Skip to main content

Intellectual Curiosity

There is scant intellectual curiosity in the world today, and a commensurate low level of aspiration to greatness and true value creation. This is among the most consistently surprising and disappointing observations I have had during my life walkabout.  For the past few decades I’ve suffered knee problems and have had numerous surgeries, which have led me to visit with some of the leading knee surgeons on both coasts.  It has been amazing to me that none of those with whom I met displayed even the slightest interest in understanding the root cause of knee problems, instead focusing on the simple issue of whether or not a particular ailment warranted surgery.  In the times when my situation did not I was simply sent on my merry way and told to come back if/when I was ready for surgery. The same can be said for most doctors, who seem content to treat ailments rather than understanding and counseling their patients on prevention and healthy living.


And this situation is surely not limited to the medical field.  I’ve employed and known many chefs throughout the years and have found very few who consider nutritional knowledge important for their field.  In politics, where three outsiders - Trump, Sanders, and Cruz – have surprised the political establishment and now comprise 75% of the remaining viable field competing to become our next President - it is somewhat hilarious that insiders are surprised given how national polling has consistently showed sub-double-digit favorable ratings for politicians for decades.

In my own field of finance the entire business has been turned upside down of late and few seem to even notice. Investment banks, which were so important in the '80's and '90's, have disappeared entirely.  These entities practiced finance without the backing of the public taxpayers and were critically important innovators and risk-takers that provided leadership in the global finance industry.  Even more surprising and alarming has been the complacent response to the incursion into the markets by the Fed and other central banks, whose control of the markets is now seen as normal and even needed rather than unprecedented and obscene.  So few people question how or what has caused this to occur, or if it is right or beneficial.

The point is that most in society tend to accept things that they are told as fact and that those in authority are credible and competent with very little questioning or pushback.  I wonder how this can be changed, or if this is just the reality of human nature.

Popular posts from this blog

Taxes and Hyperbole

There is a new tax code in the U.S., and this is indeed a “Yuuuge” deal. As far as I can tell, it is as close to an unmitigated home run for America as can be. Is it perfect? Of course, it’s not. The code retains its unwieldy size and complexity, largely as a result of compromises made in order to bribe congressmen and senators for their votes. Until we get term limits, it seems we’re stuck with a tax code that is big and complex. However, it does hit the mark on a few key issues: most every taxpayer will now pay less to the federal government (except those in states with ridiculously mismanaged economies who now will be forced to hold their state politicians more accountable); and our businesses, large and small alike, will remit less of their profits to the federal government and will be liberated to invest that savings into growth – which will surely create job and wage growth in the productive private sector.

You Need to Ask the Right Question

If you ask the wrong questions, the answers will probably also always be wrong, and even irrelevant.  This might seem obvious, but I’ve noticed that this truth is often completely overlooked, and even by the world’s most intelligent. While I’m certain this is so in every facet of life, for the purpose of this short paper I will focus on the investment/finance world.

We, The Deplorables

I recently saw a German movie called “Look Who’s Back” on Netflix, which I strongly recommend.  The film fictionally chronicles the return of Adolf Hitler to modern-day Germany and does a tremendous job of illustrating how Hitler’s call to arms for a better Germany for Germans resonates with the average German in the film. It cannot be lost on anyone who views this film that the message repeatedly heard from these average Germans that “what he says is mostly true…” is a frightening one, and one that is easy to imagine not only Germans saying but French, British, and Americans too.