Sunday, November 19, 2017

A few thoughts on Capital

A superb article here on the consumption of Capital.

A few key points:

Capital is more than money. 
It is the maintenance guy on third shift who knows what to check equipment and set it up so it can run another 23 hours without attention.  It is the equipment bolted to the floor.  It is the building and the roads and rail and network of suppliers and customers.

Capital is not eternal
People retire.  Equipment wears out.  Designs become obsolete. Suppliers and customers fail.

Capital must be actively created and maintained
Capital must be protected from entropy and losses must be replenished.

Capital is not infinitely flexible
The Capital used to create smartphones and apps is unlikely to be useful for plowing fields, picking apples or knocking cruise missiles out of the sky.

Capital can be stranded
Capital that resides on a different continent is not under your control.  The goods produced by offshore Capital is made available to you by a historically unique set of circumstances.

Politics can separate investors from their Capital.  Consider that governments often succumb to the temptation to nationalize industries they see as "essential".

The Welfare State is antagonistic to Capital
The Welfare State sees Capital as a force of nature like the tides or the rising of the sun.

Capital depletion is exactly like driving on bald tires.  It makes sense because nothing bad happens and you consider your choices to be validated.  That is, nothing bad happens until something bad happens and then it is too late.

ERJ's thoughts
While this seems all doom-and-gloom there are some positive things that can be gleaned from it.

As individuals, we can all develop our own Social Capital and Character Equity.

We all have a brain.  Develop it.  Practice skills.

We all have a body.  Eat reasonably well.  Exercise.  Take your vitamins and stay current on your immunizations.

We all have social contacts.  Don't screw them.  Helping those social contacts are great ways to get exposed to new skills!  Double bonus.

If you have a vehicle, maintain it.

If you have a house or property,  enhance it but use intelligence.  Not every gadget is worth the time or money.  Consider edible landscaping.

If you know a business owner, offer to buy them a cup of coffee.  Thank them for the service they are doing for humanity.  Applaud them for holding-the-line in the face of an increasingly hostile society.

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