Tuesday, October 07, 2008

One possible (less dark) side to these losses

Maybe you didn't really need all of that money anyway! (Maybe?) On the other hand, it will still be very hard on those close to or in retirement now.

The article's idea is that people have been encouraged to over-save and take excessive risk. My thoughts:

This reminds me of a book review I read approximately 1 month ago, where the book's author argues the financial sector is built on 'pimping risk'
Seems like a very credible argument to me, given a few direct and indirect glimpses I've had into the industry. Their incentives are aligned to make money off two sources: new vehicles that have not been competed down to commoditization (such as hedge funds) and expensive vehicles that charge high commissions based on sector hype or recent performance. Both things are the continual attempt to achieve superior returns (at superior costs of course) and this chase often leads to superior risk. All of which is not to say that the industry does not add value, but who do you think the bulk of that value goes to? Call it tragedy or call it farce, finance is the grown-up version of 'Telephone'.

On Locavorism

Bad news: it's not that simple

Sure, some of our food travels farther than necessary, but it does so largely efficient ways. As a result, the environmental effects entailed in transport are not the main story. There are however a lot of costly externalities, especially from meat production.

My comments here.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Not Challenged at your Job?

Maybe you're unhappy because you're 'smart'..
An interesting article with an extreme bias towards the intelligent and ambitious set.

My comment:

Excellent piece - I think you capture and convey well the feelings of a significant portion of the population. And of course you have stirred a lot of controversy with your explicit grouping of ’smart’ ( reads defensively as ‘better’) and ‘not smart’. Anyone who perceives themself in the latter group will probably feel insulted. Veritas has some nice comments there.

I think there is basically one criterion for Success: create something good or destroy something bad.
(Btw, be Really careful about that second one.)

Here’s the Problem: you will probably not Succeed at a 9-5, at least not anytime soon.
That’s because a 9-5 not designed for Success, it’s designed for Stability. Decent income, minimal risk. And let’s face it, creation and destruction are risky! But with that risk comes greater potential reward. Wealth doesn’t just appear, it has to be created (natural resources being the blatant exception).

So if you want out, you need to plan for risk. That means saving of course, but it also means communicating your plans to those around you. Finding partners and supporters is every bit as important having the idea in the first place.
Just don’t fall into the trap of not engaging people because you don’t have one yet. Your brilliant idea will be a variation of someone else’s idea.