Monday, January 30, 2012

THE FACE OF EVIL

EVIL IS A FORCE FOR HARMFUL EFFECTS---IT LIVES BEHIND A FACE--INSIDE A HEAD---IT IS AN IDEA---A VALUE---AN ATTITUDE.  It comes in three forms that I can think of: ECONOMIC---RELIGIOUS---IDEOLOGICAL.  Today I'm going after Economic evil.  I can only show you the face where it resides---AND I WILL!
This day I have thought of a question so carefully constructed that it will OUT (reveal, disclose, make known) an economically evil idea and attitude.  I will go find an investment banker and ask the question.  If the answer is yes---I will have outed an evil idea.
I wangled my way into the office of an investment banker and after establishing some rapport I asked the question.


Here he is in the very act of answering the question. (I have distorted the image slightly out of consideration for him)  He answered the question with a resounding YES.
HERE IS THE QUESTION:  Feel free to try it on your banker.: IF YOU COULD BROKER A DEAL TODAY THAT WOULD RESULT IN A BILLION DOLLAR PAYOFF FOR YOURSELF---WOULD YOU FEEL OK ABOUT IT?
HE SAID "YES"---and added:  "that's capitalism---profit--is the American way---it is honorable."
"but this much profit?"  I said---"for a simple days work".  "Yes," he said again, "Brokered payoffs are called transactional wealth----and transactions have made America the financial juggernaut that it is."

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  Oh sweet readers--I think I have taken you with me into the den of devils.  This man does not know that VAST OVERCOMPENSATION FOR THE FEW DIMINISHES THE REST OF US---DISTORTS THE ECONOMY--- THAT  UNBOUNDED GREED IS IMPOVERISHING THE MASSES. THAT NAKED CAPITALISM SORELY NEEDS TO BE CREATIVELY TWEAKED. (Not dismissed--understand---just tweaked) What it needs is 1. OVERSIGHT 2. CAREFULLY MODERATED TAXATION 3. WEALTH RECYCLING WHEN THE SUPER WEALTHY DIE (i.e. Death taxes---again---carefully moderated) (Wealth is earned in a context--the wealthy owe something to the context)   

67 comments:

Anonymous said...

You talked to him, did he like his job? Was he happy? Wanting to make a huge chunk of cash in a single pop is not unusual & I would not call it evil unless he made the money by directly harming someone.
Being happy with your work is a rare gift.

Who knows, maybe he wants to hang up the banker suit, get himself a travel trailer with a pickup truck and start wandering... maybe do a blog on the side?
Of course he'd need to make some money so he could afford to goof off the rest of his life.
How much is 'enough'?
Is making 'enough' money so he can goof off an act of 'evil'?

I think 'evil' is in the eyes of the beholder.

Sondra said...

Over compensation doesnt start or stop with Investment Bankers, what about football, baseball, hockey,and basketball, players?
I wonder if Nitt and Witt have a clue about what the life of A NORMAL American is all about? Oh I mean Newt and Mitt. 21 million personal income?? How many Millions does one man need?

D0N said...

Ithink you missed your calling... you should have been at one of the many "occupy ______" rallies with the other kooks.

Th problem with the entire "occupy" movement is that they (like you) have no real goals to make things better. They (like you) just want to bitch and moan about things.

So, let me get this straight... you got a meeting wth an investment banker, took his picture (posted it without his permission), asked him if he'd welcome a billion dollar profit and he said YES?!? GASP!! the horror of it all!

Any red blooded American would welcome a billion dollar profit.


I find this to be one of your weakest posts yet.

Milepost said...

Did you really have a legitimate deal for him? I think not. Add another slice of evil to your list, Randy... Frauds, like you. You rip off people who are otherwise dealing with you in good faith, like the guy who let's you into his office, or the pastor who willingly answers your questions, or the the owners who's private property you squat on. Stick to the tales from the road, it's the only reason I keep checking back with you.

Anonymous said...

Randy , Randy , Randy.

Who should say what we are worth ?

How much is a President worth?

How much was inventing the computer worth? electricity ? The internal combustion engine that you use? How about the printing press?

How much have you "put in the Pot" compared to what you have taken out? Have you contributed more that you have taken? Do you volunteer you time ? Do you volunteer your money ?

Michael said...

Maybe picket these banks with a huge sign the says "DANIEL SUELO".

Red Meador said...

Randy you nailed this one.GREED, that is the major evil of America The greedy ones justify that greed as "It is capitalism" a great American endeavor.If you have more than you need it's greed plain and simple.

12-13 years ago a rich lady with a gorgeous smile and body to match met and ran away with a vagabond man. He did not share her desire to be rich. In the months that they were together, with not one cent of her money spent, she began to understand that not everyone had such a deep seated need to be rich.She moved on to another who better suited to her desires, a CEO who's wife had just died.

Before she left, I said to her what would you do if you lost your money? She replied "Kill Myself" and that she did when the big bust came in '07

People who have more than they need or a burning desire for more than they need are indeed sick and it is a sickness that is caused by Capitalism......Needless to say I am a socialist and for those who don't know, that is an economic system not a political system

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree with you more, Mr. Vining.
Capitalist works all right, for the 1 percent and only for the one percent. For the 99 percent it is just a new form of slavery, and apparently stealthy enough that most of the 99 percent aren't even aware that they are enslaved by it.

If you want to understand capitalism go to a pig farm and observe how the pigs closest to the trough get most of slop -- there you have the fact of it in all it's ignominious glory.

Mary Matzek said...

It has been proven that raw, naked capitalism doesn't work. It turns into a corrupted pustule. Capitalism is wonderful for all of us with regulations that make it equitable. The preamble to the constitution states "...FOR THE GENERAL WELFARE OF THE PEOPLE..." Relearning the lessons of capitalism at the expense of the middle class will turn out badly. When people have no money to spend, capitalism itself suffers. And, hungry, down trodden, angry people can get unruly and ungovernable, as in REVOLUTION.
It is definitely the face of evil.

Paul said...

Oh boy... seems like whenever there are more than 2 people in a group, someone always feels like THEY need to be "in charge." Like this part - "What it needs is 1. OVERSIGHT 2. CAREFULLY MODERATED TAXATION 3. WEALTH RECYCLING WHEN THE SUPER WEALTHY DIE (i.e. Death taxes---again---carefully moderated) (Wealth is earned in a context--the wealthy owe something to the context)" Your ideas don't necessarily suit me any more than the bankers answer suited you.

What the banker said to you isn't the definition of evil, neither. Ask a similar question to just about anybody on the street and I'll wager you'd get a similar answer. "Want a billion dollars for doin' hardly nuthin'?" How many people do you really believe would say no?

All y'all that wants more government regulation and interference, more and/or different forms of taxation, thinks the wealthy owes you something or spend your time scheming out ways to suckle off the Nanny States teat are terribly deluded. Reminds me of the "Crabs in a bucket" story.

Mary Matzek said...

Paul,
We don't want more regulatons. We want the regulations they took away, Steagill,bank bill for one, and others that we HAD and that WORKED to make this the greatest successful society ever.

Disappointed said...

Wow, hugely disappointed in this post of yours Randy!

To some in third world countries, YOU are the greedy one with your gas guzzling truck, home with hot water, propane on demand, computer and internet connections, hawaiian shirts, digital camera, running water, etc.

As other's posted, who are YOU to judge what is "fair". Those in third world countries look at you as you might look at millionaires. Imagine if those less fortunate complained and insisted that "how many of these conveniences does Randy really need"? or "How many hawaiian shirts does one man need anyway"?

Hugely disappointed,

A once loyal reader

Anonymous said...

"As other's posted, who are YOU to judge what is "fair". Those in third world countries look at you as you might look at millionaires. Imagine if those less fortunate complained and insisted that "how many of these conveniences does Randy really need"? or "How many hawaiian shirts does one man need anyway"?

Hugely disappointed,

A once loyal reader"


So if those in third world countries view Randy as a villain then they must view Warren Buffet as Satan incarnate X 10.

So you tell me.
If you have a scratch on your finger and a laceration into your femoral artery which of the two is the biggest problem?

Now I think you can see how absurd the opinion you expressed really was.

Sondra said...

Randy always wears plaid shirts....lol
Like Ive seen in print before and it always makes things more clear...
Ex:
The CEO gets 30 million, his 30 employees get 30 thousand a yr. IF his 30 million was spread around between him and his 30 employees, we would have A Better economy, because then we would have 30 millionaires instead of ONE, 30 millionairs have MORE spending power.... each would need a big home, big car, house help, yard help, private schools, tudors, vacation homes, there would be 30 millionaries eating out, helping the poor etc. Spreading weatlh around means a stronger economy, stronger spending. Its not about who deserves its about how much is enough to make one person comfortable in life...whilst others go empty handed...EQUALITY----
NOW my question to the na sayers is "if your brother won 50 million in the Lottery, do you think he should share some with you, or keep it all for himself?

Maria Meiners said...

Personally I admire anyone who could broker a deal like that and think more power to them if they can pull it off.

And why would anyone feel guilty for being at the top of their game and hitting a home run?

I'd be proud of myself for such an accomplishment.

Randy said...

Sondra: Mary: BINGO! Thanks for making the case better than I.
Anonymous, Paul, Disappointed: Still thinking about your comment.

1 More Mile! said...

Sondra,

You have obviously never employed another person, i.e. provided for the primary livelihood. Have you?

Now tell me why a 9-5 employee who has taken little risk and has average experience should be paid the same as the business owner who works 14hrs a day, takes all risk and is so creative that he or she has created a business with their knowledge?

1 More Mile! said...

Randy,

You have chosen to be a minimalist with no real contribution to this nation outside of your Blog and helping a few needy with minor pittance. And, I doubt you pay taxes these days. Right?

Yet, you think you can critique others for their success, earnings and societal contributions.

Son, that's called "childish arrogance". No award is due or given.

Anonymous said...

I have a business and employ others. I don't agree. Sure I take risks and have built a business using my creativity. But to take more than I need is actually weakening the business and my employees potential. Greedy people will make up all sorts of rationalizations.

Ben & Jerry's used to have a policy that no employee's rate of pay shall exceed seven times that of entry-level employees. In 1995, entry-level employees were paid $8 hourly, and the highest paid employee was President and Chief Operating Officer Chuck Lacey, who earned $150,000 annually. When Ben Cohen resigned as Chief Executive Officer and Ben & Jerry's announced the search for a new CEO in 1995, the company ended the seven-to-one-ratio policy.

So is the ice cream noticeably better now? I don't think so.

Yes Randy should continue to pick up the slack on investigative journalism along with the necessary ambushing. This used to be common practice for the free press. I think the Huffington Post is taking up some of this slack. But we don't really have such a free press anymore. I saw this happen when television news cut their coverage domestically and with bureaus overseas. Cronkite talked about this loss of quality often and when he died we heard this reiterated by other broadcasters.

Anonymous said...

One More Mile what is your business? Based on how you allocate your funds and what you think of your employees I wonder if your product is the best.

Sea Gypsy said...

It seems that Randy has,again stirred the pot. A high number of responses fail to see the darkness behind the mask.This investment banker is of no concern, he is a brainwashed puppet telling the "Big Lie" of the failed US business model that profit is the only reason to be in business. Profit should be third on the list, behind People and Environment. If the US government had given the bailout money to the people instead of the banks, the economy would have been better served. Those that lobby the government saw to it that they put the money into the hands of the greedy. What is not seen here is the banks are just the tip of the iceberg. The others like the banks that are more dangerous and can actualy cause more harm to the public, are hidden still. Their time is comming to have the lights shown on them. The Occupy groups are on the right track, they just haven't gone far enough yet. To ignore what is really happening, and fail to see behind the curtian, is to risk everything. But "The American Way" is leading the people of this nation to be as sheep to the slaughter. All for the sake of money. Question: Do you really want to trust your health to those are in the medical profession beacuse of how much money they will make? You are a value only when you are sick. People in this nation best wake up and see the truth. Ask questions, dig to uncover what is beneath the surface. It is easier to do nothing. Good job Randy. Well done!

matt said...

Randy,

Wouldn't most everyone at the slabs answer the same way? Yes!

My friend once told me about a political television ad he saw where someone's comments were taken out of context and the ad made a point that was exactly the opposite of what the person originally said in context.

My friend then commented to me that the people who made this ad must be EVIL.

Then I asked him if he would make the same ad for a million dollars.

His answer? Yes, I guess I would.

How about for $10,000? Yes, probably.

I generally agree with your "solution" and your overall philosophical point, but I don't think that it is as easy as saying that anyone who falls for your trick question is EVIL. Life is more complex and grey (as I think you know). It is not as easy as blaming the EVIL OTHER for the evils of life.

However if I was forced to name the current source of EVIL I'd go with the Republicans in congress. LOL.

Cheers

Anonymous said...

I was doing a considerable amount of activist work directed towards the healthcare profession in my region. A retired executive of one of the major hospital groups in my Bible study told me flat out that he knows of people/doctors running large medical practices that would hire a hit man to have me killed if I kept it up.

Tammy said...

Wow. What a hornets nest you have stired up Randy!

Nobody should be denied a reasonable income for their blood, sweat and tears. But tell me why is someone worth thousands of dollars an hour, when another is only worth minimum wage while working for the same company?

Sure, more responsability, more pay should be received, but a hundred fold or even a thousand fold?

Or how about employees being laid off, and the CEO then getting a whoppng bonus of millions for a decision like that.

I don't see it.

Paul said...

For those of ya's who're waving the "spread the wealth" banner and believe some business owner who earns $30 million per year, but pays his employees $30K per year is evil and ought to spread it around equally, let me try to shine a little light on that misguided belief.

First, the owner who makes all that money is entitled to every penny of it. He owns the business and whatever he decides to pay himself is his decision and his alone. What he is willing to pay an employee and what they're willing to accept as compensation in exchange for their time and effort is a contract between them. No one forces people to work.

No one else gets to decide for me how much money I have and whether or not it's enough or too much. If people no longer want my products or services, the market will decide where my business goes. As long as people buy my products or services, I will remain in business and keep people employed.

Someone said the responsibility of business is people, the environment and profit, in that order. Obviously, that person has never owned a business. There is only ONE reason to be in business and that reason is to make a profit. Without profits, you have a hobby, not a business.

The day some government official comes in my door and tells me I earn too much money and HAVE to give most of it to my employees is the day I cease to have any employees. I close up shop and all my employees join the ranks of the unemployed.

As long as my name is on the door, my name is on all the loans to keep the place going, my name is on the tax returns, insurance policies, legal papers, licenses and all the signature lines on the checks to pay for stuff and make payroll, you can bet your ass I will decide who earns what. Anybody who doesn't like that can get off MY bus!

Believe me folks, I am not alone in my feelings. Sooner or later, the wealth redistributors will run out of other peoples money. Don't come crying to me when that happens.

Paul said...

"if your brother won 50 million in the Lottery, do you think he should share some with you, or keep it all for himself?"

If my brother won $50 million in the lottery it would be his choice whether or not to share it with anyone. I would never be so presumptuous to believe I deserved any of it.

If someone in your family won it and you EXPECTED them to share it with you, simply because you're related, that would label you as greedy and envious.

Greed and envy is what seems to be behind the entire Occupy movement. They all want their share of someone elses lottery winnings, even though they didn't contribute to the cost of the ticket.

Sondra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sondra said...

Sorry had a typo in there, in reply to 1 More Mile, you know nothing of me!! I began my own business when I was 22 yrs old and worked at it for 26 yrs I had employees and paid my taxes always on time and not only that but I trained others who started their OWN businesses!! I am now fully employed and pay taxes and make my way through life with what I earn and live quite comfortably in MY OWN Home which is paid for and have all the luxury of life..JUST because you dont agree with my ideaology doesnt mean I have no life experience, I probably could teach you a thing or two about business and how to treat employees!!

Mary Matzek said...

Paul, you make my other end tired. You act as though everyone has equal opportunity! Huh! What rock have you been sleeping under.

Maybe you are too young to remember that there was once a thing called honor. Human empathy and kindness. It is such a juxtaposition to hear from my conservative right wing friends, they tout patriotism,and Christian values, then profess hate for muslims,kill them all; intolerance for gays/lesbians; and no recognition for the inequalities in our society. The harsher world of the 1% is an ugly world. They don't even know who to thank for their munificence and it isn't all their individual talent. I think I'll head for the road full time and go bird watching.

Spork said...

Thanks Randy, another thought-provoking story.

Your banker suffers from the same disease that afflicts those who play the lottery, the belief that obtaining a huge pile of cash will somehow satisfy their needs and lead to and fulfillment.

"Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after."

99 percenter said...

I suspect Paul worships at the altar of Ayn Rand. Having read her books as a teenager, I can always spot the adults who didn't outgrow their infatuation with her sociopathic ramblings. The really creepy ones even name their kids and/or pets after her fictional characters.

Ayn Rand is brilliant in that she was able to convince several generations of sociopaths that they are "special." It's no coincidence that many of the neo-cons who brought about our current economic crisis cite Rand as their favorite author. They call themselves "self-made" men and women as they drive on taxpayer funded roads, attend taxpayer funded schools and enjoy many, many other benefits funded by the very people they call "parasites." Ask them to pay their fair share and they will scream about "wealth distribution" and "class warfare."

Sadly, these folks own the media and the government and are thus able to convince the masses to defend their avarice and fund their misadventures. They get us to fight over the scraps from their tables and to turn on each other. They demonize the poor and convince the middle class to vote against our own self-interest. So we privatize the profits and socialize the risk and wonder why their share of the pie gets bigger and bigger while ours gets smaller and smaller. Meanwhile they laugh at us while they bathe in the champagne they bought with our bail-out money and plant stories in the papers they own about people buying steak with food stamps. And we swallow it...hook, line and sinker.

Disappointed said...

I had no idea this blog (and perhaps lifestyle) had so many bleeding heart liberals on it.

Ironically, I originally suspected that most here were independent type thinkers and do'ers, proud of their successes or failure's in life. Not so it seems.

For anyone to suggest they are entitled to part of someone else's lottery win, or a business owner's income, is DEPENDENT thinking and immature. Exactly the problems facing America today.

Folks, we make our own way in life, good or bad. Nobody owes you a thing. Sorry your mommy and daddy didn't teach you that while growing up.

Paul gets it. Other's get it. But my God, I'm shocked at the other's here that basically admit they are helpless in life and want a hand out (yes, forcing Facebook owner or other successful people to give you some of their money is a handout).

I'm quickly losing respect for those on here I THOUGHT were independent thinkers and do'ers.

Jim said...

==========
RANDY:
==========
This reminds me of my favorite George Burns routine. He asks a pretty girl at a party of she will sleep with him for $20,000 dollars? She replies, "Well, yeah, I guess I will." Then he says, "How about 20 dollars?" She says, "NO! What do you think I am? A whore?" He says, "Well, Ma'am, I think we've already established that much; now we're just negotiating price."
==========
Anyone who thinks whoring CEOs are entitled to make billions . . . and even get $100 million golden parachutes after they bankrupt the company are part and parcel of this foul malaise which lays over our country like a lead blanket. Their drug of choice is GREED and the more they get, the more they want. When they die, I say toss all their green in a pit with their rotting carcass on top, pour in a few hundred gallons of gas and torch the mutha'. If they keep this up long enough, they may well meet their demise in similar fashion BEFORE they are dead. (Students of world history KNOW what I'm talking about!)
==========
sail4free
==========

Randy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Randy said...

99percenter: THAQNK YOU--THANK YOU for that excellent essay. I wish I knew how to highlight it. I immediately phoned Paul and asked him to read it.

Anonymous said...

PART 1

Maybe this book I'm reading can inform this thread. The author describes a shift in the economy that Paul seems not to be considering. I’ll have to split this up into multiple posts.

Linchpin, Are You Indispensable?
by Seth Godin ©2010

Selfish
Robert Ringer wrote Looking Out for Number One, one of the most damaging business books I've ever read. His salute to selfishness was a product of it's time.

Becoming a linchpin is not an act of selfishness. I see it as an act of generosity, because it gives you a platform for expending emotional labor and giving gifts. There are plenty of bosses who fear the idea of indispensable employees and would instead encourage you to focus on teamwork. "Teamwork" is the word bosses and coaches and teachers use when they actually mean, "Do what I say." It's not teamwork to stand by and do whatever the captain or supervisor tell you to. It might be cooperative or compliant or useful, but it's not teamwork.

The only way I know of to become a successful linchpin is to build a support team of fellow linchpins. The goal is to have an impact, and while it starts with the person (this is my gift, my effort), it works only when it is gratefully accepted by your team and your customers.

The magic of the gift system is that the gift is voluntary, not part of a contract. The gift binds the recipient to the giver, and both of them to the community. A contract isolates individuals, with money as the connector. The gift binds them instead.

Gifts as a Signal of Surplus
It's difficult to be generous when you're hungry. Yet being generous keeps you from going hungry.

155
(Dunbar's Number and the Small World)
British anthropologist Robin Dunbar theorized that a typical person can't easily have more than 150 people in his tribe. After 150 friends and fellow citizens, we can't keep track. It's too complicated.

A lot of stress we feel in the modern world comes from this conflict between small world in which we're wired to exist and the large world we use to make a living.

Gifts Make the Tribe
The Biblical proscription against usury goes all the way back to Moses. The rule was simple: you couldn't charge interest on a loan to anyone in your tribe. Strangers, on the other hand, paid interest. This isn't a matter of ancient Biblical archeology; the edict against interest stuck for thousands of years, until around the time of Columbus.

If money circulates freely within the tribe, the tribe will grow prosperous more quickly.

The faster the money circulates the better the tribe does.

Strangers on the other hand, are not to be trusted. Going further, strangers don't deserve the bond that the gift brings. It would turn the stranger into a tribe member, and the tribe is already too big.

(Martin Luther and the Beginning of the Money Culture)
The Protestant Reformation permitted the explosion of commerce that led to the world we live in now. Once the Reformation began to spread, Martin Luther was heavily lobbied by powerful local interests. In response, he gave princes and landlords the moral authority to take over the commons and rent the land back to the people who lived on it.

Anonymous said...

PART 2

The new church was looking for political support, and its embrace or mercantilism guaranteed that it would get that support from power brokers that had chafed under the Catholic Church's opposition to the practice of charging interest and the commercialization of formerly common lands. (The Catholic Church wanted to keep local lords, princes, and kings weak, of course, because it was built around a strong universal leader, the pope.)

One of the factors in the growth of the Protestant Reformation was that commercial interests supported its spread because they needed the moral authority to lend and borrow money. It's hard to overestimate how large of a shift this led to in the world's culture and economics.

As Thomas Jefferson wrote, it created a world where "the merchant has no homeland." If everyone is a stranger, it's a lot easier to do business. If everyone is a stranger, then we can charge for things that used to be gifts.

Martin Luther saw that embracing the needs of local power brokers could enhance the spread of Protestantism. With little alternative, the pope follow suit. The ban on usury was refined, double-talked, and eventually eliminated.

Suddenly, your tribe was profit center. If you knew a lot of people, you could make money from them. Social leadership magically translated into financial leadership.

158
Now we live in a world where corporate tribe members are likely to be as important to us as family.

Anonymous said...

PART 3

Human beings have a need for tribe, but the makeup of that tribe has changed forever. Now, the tribe is composed of our coworkers or our best customers, not only your family or our village or religious group.

This double shift means that the best professional entanglements aren't with strangers; they are with the tribe.

MDS: What double shift? I'm wondering how to distinguish who should get the gifts? Those in my tribe? So many don't understand this shift in the economy yet.

But tribe members are family, and we shouldn't be charging them interest! Tighter bonds produce better results, and so the gift culture returns. Full circle, from gift to usury and back to gift.
A loan without interest is a gift. A gift brings tribe members closer together. A gift can make you indispensable.

The Forgotten Act of the Gift
For five hundred (500) years, since the legislation of usury and the institutionalization of money, almost every element of our lives has been about commerce.

Example: I'm going downtown by cab from the airport. There are forty fellow travelers in the cab line. If I call out, "Anyone want to share a cab to the Marriot?" people look at me funny. They don't want to owe me for the ride, don't want to interact, don't want to open themselves up to the connection that will occur from taking my gift of a ride. They'd rather pay for it, clean and square, and stay isolated. It's hard to imagine two Bedouin tribespeople isolating from each other with such enthusiasm.

159
The Difference Between Debt and Equity
When someone invests in your business and takes some founder's stock, he gets closer to you. He is on your side, because when you win, he wins.

When a bank loans you money for college, it becomes the Other. The bank is opposed to you, sapping your resources and taking money first, not last. College loans are the ones you can't discharge, even in bankruptcy. The bank that made the loan usually sells it, so there's no connection to you any longer. The bank doesn't offer counseling or peer support or even check in with you about your career choices. They just demand to be paid. No equity investor would act this way.

There are many forms of equity, and few of them involve cash. When you invest time or resources into someone's success or happiness, and your payment is a share of that outcome, you become partners.

If this section on gifts and debt and reciprocity feels strange, it's a symptom of how much humanity has been drummed out of you by a commercial imperative run amok...

Paul said...

Randy, sorry I missed your call but I was giving little Dagny, Francisco and Ragnar their champagne baths.

Anonymous said...

I think we should consider working for a living and not a profit.
In a rich country like ours, one can work very little and get by by lowing overhead expenses. But in a lot of countries (Bangladesh, Mexico, etc.) where there wasn't all this excess, one would have to work regularly...
Working for a living, rather than profit, would create a notion of sufficiency for the day after which one could relax, be stress free, and enjoy life more.
Bonsai,
Bushman

Anonymous said...

To summarize the point of my long excerpt from "Linchpin..." is I think we are experiencing a shift back to a hybrid of the gift economy. After all, why are we all here on this blog? It's because Randy gives us the gift of his art about every week or two along just like sites like Linix, Wikipedia, etc.... So those that keep talking about their INDEPENDENCE and FREEDOM I think should be sent an invoice. Until they pay up for Randy's art, in accordance with their own values, they should be banned from this site.

Anonymous said...

"Paul said...

First, the owner who makes all that money is entitled to every penny of it. He owns the business and whatever he decides to pay himself is his decision and his alone. What he is willing to pay an employee and what they're willing to accept as compensation in exchange for their time and effort is a contract between them. No one forces people to work.


The day some government official comes in my door and tells me I earn too much money and HAVE to give most of it to my employees is the day I cease to have any employees. I close up shop and all my employees join the ranks of the unemployed."

Please close up your business as soon as you possibly can then.
The less people with your attitude there are "in business" then the better for everyone, including you in the long run.

Good riddance!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Randy

Since you have more wealth and leasure then 95% of all adult Americans, having worked so little and vacationed so much, how much of your wealth have you shared with those poorer 285 million below you ?

ANSWER = ZERO !!!

I know a man who is 65+ and works by himself & pays $40k in taxes every year for his own labor only, no investment income. How much is fair so that others can lay about and collect handouts. If he was smart, he would quit his job, get a trailer and bum around the country, just like you do !! He would cause $40k in suffering to all those layabouts. Everyone who is rich should quit their job and bum around the country. They should tell all their rich friends to stop working like you are telling people to do. Then tell me who would feed all those layabouts ?

Randy said...

Thank you Anonymous for saying: "Who would feed all those layabouts"?
It give me the oportunity to state my view of unemployment: NO MORE THAN 50% OF US NEEDS TO WORK ----CAREERS, IN MY VIEW, SHOULD BE NO LONGER THAN 10 OR 20 YEARS. THAT IS THE GIFT OF THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION THAT IS BEING HOARDED BY THE GREEDY. It borders on mental illness the way most people grunt and sweat under a weary life.
Hear me anonymous: TIME IS THE CURRENCY OF LIFE---are you spending yours wisely? Stay tuned--I'm about to show you some people who have opted out of the sweaty rat race you seem to glorify.

sail4free said...

==========
ANONYMOUS: "I know a man who is 65+ and works by himself & pays $40k in taxes every year for his own labor only, no investment income."
==========
Afraid I'm gonna' have to call BULLS**T on this one! Name me ONE real person (not some fantasy to serve the disputed point of your argument) who pays $40K in income tax and earns ALL their income by the sweat of their brow? Anyone with that level of tax liability can easily hire someone to make sure they pay minimal tax . . . if any at all. And if they make all that bread from rental income, sorry -- that doesn't cut it either. I've been a landlord long enough to know how easy that so-called "work" is . . . there is little to distinguish it from any other form of interest income. In fact, many landlords will pay 10% to have some manager take care of their property and rarely lift a finger.
==========
sail4free
==========

Anonymous said...

>>NOW my question to the na sayers is "if your brother won 50 million in the Lottery, do you think he should share some with you, or keep it all for himself?<<

It's his, it would be nice if he'd share but it's his.

Anonymous said...

>>Disappointed said...

I had no idea this blog (and perhaps lifestyle) had so many bleeding heart liberals on it. <<

Alright, name calling! Randy you hit the big time with this one....

Andy said...

Hey Randy,

The others have strong opinions about the issue, which is definitely important.

I have a gripe with your premise, my friend.

In the first paragraph, you seem so proud of your question and plan....

"This day I have thought of a question so carefully constructed that it will OUT (reveal, disclose, make known) an economically evil idea and attitude. I will go find an investment banker and ask the question. If the answer is yes---I will have outed an evil idea."

What hogwash ! How could you expect an investment banker to answer your question any differently ???

Are you going to root out IDEOLOGICAL EVIL next by asking a career army officer what he thinks about the military budget ?

Or RELIGIOUS EVIL by asking a nun what she thinks about premarital sex ?

I still love you and your blogs, but I think your zealotry (and possibly your ego) went a little too far this time.

Randy said...

Ahh My friend Andy---thanks for taking the time to comment. This is like old times together in the Commune in New Orleans. And of course you're right about my ego problem (I'm working on it) You're also right about the expected answer from this guy. Of course he thinks greed is good---that it ultimately serves the masses. BUT IT DOES NOT---it is wrecking our nation and making a mockery of the notion that WE ARE ALL IN THIS LIFE/PLANET TOGETHER. Ask your girlfriend to explain to you Buddha's teaching of RIGHT LIVELIHOOD and his teaching about the HUNGRY GHOST. (one of the 5 skandras)

Andy said...

I TOTALLY agree that greed is one of the things ruining the quality of life in this country and on the planet, Randy.

But greed is only a symptom.

You can't eradicate greed until you address the deeper cause.....FEAR.

Ash said...

Totally Awesome:)

Ed said...

It seems that those who are opposed to the "evil' banker receiving $1 Billion would be in favor of H.R. 3784.
This Bill has been proposed to tax the excess profits of oil companies but I can see it being expanded to cover any and all evil, greedy companies.
In this particular case I could see that it would be only 'fair' for the Reasonable Profit Board to find that a reasonable profit for the transaction would be $1. The surplus to be taxed at 100% so the government would receive the remaining $999,999,999.00.
The Government would the redistribute that money in the same fair manner they have been known to do in the past.
It is a WIN, WIN for everyone. The evil banker is no longer accused of greed, the government acquires even more power and the 99% get the redistribution - maybe less some handling charges by the government.

EBH said...

Capitalism is an amazing way for individuals in this free country to succeed and/or fail. That is what makes our country great and distinguishes us among nations all over the world. It is why we are envied and often hated. Capitalism is not evil, nor are the gains from capitalism. Look at the amount of Charitable GIVING of the US: Americans donated $346.17 billion in 2011. They DONATED to the causes that they believed in - NOT to their government. This is a GOOD thing. We are all endowed by our creator with the unalienable right to pursue happiness - however one defines happiness for him/herself is a choice. I sincerely hope that in our land of the FREE, we the people will stop blaming each other for success and start pursuing our own happiness. It is time to unite as Americans and stop the class warfare which is destroying our country!

Anonymous said...

Interesting that you do not define evil in this context. Suppose that your brokered deal, while netting the broker $1 billion, created 10 million new jobs in America at the same time.

Add further, that otherwise the jobs would go to Iran for their people.

What evil would be done by not doing the deal?

Paul you know

Anonymous said...

Sail4free

It's called a termite contractor, they are licensed to steal !!
He works by himself , subs out all his work , pays $40 taxes on his cut !!

Termites cause 17 billion every year in damages , oh sorry that's 17 billion in profit for termite companies !!

I know another termite guy makes over 1 mill, don't know what he pays however ?

Anonymous said...

Randy, I must meet you someday!! I love the way you stir up people and make them think! And make them mad! Linda

just a traveler said...

Taxation for the purpose of control and "Death Taxes" are simply greed for money and power camouflaged with the pretense of righteousness.

That the system is corrupt is a given... but there is only one thing that can correct it. That one thing is for each man, each woman to do the right thing whenever given the opportunity. Not because they were coerced by someone Else's opinion of what is right and proper, but because they made that determination of their own, un-molested free will.

If You or anyone else imposes YOUR opinion on the "System" you have changed nothing.

Unless the majority of humanity, of its' own free will, learns from history to pursue, as a basic part of their culture, enlightened self interest NOTHING changes.

Give anyone the power to IMPOSE their opinions on others, as the only "Acceptable" way of life, as pertains to the day to day values and way of living, and you change not one damn thing. You Only maintain the status quo.

And as history shows... mankind has learned little if anything from history, and probably never will.

So, the issue comes down to the individual. You live your life the best you can, and leave the rest to make their own choices, because when it's all said and done, YOURSELF is the only one you can have control of, and the only one you have the RIGHT to control and judge.

an unwilling producer robbed at gunpoint by witless socialists said...

anyone who thinks socialism is economics needs to get back on his medications.(which he can brag are FREE because the money for them which he would not pay was stolen, at gun point from someone who DID PRODUCE.)

Economics is the weapon used by socialists to steal from the producers so the parasites don't have to work and contribute.

People are quick to call hard workers who produce great amounts, greedy. But What are the people who find every way they can to live off the sweat of others, using a myriad of lame excuses, if not Greedy?

You accuse people who make millions in cooperation with their employees of being evil and greedy. Of stealing from their employees. How are they, except for providing the employment that feeds the families of their employees different from that parasite who lives off the sweat of others? Oh, right the parasite contributed nothing, while the employer's imagination created jobs for his employees. They created the environment for their employees to come up with their own ideas and the income to seed the pursuit of their own fortunes.

But I forget, socialists don't like the part about working. Their only motivation is to see how much they can squeeze out of the system while making Zero contribution.

I call for a "Producers Vacation". I say all of us that produce start living Randy's way, quit producing at the earliest possible moment. I wonder how long it takes a parasite to starve when there are no producers around to parasitize? Or will the motivation of self preservation provoke them to quit making excuses and start producing their own subsistence?

I think it's hilarious how they attack the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Though it does make a lot of sense. Because that philosophy, which removes the trough from which the parasites feed Terrifies them. They'll have to actually endure the pain of being responsible for themselves. Oh you cruel cruel capitalists! "I have the right to the live with the same standard of living that you do. But I'm not willing to work so hard, so you give me yours an then go produce more for yourself!

It amazes me that such as those are too witless to understand that a Right ENDS at the moment SOMEONE ELSE has to Pay for it.

One last curiosity. Randy claims to have made a sizable amount of money many years ago. (Enough that he need not work for many years) If that is true, and it appears that it is, how are we, when we steal the hard earned income of the people we intend to steal it from, going to identify the "Good" people like Randy, who have a large pile stacked up, from the evil greedy person who simply has more than he needs?

I guess we can't, so we'll take your pile too Randy. Your lifestyle is done my friend. It's back to the slave mill for you. Shame on you for stacking up so much more than you needed so many years ago. And by the way, since you stacked it up so fast? How would you be able to do that, without producing more than you needed at the time? and shame on you for talking this baloney, but being unwilling to have lived it yourself. You should still be making that extra and donating it to the masses like you demand that everyone else does.

The Parasitic Hypocrisy of the posters on this thread is pathetic.

Jay T. said...

Mr. Vining, I'm afraid that I'm unable to agree with your point in this instance. Namely, because of the following: first, you crafted a hypothetical question, then posed the question to an individual who I assume is an honest, hard working person, this person then answered your hypothetical question in a manner that I think most people would; however, because his answer supposedly differs from what you suggest through tone as to what your own actions would be...you then arbitrarily label this man's words/thoughts as representing a form of evil. In this case, the entire premise behind your thought equation is illogical and certainly self-serving.

The fact is that any claims as to what your own actions would be is purely hypothetical itself as I'm guessing that you've never actually been confronted with the opportunity that you posed as apart of your question...you then apply situational ethics to label evil while somehow managing to elevate yourself (through your suggestion as to what you'd do)to a position of higher ethical standard when never having actually proven what your own course of action would be if truly given the opportunity that was posed in your question.

Frankly, this little "test" of yours is highly manipulative and self-serving in support of your desired social construct...and some, perhaps even many, might describe that as actually representing a form of evil.

You have no power other than to define how it is that you wish to live your life; it is not within your power to either define or set the standards by which other people choose to live their lives. You are not judge and your agenda has not been proven to be correct.

Although I'm not a wealthy man, I wouldn't mind being wealthy, but rich or poor I do wish to live free and I recognized that one of the first steps in my path to freedom was to not stranglehold others with my own preconceived notions, expectations, nor my personal design on what utopia ought be - give it a try - it may work for you?

It's all too easy to create adversaries between the rich and the poor, the well fed and the hungry, the educated and the ignorant through intentionally skewed logic and well crafted blabber...it's far more difficult to create circumstances that allow for the opportunity for people to elevate themselves in society and life. Neither philosophy nor copious amounts of esoteric bullshit have ever put a biscuit on the table...it's in the knowing how and then in the working to put the biscuit on the table that provides the opportunity for an individual to be free. Once knowing these things, if a person then chooses to live subserviently in life with their failure to both seek out and grasp freedom...then who's fault is that end state?

Randy said...

JT: Gross Overcompensation distorts an economy. This man---and all like him--do not understand this simple fact.

Do you doubt this fact? Read the latest best seller CAPITALISM. The gist: Capitalism INEVITABLY leads to unsustainable gap between the rich and the poor. Capitalism --to survive--will have to be tweaked--exactly as I've proposed: progressive income tax---steep inheritance taxes and careful government oversight.

This is exactly what Norway does---and by the way: IT IS THE MOST ADVANCED NATION ON EARTH---by almost every measure.

Jay T. said...

Mr. Vining, I always find it humorous when those who bash capitalism so vehemently are very often one in the same people who also enjoy the fruits of our capitalist society while their own contributions to the system are generally sub par - or - altogether lacking.

As a nomad (so to speak), surely you must recognize and also be thankful for the fact that the very roads that you ride and drive upon, the parks and places that you try to camp at without contribution, the vehicle that you drive and the trailer that you live in, and all of the other things that you incorporate into your life have all been made possible through the existence of capitalism in this nation? Surely, you must recognize and be thankful for this...?

While you've chosen to play a generally empty economic role with regards to contribution to the very systems that you happen to want greater contribution from...you unfortunately lend yourself no credibility because of this fact.

Somewhere along the line you became grossly confused while you idled yourself in reverie of Utopian logic. You started out living in a country that provides us all with ample opportunity for the attainment of our goals; yet along the way you somehow misconstrued this condition into being one that owes you complete equality...when no where in all of nature does such a condition exist.

You obviously consider yourself advanced in reason just as perhaps Norway is socially by your apparent estimation; thereby, conveniently placing yourself into the position that allows you to know what is seemingly best for the rest of us...a classic and foul error in liberal logic.

I'm sure Norway awaits your arrival as you're such a fan...no doubt they're clamoring for yet another to take care of and add to the public dole...how lucky they are that you're so willing to bestow the privilege upon them. Yes, please go there and bestow the privilege upon them and deprive us of such luxury.

I for one am quite certain that greater governmental intrusion into the lives of free people is inherently abhorrent...this form of intrusion destroys the very nipple that you continue to suckle from to this day.

While I'm keenly interested in providing assistance to those who need it; I'm of the frame of mind that this assistance is best provided by helping people to help themselves rather than the arbitrary redistribution of wealth that is orchestrated by those who have lacked the capacity or failed initiative to have ever earned wealth on their own...I can see that you would be a great spender of the fruits of someone else's labor...how lucky we all are.

Do us a favor old boy, please stick to your philosophy and leave the building and improvement of a nation to those who are actually capable of achieving it.

While you're probably a pleasant fellow to enjoy a cup of coffee with...I think I'll pass on your insight when it comes to advancing the quality of life of the American people.

Randy said...

JT: You're not really going to read or even read about the book Capitalism that is having so great an impact right now in capitalistic circles.
Your mind is made up. Why not google it and get the gist of it.
And why not answer the question: What is Norway doing so right? You're not going to do that are you? Your mind is made up.
And you're not going to look at the abuses of Rockefeller that led to the breakup of Standard Oil. You likely do not know the dangers of unbridled capitalism: Why it was important to break up AT&T---and The Studio system (their ownership of theatres)
I'm increasingly convinced that you do not understand the issue--that you're one more right wing nut like Glen Beck. Write again when you have at least googled the book.

Jay T. said...

Mr. Vining,

I will look into the book.

Jay T. said...

Mr. Vining,

Please confirm the book's author; is it Thomas Piketty?

Randy said...

JT: Thank you. Hope you will get back to us.

Randy said...

JT: Yes, that's the book. It's making quite a splash all over the world. It's thick but you can get the gist of it easily on line and discover if you think his analysis is valid.
I'm interested in your take.
I agree with you that Capitalism has delivered all these goodies that make our lives rich. The question now facing the world is does it need "tweaking" with government oversight, progressive taxation and inheritance taxes---in order to prevent the civil unrest that occurs when wealth disparity becomes too great.

Jay T. said...

Mr. Vining,

Acknowledged, more to follow.