Monday, December 23, 2013

Abandon success!

Successful people can't be successfully imitated, and successful fund managers are merely a statistical blip. That's Charles Hugh Smith's latest message, and though he is prolific and always thought-provoking, I think this is possibly his most important, because it bears on the happiness of the largest number of people.

CHS quotes Aaron Krowne:

The average man cannot ever hope to win with "investments"(or the world of finance in general), but must be content with savings. Unfortunately, in the absence of sound money, we don't really have "savings" anymore, which is why the whole world has effectively been converted to economic sheep for the slaughter, a kind of "superadvantage" of those who run our economic system.

Speaking as someone who was an IFA for 20 years, I completely agree that the majority of people should and would be satisfied with sound money, expecting no more than what they are willing to save, and no less than that it should preserve its purchasing power. It is one of the outstanding failures (or crimes, even) of the current British Government that one of its first acts was to shut up shop on NS&I Index-Linked Savings Certificates.

But turning to the wider implications of CSH's post, how many people's lives are wasted chasing what DH Lawrence called "the bitch-goddess Success"? Or, not even chasing Her, but being forced to put their immediate happiness and their personal and familial relationships to one side because of the demands of "the job". All those dreams of ultimate glory and happy retirement ruptured by divorce, ill-health etc. We get guff about "work-life balance", but who is allowed to achieve it in any significant sense? What happened to working the 9 to 5, hanging up your hat when you get home and being contented?

I think we should rebel in two ways: personally, by not falling for the con and as my dearest friend used to say, "Always have as much fun as you possibly can"; and collectively, by pressing for economic arrangements that are geared to making it worthwhile to save money, and possible to have time and energy to enjoy our daily lives, now.

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A K Haart said...

I agree - all most people want and need is sound money. I also think "crime" is the better word.

Paddington said...

Balance is everything.