Saturday 22 June 2013


Some things simply leave me speechless when I read them. They have a concept so pure and true that you don't feel that you can add to them in any manner.

For me, the first time this occurred was when I read "Atlas Shrugged", by Ayn Rand. Despite the somewhat monotonous repetition in some parts, it was an irresistible read. When finished, I looked around the world and at my own life, reshuffling and recategorising the experiences into a new pattern that made far more sense than it used to.

Similarly, reading "The Philosophy of Men Going Their Own Way" by No, Ma'am, is another revelation. Clearly written and covering what my thinking has nibbled around the edges of, I can only look at it with admiration.

I'm going to create an ebook of it, available free of charge.

Thank you, man.


  1. What Ayn Rand seems to "paper over", is that everyone is "standing on the shoulders" of past generations. No invention was made in a complete vacuum. One adapts a design that already worked in a different context, improves on an existing design, or combines the previous two. Then it's time to test if it works. If not, back to the stage one.

    "Complete ownership" of ideas is a strange concept. How many similar inventions and ideas in the past were created independently in a short period from each other? How many were forgotten and later reinvented/rediscovered? How would you "steal" an idea? By reverse-engineering its component elements and then going back to produce a functional equivalent? How would you prove "theft"? Imitation is not strictly a theft, or is it?

    1. Indeed, which is why the grumbles about China stealing others intellectual property are very amusing. America bootstrapped itself fast with a similar modus operandi.

      In this case though, I was more referring to the theft of the results of effort (ie redistribution of wealth) than the theft of ideas. "From each according to ability, to each according to need" - and the resulting lack of incentive for those who have the skill, to bother to actually put it into practice or obsessively improve it.

    2. Well, what about unavoidable divergence resulting from "wealth creating wealth"? After crossing a certain threshold there is some sort of "snowballing effect", despite relegating ALL effort to someone else, still allowing to skim cream from the top. Then we observe the advantage of inheritance. In some cases, it allows people to do "business as usual" without creating value themselves their entire lives AND at the same time hindering by proxy the efforts of others, just because of their grandfather working his ass off and having a fortune of "striking a goldmine". "Old money" colluding with local authorities was more a rule than exception throughout history. Do it for too long and you have a caste system in a "top-heavy" society.

      How would you define upward mobility? In a modern society there are many pitfalls along the way. In an arms race where "the winner takes all" only the most determined win. The more wide the competition, the more unhuman degree of determination is required to succeed.

    3. Correct, there is a wealth/snowballing effect. You might be surprised at how low that threshold is: read The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris. The New Rich are still here in the world, making their money in businesses that they rarely touch.

      If people have the foresight to set up their affairs so that their descendants can not waste the wealth that they've created, then more power to them. Some of the Rockefeller family do not touch the inheritance they are entitled to, and they are productive members of society.

      You seem to be confusing upward mobility within a social class with the theft of someone's labour and effort. The two do not conflate.

      Old wealth came to being in a situation of low or no taxation, a rocket-fuel which allowed it to grow much faster than the ordinary 9 to 5 worker can manage, with a part of his income being stolen before he even gets his hands on it. Further, what was described in Atlas Shrugged was worse than this garnishment - it was flat-out theft.

      At any rate, economic theory and the setting up of businesses for tax efficiency and expatriation to avoid punitive taxation is not really the theme of this blog. I suggest that you try for such topics, the man is a serious expat entrepreneur.