Friday, December 29, 2017

Group Trust vs. Family Trust revisited

Reader Kona Commuter observed:

"Group trust delivers but IS family trust the more stable system? I believe that the west has slipped too far to go back to group trust. I'm trying to work on clan/gang/tribe/family sized grouping."

I don't see this as an either/or proposition.

While it appears that identity politics are overwhelming "group trust" there are glimmers of hope.

At one level, those groups that can maintain the high road will simply out-run the cultures that are mired in distrust of groups. 

For the sake of argument, let's say the FT group can return 1.05 on investment every year and the GT can return 1.08.  In ten years the FT group will have assets of 1.63 vs GT's assets of 2.16.  In twenty years FT will have assets of 2.65 vs GT's 4.66.  In two generations (40 years) FT will have assets of 7.0  vs GT's 21.7. 

One of those "glimmers of hope" are recent changes in the tax code that reduce the transfer from successful GT cultures to the less successful FT cultures.  It is true that one gets more of the behaviors that are rewarded.  Will FT maintain its luster when only people who practice GT get access to resources?

When push comes to shove
Yeah, sign me up for Family Trust.

Need to borrow $500, no questions asked?  You don't ask your boss or co-worker.  You ask family.

Need to disappear without a trace?  Again, you don't ask somebody from an ephemeral, volunteer organization.  You ask somebody who cannot throw you under the bus because that would get him/her thrown out of the family.

A portfolio approach
Portfolio management creates stability the way a pontoon boat creates stability.  In a pontoon boat, one float is optimized for load that is biased to the right and the other pontoon is optimized for load that is biased to the left.

In a portfolio, part of the investment is configured to conserve capital in bad times and the rest of the investment is configured to maximize growth in good times.  The percentage of assets in each category is dictated by your personal tolerance for risk and your view of the future.

Professionally, I think it is worthwhile to be primarily "Group Trust" oriented.  It may appear to be a fool's game in some circumstances but consider that you can figure out who is worth hiring and who is dead-wood.  The finest revenge is to go into competition with an employer who treated you shabbily and to put them out of business.

Personally, I think it is worthwhile to cultivate "Family Trust" bonds.  As Ben Franklin noted after signing the Declaration of Independence:  "Now we all have to hang together or most assuredly we will all hang separately". 

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