.(5)
  • Profit motives tend to drive success, even in social problems. Profit motives make the enterprise more sustainable. Profit motives and making the world a better place are not mutually exclusive.
  • Find areas where big problems exist and there has to be a better solution, even if you don’t know what it is.
  • Some things are on paths that are predictable, in other cases the future must be invented and cannot be predicted.

Most of the books on innovation were made by academics, and usually either written for housewifes or as a dry academic text. Teller does a better job in describing how to create a good incentive system for innovation:

1. Even when elites are aware of technologies they tend to downplay their importance, even the experts in the field didn’t estimate the changes wrought by gunpowder, automobiles or the pc. Tons of engineers had to change their skills almost overnight when the transistor overthrew the vacuum tube. The cybernetic steam engine governor was made by a kid who just wanted to play marbles. The elite’s curiosity wasn’t stimulated enough and they had too much emotional investment in the status quo.

2. Reid Hoffman: “A side note on invention and innovation: when you have an idea for a startup„ consult your network. Ask people what they think. Don’t look for flattery. If most people get it right away and call you a genius, you’re probably screwed; it likely means your idea is obvious and won’t work. What you’re looking for is a genuinely thoughtful response. Fully two thirds of people in my network thought LinkedIn was stupid idea. These are very smart people. They understood that there is zero value in a social network until you have a million users on it. But they didn’t know the secret plans that led us to believe we could pull it off. And getting to the first million users took us about 460 days. Now we grow at over 2 users per second.” Link

3. This is also called the Jack Welch Strech, See The Art Of Asking The Right Questions Link

4. It’s easier and more reliable to make money by copying other people. See First Mover Advantage v. Ecosystem/Fast Follower Advantage Link

5. Increasingly the field of marketing, engineering and design are merging into one as benefits are being custom tailored to products and distribution networks, see Airbnb Link

What The Hanseatic League Tells Us About The Present

When governments grow weak, commercial organizations tend to fill the void.

Across a vast region along the Baltic Sea with few strong central authorities in the middle ages, merchant guilds banded together for strength and security until they were effectively their own state with their own military.

Indeed, they clashed with actual kings and princes and because they monopolized trade through the entire region, they usually won.

It was only when centralized government became strong again and the modern concept of a nation-state began to form that the Hanseatic league went into decline.

In our own time:

If I were to ask “Who is the most powerful man in this room?” The answer is not necessarily obvious.

Jobs obama zuckerberg silicon valley dinnger

Presently, we see a weakening of both the physical powers and legitimacy of the state. And predictably, we see a corresponding rise of commercial entities as they increasingly exert control over the state itself or take over functions (i.e. space exploration, education) that were previously the preserves of central state power.

Psychographic Community Marketing Heuristics

A person’s tendency to consume goods and services extends beyond age, income, and education. Energy, self-confidence, intellectualism, novelty seeking, innovativeness, impulsiveness, leadership, and vanity play a critical role. These psychological traits in conjunction with key demographics determine an individual’s resources. Various levels of resources enhance or constrain a person’s expression of his or her primary motivation.

Some categories of psychographic factors used in market segmentation include:

  • Social class
  • Lifestyle
  • Behavior
  • Opinions
  • Values

More On VALS

PEST – Political, Economic, Social, Technological preferences

Studies show that women are responsible for buying 80% of household goods.1Although it is often played down, it is clear that women have a great deal of influence in the economy as consumers, in other words, a lot of spending power.

Increasingly, women take responsibility for buying larger items such as houses and cars. And women are also often responsible for buying gifts on behalf of their families. When kids go to birthday parties, it is usually the mother who purchases and wraps the gift. It often works the same way when a couple attends a wedding or anniversary. Women are faced with endless choices and decisions in their lives as consumers.

Link

 In developing nations, women’s earned income is growing at 8.1 percent, compared to 5.8 percent for men. Globally, women control nearly $12 trillion of the $18 trillion total overall consumer spending, a figure predicted to rise to $15 trillion by 2014. Link

1. Women account for 85% of all consumer purchases, including everything from autos to health care

2. Women make 80% of healthcare decisions and 68 percent of new car purchase decisions

3. Seventy-five percent of women identified themselves as the primary shoppers for their households

4. Women influenced $90 billion of consumer electronic purchases in 2007

5. Nearly 50% of women say they want more green choices, with 37% are more likely to pay attention to brands that are committed to environmental causes

Link

Nooks/Kindles Reveal What People Read, How Quickly & How Many Pages

Governments are too inefficient and behind the curve to execute a real 1984 type society. Corporations, particularly technology/internet ones, are the kind that have the engineering know-how to create the real big brother. That’s why the government bought Palantir’s products, the best engineers don’t work in government anymore. In a real martial law situation I would expect massive privatization to cover the gaps. Even Wal-Mart is using former intelligence officers now. This of course doesn’t cover the “black projects”, but no one can exactly put their finger on where that money goes and what comes of it.

http://consumerist.com/2012/06/barnes-noble-amazon-know-which-sections-of-fifty-shades-of-grey-youre-reading-over-and-over.html

Data collected from Nooks reveals, for example, how far readers get in particular books, how quickly they read and how readers of particular genres engage with books. Jim Hilt, the company’s vice president of e-books, says the company is starting to share their insights with publishers to help them create books that better hold people’s attention.

How Reddit Got Off The Ground – Tons Of Fake Users

How Planned Obsolesce Works – Faulty Capacitors

“These known-defective components are found in virtually everything electronic-related. Nearly all electronic devices have electrolytic capacitors in them – the purpose of these devices is to smooth electrical currents, much like a shock absorber does in a car. Without them working properly circuits either don’t work at all or become unstable.

If you’ve ever heard a “snapping” noise from some piece of electronic equipment, shortly before or concurrently with it ceasing to work, you almost certainly have run into one of these known-defective components.

Yet despite knowledge of the fact that these things are in literally everything – phones, computer board, power supplies, TVs, monitors and other products – there has been no recall that I know of issued. Link

“These are not accidents or “ordinary wear and tear” failures.

You are being screwed, America, by manufacturers who produced products with defective components that are necessary for both the function and safety of the devices you’re using.

These components will fail, your consumer electronics will stop working long before they should.

This is not about warranties. These capacitors are not merchantable. They are unfit for any purpose, as they are known to be defective and as such it is known that they will fail, destroying your device.

It is as if these products have a built-in time bomb ala “Mission Impossible”, that just happens to go off shortly after your warranty expires.” Link

1 in 5 Korean Women Get Plastic Surgery

“Don’t worry about people stealing an idea. If it’s original, you will have to ram it down their throats.”

One can not simply steal the kind of knowledge and expertise so developed. The momentum developed by one technical group cannot be simply transplanted into a competitor, it transcends documentation. No — it resides in our greatest assets: our people, the minds we’ve trained, the conventional wisdom we’ve transformed, the reputation that, through our trials, we have deeply entrenched.

The crucial factor? The common thief is lazy, and the lazy thief is thwarted. As you see, the thief is rarely a person of great motivation, excepting for personal vendettas. If other victims make better targets, one is safe. If all victims defend themselves more vigorously than the notion of honest work in the lazy thief’s mind, an honest society becomes an inevitability. Link

The contrary position is that if you have a strong track record, people will be keeping an eye on you anyway to see what they can copy. When you have competitors, people who live to fight others, that’s when you get imitators. The speed at which they can take in new information, which is affected by how much work they are doing and how much time they have to copy it, will drastically effect this. But for the most part, innovative ideas make people too uncomfortable to think about or try to understand.

A side note on invention and innovation: when you have an idea for a startup„ consult your network. Ask people what they think. Don’t look for flattery. If most people get it right away and call you a genius, you’re probably screwed; it likely means your idea is obvious and won’t work. What you’re looking for is a genuinely thoughtful response. Fully two thirds of people in my network thought LinkedIn was stupid idea. These are very smart people. They understood that there is zero value in a social network until you have a million users on it. But they didn’t know the secret plans that led us to believe we could pull it off. And getting to the first million users took us about 460 days. Now we grow at over 2 users per second.  Link

Resourcefulness & Control

Like real world resourcefulness, conversational resourcefulness often means doing things you don’t want to. Chasing down all the implications of what’s said to you can sometimes lead to uncomfortable conclusions. The best word to describe the failure to do so is probably “denial,” though that seems a bit too narrow. A better way to describe the situation would be to say that the unsuccessful founders had the sort of conservatism that comes from weakness. They traversed idea space as gingerly as a very old person traverses the physical world. [1]

The unsuccessful founders weren’t stupid. Intellectually they were as capable as the successful founders of following all the implications of what one said to them. They just weren’t eager to. Link

There are great startup ideas lying around unexploited right under our noses. One reason we don’t see them is a phenomenon I call schlep blindness. Schlep was originally a Yiddish word but has passed into general use in the US. It means a tedious, unpleasant task.

No one likes schleps, but hackers especially dislike them. Most hackers who start startups wish they could do it by just writing some clever software, putting it on a server somewhere, and watching the money roll in—without ever having to talk to users, or negotiate with other companies, or deal with other people’s broken code. Maybe that’s possible, but I haven’t seen it.

One of the many things we do at Y Combinator is teach hackers about the inevitability of schleps. No, you can’t start a startup by just writing code. I remember going through this realization myself. There was a point in 1995 when I was still trying to convince myself I could start a company by just writing code. But I soon learned from experience that schleps are not merely inevitable, but pretty much what business consists of. A company is defined by the schleps it will undertake. And schleps should be dealt with the same way you’d deal with a cold swimming pool: just jump in. Which is not to say you should seek out unpleasant work per se, but that you should never shrink from it if it’s on the path to something great.

The most dangerous thing about our dislike of schleps is that much of it is unconscious. Your unconscious won’t even let you see ideas that involve painful schleps. That’s schlep blindness.

How do you overcome schlep blindness? Frankly, the most valuable antidote to schlep blindness is probably ignorance. Most successful founders would probably say that if they’d known when they were starting their company about the obstacles they’d have to overcome, they might never have started it. Maybe that’s one reason the most successful startups of all so often have young founders.

In practice the founders grow with the problems. But no one seems able to foresee that, not even older, more experienced founders. So the reason younger founders have an advantage is that they make two mistakes that cancel each other out. They don’t know how much they can grow, but they also don’t know how much they’ll need to. Older founders only make the first mistake.

Ignorance can’t solve everything though. Some ideas so obviously entail alarming schleps that anyone can see them. How do you see ideas like that? The trick I recommend is to take yourself out of the picture. Instead of asking “what problem should I solve?” ask “what problem do I wish someone else would solve for me?” If someone who had to process payments before Stripe had tried asking that, Stripe would have been one of the first things they wished for.

Link

What would someone who was the opposite of hapless be like? They’d be relentlessly resourceful. Not merely relentless. That’s not enough to make things go your way except in a few mostly uninteresting domains. In any interesting domain, the difficulties will be novel. Which means you can’t simply plow through them, because you don’t know initially how hard they are; you don’t know whether you’re about to plow through a block of foam or granite. So you have to be resourceful. You have to keep trying new things.

Be relentlessly resourceful.

That sounds right, but is it simply a description of how to be successful in general? I don’t think so. This isn’t the recipe for success in writing or painting, for example. In that kind of work the recipe is more to be actively curious. Resourceful implies the obstacles are external, which they generally are in startups. But in writing and painting they’re mostly internal; the obstacle is your own obtuseness. [2] Link


What  Control Is 

As a former spec ops guy, pilot, author, CEO, etc.  (control heavy professions), I’ve learned that being in control is NOT about:

  • Controlling the behavior of anybody else.
  • Control over EVERY detail and every situation (the micro environment).
  • Control of everything that’s going on in the world (the macro environment).

If you attempt any of the above, you are a control freak.  You won’t be happy with yourself, people will find you miserable to be around, and you will be unlikely to achieve the results you seek.

Real control, the kind of control that keeps you alive on dangerous missions and gets you out-sized results regardless of how difficult things become, is simple.  It’s control over:

  • Preparation.  Planning.  Skills.  Resources.  Enter every situation ahead of the power curve.
  • Direction.  No plan survives first contact.  Know where you are going.
  • Process.   How you get things done, matters.

As you can see, real control is about knowing how to think correctly. Link

Some Suggestions For Building Self Control:

  • Simulate poverty. Sleep on the floor for 2 weeks. Use very light padding if your back is too sensitive.
  • Wear raggedy, old clothing for these 2 weeks.
  • Fast for a day, cut down on your overall calorie content for the 2 week period
  • Stop whatever you are doing, and on a set time, find a simple object like a doorknob and focus only on that object for 5 minutes. If any thoughts come, let them wash over you and restore your focus only on the sight of the object. Increase it up to 30 minutes gradually, so that you can pull yourself out of whatever train of thought you are in and achieve a hard focus.
  • Spend 30 days straight without whining about anything. Reset the clock each time you fuck it up. You should focus only on analyzing and fixing problems, not getting negative emotions involved into them.
  • Don’t ejaculate at all for 14 days and make sure you lift weights. Other people have gone into more detail so I won’t rehash it all again.
  • Do a CARVER matrix on any goals you have and figure out what is most important and what should slide. Knowing that you’re working on hard problems makes it easier to focus

Rules of Productivity, Solving Problems

How do we get more work done? It is a question that every manager and every passionate worker faces. Yet, for the most part, teams operate on gut instinct and habit. The results are less than optimal.

Topics covered include:

Having a methodology of solving problems, a way of prioritizing problems, a way of figuring out how much cognitive load you are carrying, how much time you can work without losing concentration and knowing how to focus your mind all effect your ability to solve problems. With a bit of experience and feedback, you should be able to feel when your brain’s performance is going down, and stop and then recover.
As time goes on, ideas are very likely to become more valuable and will be judged by their clarity, usefulness and market demand. Make sure you are a good idea creator.

First Mover Advantage v. Ecosystem/Fast Follower Advantage

Peter Thiel mention’s this in his class on Start-Ups

As product development cycles continue to shrink, and as it becomes easier to reverse-engineer products once they appear in the marketplace, one could argue that the need to be first has faded into the background. The “first-to-market” mentality has been replaced by a broader, more strategic imperative: to create a truly global ecosystem that encompasses devices, platforms and operating systems. It’s okay to introduce a tablet after everyone else, as long as that tablet runs on your operating system and helps your overall ecosystem perform.

In many ways, Google’s current innovation strategy is almost textbook MBA: focus on the core, innovate at the edges. There’s one other small wrinkle, though, that they may not teach you in business school: At least for now, it’s more valuable in the short term to build a copycat product that plugs into an existing ecosystem than it is to build a first-to-market innovation. Scale matters, and networks and ecosystems give you that scale. To be a great business in today’s digital world, it requires spotting all the emergent technological trends on the borders and edges and transforming them into new, scalable market opportunities that build on existing strengths in a unique way. Link

Current dogma embraces the “fail fast, fail often” mentality. Which is quite devastating, particularly if you’re just getting started and tank most of your seed money away on a failed idea. Rather than think things out or let others take more of the risks, the majority of entrepreneurs still support the war by attrition method.

Three types of benefits—technology leadership, control of resources, and buyer switching costs—can provide long-lasting first-mover advantages. However, researchers believe that in many industries, companies entering later can overcome these advantages. Sometimes there are even first-mover disadvantages, or advantages enjoyed by companies who enter later. For example, the first entrant may invest heavily in enticing customers to try a new type of product. Later entrants would benefit from informed buyers without having to spend as much on education. Later entrants may be able to avoid mistakes made by the first movers. If first movers become complacent, later entrants may take advantage of changing customer needs. As the Internet continues to develop, technology companies find themselves especially susceptible to second- or later-mover success. Follower companies are reverse-engineering many new products to develop competing products either faster or cheaper—negating much of the first-mover advantage. Link

After a certain point, you set priorities. Do you want to have more control, more money, or more innovation? The problem with innovation is that most consumers in any market are behind the “curve”. Even the early adopters can rarely keep up with all of the technological advances in a field. So if you have a product that is very ahead of the curve there won’t be a market established for it.

I’ve seen this personally as a few of my friends who are much more successful than I am, that nonetheless can’t keep up with changes in their field as they happen, not to mention apply them across their various campaigns. But that didn’t really matter, they were still supplying the customer with what they wanted. In fact, they grew so fast that they never set up a proper system to scale their work or developed cognitive skills for information management. They worked themselves to the bone, one took up chain smoking menthol’s to deal with the stress and wound up with a collapsed lung and had to have surgery to have part of it removed before he was 24. As long as you can hit the “good enough” checkpoint in innovation and provide a superior user experience or have better marketing, you will out-compete opponents.

In fact, a 1993 paper by Peter N. Golder and Gerard J. Tellis had a much more accurate description of what happens to startup companies entering new markets. [3] In their analysis Golder and Tellis found almost half of the market pioneers (First Movers) in their sample of 500 brands in 50 product categories failed. Even worse, the survivors’ mean market share was lower than found in other studies. Further, their study shows early market leaders (Fast Followers) have much greater long-term success; those in their sample entered the market an average of thirteen years later than the pioneers. What’s directly relevant from their work is a hierarchy showing what being first actually means for startups entering new or resegmented markets:

Innovator                      First to develop or patent an idea
Product Pioneer          
 First to have a working model
First Mover                  
 First to sell the product                  47% failure rate
Fast Follower             
  Entered early but not first               8% failure rate

The Race to Fail First

What this means is that first mover advantage (in the sense of literally trying to be the first one on a shelf or with a press release) is not real, and the race to be the first company into a new market can be destructive. Therefore, startups whose mantra is “we have to be first to market” usually lose. What startups lose sight of is there are very few cases where a second, third, or even tenth entrant cannot become a profitable or even dominant player. (The rules are different in the life-sciences arena.)

  • Believing in First Mover Advantage implies you understand your business model, customers problems and the features needed to solve those problems.
  • That’s unlikely.
  • Therefore you’re either going to burn through your cash or pray that the hype can help you can flip your company.
  • None of the market leaders in technology were the first movers

Link

Innovation Ecosystem: A Global Shift in Capitalism?

Resource Limitations, The Ultimate Resource

According to Zimmermann, resources are not known, fixed things; they are what humans employ to service wants at a given time. Human “appraisal” turns the “neutral stuff” of the earth into resources. What are resources today may not be tomorrow, and vice versa.8

Zimmermann wrote:

Resources are highly dynamic functional concepts; they are not, they become, they evolve out of the triune interaction of nature, man, and culture, in which nature sets outer limits, but man and culture are largely responsible for the portion of physical totality that is made available for human use.9

Zimmermann concluded: “Knowledge is truly the mother of all resources.”10 Link

From the Coming Dark Age Newsletter:

On the other hand, the ultimate resource is something that itself
becomes scarce in a declining civilisation. Technological development
stagnates. People find that life is comfortable enough and they have no
motivation to change. Vested interests obstruct new discoveries that
might ruin their megabucks industries.
Even though it was an American that invented the transistor, for
instance, American companies declined to license the patent. That would
have meant throwing away their existing product lines, designing new
wares and retooling their manufacturing plants. They didn’t want to do
that.
So instead the transistor patent was licensed by the Tokyo
Telecommunications Engineering Company, which was starting from scratch
like the rest of post-war Japan. It produced the first transistor
radio, and in 1958 changed its name to the Sony Corporation. (This is
an example of the Phoenix Principle, by the way.)
It is for these reasons that our society will seem to run out of
resources. Future historians may say that western civilisation
collapsed because the oil was all used up. But the truth is that lack
of oil only became a problem because our society was already sick and
rotten. We didn’t create the opportunities that would have meant we
didn’t need to rely on oil any more.

Local Currencies

Communities print their own currency to keep cash flowing

http://www.resilientcommunities.com/is-a-local-currency-important-to-resilience/

Nantes is also doing something that is likely to ensure that its local currency is successful.  It is configuring its parking system, transport, leisure and other facilities to accept the nanto AND it is planning on paying city employees some of their salaries with the nanto.

This is critical.   Historical evidence implies that local currencies that don’t integrate into the local government’s financial flows are usually limited to loyalty programs.  Those that do are real, tangible currencies that people will use daily.

Ithaca Hours

Online Database of Complementary Currencies Worldwide

http://www.treehugger.com/culture/how-to-print-your-own-money-build-community-not-get-arrested-by-the-feds.html

Begun in 2000, REAL dollars (which stands for Realizing Economic Alternatives in Lawrence) were issued in denominations of 1, 3, and 10 dollars with pictures of local Lawrence celebrities on them (William S. Burroughs, Langston Hughes to name two). Now no longer regularly circulating, the REAL dollar of Lawrence, Kansas shows some of the problems with establishing a local currency.

In an interview with Lawrence.com, REAL dollar creator Boog Highberger pointed out two practical obstacles all such currency have to face: 1) Modern businesses don’t have as much use for cash as they once did—how many places don’t accept credit or debit cards? Not many; and 2) Modern businesses rarely go to local suppliers anymore.

As Highberger said at the time, “If we revitalize [REAL dollars] what we need to do is institute some kind of banking system (that would allow users to debit or credit their accounts).”

Launched in the fall of 2006, BerkShares circulate in the Berkshire region of Western Massachusetts. By some estimates BerkShares is largest circulating local currency in the world, with two million Berkshares issued to date. Bills are issued in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50. Currently some 350 businesses accept the currency and 5 different banks offer exchange services at 12 locations. BerkShare checking accounts, ATMs and loans are planned.

European brain drain: European workers living in the US

What’s not so funny for European policymakers is that this lab isn’t in Brussels or Paris or any other E.U. capital. It’s at the New York University (N.Y.U.) School of Medicine. All over the U.S., such research facilities are teeming with bright, young Europeans, lured by America’s generous funding, better facilities and meritocratic culture. “In Italy,” says Dorrello, “I’d be earning maybe €900 a month.” At N.Y.U., he gets nearly three times that. “The U.S. is a place where you can do very good science, and if you’re a scientist, you try to go to the best place,” says Pagano, who likens researcher migration to football transfers. “In soccer, if you’re great, another team can buy you.” Science is the same, and the big buyer is the U.S.: in 2000, the U.S. spent €287 billion on research and development, €121 billion more than the E.U. No wonder the U.S. has 78% more high-tech patents per capita than Europe, which is especially weak in the IT and biotech sectors.

Three years ago, E.U. leaders vowed to make the union “the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world” by 2010. But one of the most worrying signs of their failure is the continued drain of Europe’s best and brightest scientific brains, who finish their degrees and pursue careers in the U.S. Some 400,000 European science and technology graduates now live in the U.S. and thousands more leave each year. A survey released in November by the European Commission found that only 13% of European science professionals working abroad currently intend to return home.  Link

Link with statistics

One of the many reasons I have no faith in the EU:

EU bans claim that water can prevent dehydration

EU officials concluded that, following a three-year investigation, there was no evidence to prove the previously undisputed fact.

The original study is here, and yes we do get fluids from things other than water. The point is that innovation, adaption and commerce is difficult in an environment where it takes a special commission 3 years to figure out what people have known for centuries

Marc Faber: Buy a house, get concubines to pay rent

If the locals allow you to put in solar panels and you have access to water in a relatively safe neighborhood, you’ll be in pretty good shape.

“I was in Phoenix the other day,” Faber began.  “Then, the taxi driver took me to the hotel, nice hotel, Fairmont.  And then he told me the person that I just drove before you—I drove him to a five-bedroom house.  He told me he just bought it for $120,000.  Where in the world can you buy a five-bedroom house for $120,000?  I would buy it, live in one bedroom and rent out four bedrooms to concubines.”

But he wouldn’t rent out spare rooms to any foursome of concubines, according to Faber; the concubines must pay rent to him so that the property would throw off cash.

“If you take a very bearish view of the world, then at least—if you own property, you still own it—you pay for cash and get the cash flow as I suggested [from the concubines].  And if you are very bullish about the world, it means the demand for real estate will go up.”

Faber continued, sharing his observation from his earlier stop in Miami.  There, Faber said he witnessed the ‘crane index’, firsthand.

“I was three days in Miami.  Three years ago, I counted 47 cranes, building highrises,” he said.  “This time around, I counted one crane, destroying a building.  So, the market has cleared, actually, in Miami.” Link

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