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The Modern Hunter-Gatherer

Cap•i•tal•ism ˈkapədlˌizəm/ noun “an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.”

It is quite possible that we are experiencing the point in history wherein ignorance has reached critical mass. Personal accountability is at an all time low. People are foregoing advantages at their disposal. This situation requires a general attitude shift in the population. This cannot be solved by regulation alone.

Supply and demand is at the heart of capitalism. The general idea is to have private industry provide products and services. These provisions will naturally become successful or fall to the wayside as a result of its ability to address the demand. You can see right away how a delicate balance is needed in order for this system to thrive.

Basically, not too long ago, there were harsh work conditions which left some legislation to be desired. Unions were formed, demands were made, and regulations were implemented. This was considered a good thing. Fast forward to today and we have eminent dangers from too much regulation. Taxi unions are working for regulation on Uber. It would appear that inhibiting legislation against Uber is a prime example of the flip side of the coin. Uber is considered to be an innovation on the personal transportation industry. The core benefit of supply and demand fuels the competition factor. Competition should increase quality and lower cost. When Uber arrived with an affordable, higher quality alternative to taxis, the business exploded.

Ultimately, the purpose of regulation is to protect people from businesses taking advantage of them. The idea is not to protect failing businesses. This is a reason why bailouts are such a controversial consideration.

Regulations on those that exploit the weak points in the system need to be adjusted, but not at the expense of the individual being restricted from partaking in policy in any significant way. The goal is to enable the honest and prevent the dishonest.

We have quite the conundrum and at this point, “he who has the gold [guns] makes the rules”. Some feel we have some kind of aristocracy and a redistribution is needed. Other think that the government should simply change its laws going forward. We are presented with a lot of issues concerning what is fair and justified.

On one hand, we shouldn’t punish those families that were able to build themselves up. On the other hand, we shouldn’t accept that being poor is an inevitability and charity (whether mandated by policy or not) is to be the primary source of sustenance.

I feel that we should provide people with the means and resources to educate themselves to partake in the development of our world. There seems to be a large degree of ignorance regarding the financial system and not necessarily because people aren’t willing and able. People should be proactive in seeking the education to empower them. To allow themselves to be instrumental in our development and potentially profit from it.

Not learning about the financial system and how to use it is similar to not learning how to hunt or farm back when that was vital. If someone decided against learning these vital skills in ancient times, they would most likely die. The modern situation is that people can get by, and just take hits on their net worth. What’s needed to correct inequality is a more proactive populace that sees education themselves on finance as a vital need. So many say they have no time, or they don’t have enough money for it to matter, or they’re too young. Too young is the most painful one to hear considering that time is a huge factor. What if we were talking about hunting in ancient times. Are you too busy now?

Some people don’t want to be helped and I have no sympathy for them. There is a difference between not having the resources and simply refusing.

No one said life would be easy.

That doesn’t mean life can’t be good. You just have to pay for your chance to play, and play smart.

In fact, Texas Hold Em is a good parallel for investments, the financial system, and life in general.

What I mean to say is:

Everyone is working with limited information. You may know something that someone else doesn’t and vice versa. We all have access to and inadvertently share some of the same information. It is up to the individual to take what they know and expand on how to best utilize it given the shared information and current state of affairs. Even if you do everything right, you may still lose. If you act blindly, you’re chances of winning are lower, but they are still possible.

Ultimately you just have to ensure that you aren’t betting it all on one hand so you can afford to go again.

You will fail, no doubt. The goal is to make your success outweigh the effect of your failures.

Don’t believe me? Look up Barry Bonds’ hit/miss ratio.

People judge you on success because the effects outweigh the failures. You don’t need to win always. You just need your wins to outweigh your losses.

Don’t continuously fail expecting to win, but don’t forego a winning strategy because you didn’t win the first time. In other words, don’t continue to employ a failing strategy, but don’t remove yourself from the opportunity entirely. That would be like going to the same places and flirting with people the same way with no success, and then saying you are swearing off dating entirely as a result.

It cannot be reiterated enough. You will absolutely lose sometimes. We all work in terms of “ranges” as opposed to “absolutes”. Nothing is black and white here.

You need to take what you know and expand your understanding of the hand your dealt. The shared information doesn’t change. Your hand doesn’t change. Your perception and subsequent ability does.

No one promised you gold, but everyone can get it.

You don’t have to look far to find people who took what they had available and, despite opposition, were able to achieve great heights in varying capacities, such as:

Clarence Thomas

Margaret Thatcher

Barry Bonds

Thomas Edison

Martin Luther King

Richard Branson

Jay-Z

For the record, I am making no comment on morality or ethics. I am simply relaying fact-of-the-matter scenarios wherein these (above) individuals were able to use their limited resources to their advantage to achieve a higher level of temporal existence.

If you want to discuss eternal conditions, karma, religion, and the like, then we have a different conversation to have. This one is focusing on the relative value of our brief stint on earth in terms of man-made power and material wealth.

The take away here is to learn how to traverse the financial system. Pro activity is always better than reactivity in this regard. If you do not, then don’t be surprised when something, well…surprises you.

About Ian Eshelman

Profile photo of Ian Eshelman
Ian is a scholar who has studied the fields of music theory, classical piano, rhetoric, art history, and aesthetics, He also writes and paints. Originally from Washington DC, he currently works in finance in Dallas, TX, USA.

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