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July 2010

Inheritance and the Competent Heir

In the WSJ,If your children are competent they don't need a big inheritance, if they are not competent, the money may only hurt them.

Yes, but what if bluer blood, raised well, and bred up to the responsibilities of wealth, could help create a wiser, more cultured, and more urbane America? Don't we all need a class of dynasts, well educated in the best prep schools, and members of all the best clubs to run our country? Might they not be a good offset to the pushing vulgarians with their MBAs, and the grasping entrepreneurs with their tacky metrics? Those of us born to wealth and privilege can rise above self interest. Rather than pillaging the country and abusing the public trust, or devoting our lives to merely pecuniary considerations, we can and will act as stewards of the greater good. I am eternally grateful to Mummy, for her moral teaching, and to Great, Great Grandfather Minim, who invented canned dog food, for having the wisdom and foresight to leave the money in trust for all succeeding Minims, yours truly, of course included. That people take advice in parenting from the Wall Street Journal, is quite appalling. May Rupert Murdoch's children inherit enough so that they can be better educted, and more refined than their grotesque progenitor. It may take at least three generations of Murdochs to purify the taint of their mucky pelf. Dick Minim, Senator (D) MA. (Overheard in the Porcellian Club today, as he ate his crumpet and read the papers. I was there in my role as serving professional, Senior Bus Boy, my dayjob, as I see if my calling as Morals Tutor to America's Wealthiest Families works out as planned. Dick would be a good prospect. He has more money than God, but it is hard to segue from serving Mr. Minim's coffee to improving his morals, which judging by his tips are pretty crappy.)

Pay Per View MBA Beatings

Doing well by doing good is my goal. With my mentor, the Happy Tutor, Dungeon Master to the Stars in Wealth Bondage, I, as a Morals Tutor to America's Wealthiest Families, will set up an Executive Moral Rehabilitation Center (Dungeon) to modify the behavior of those MBA's who, through weakness of the will, fail to keep the MBA Oath ("I will refrain from corruption....") These beatings  will give real meaning to the Oath, and will help keep the backsliding MBAs on the straight and narrow. Now, for the business model. For-profit? Or, nonprofit? Would a foundation pay for such a public service? Would Bill Gates fund it? Could we take up a collection from the general populace? Would many people give say $5 a year to have corrupt MBAs beaten half to death? I would. Were the spectacle public, we could charge admission, or go pay per view.

American Corporatism

From a 2002 article by Robert Locke,

The first thing big business has in common with big government is managerialism. The technocratic manager, who deals in impersonal mass aggregates, organizes through bureaucracy, and rules through expertise without assuming personal responsibility, is common to both.

To that we might add that the first thing Gates, Ford, and Hewlett Foundations have in common is managerialism (called social venture philanthropy, or strategic philanthropy, or high impact philanthropy). The technocratic grantmater, who deals in impersonal mass aggregates, organizes through bureaucracy, and rules through expertise and metrics, without assuming personal responsibility, is common to all three - big business, big government, and big business funded big foundations.

Tightening the Metrics for Gifthub

In return for a generous grant, or as she calls it, "a robust social investment," from Candidia Cruikshanks, CEO of Wealth Bondage, I am supposed to Save Capitalism by 2015. Annually, I must report on progress against plan. I can measure and manage my outputs (posts, word count) and my outcomes (subscribers, page reads, incoming links, and comments), but now Candidia is also asking for objective proof of impact. How much Capitalism have I actually saved? And, in investment terms, how much Capitalism is she saving for every dollar she invests in Gifthub? "Sweetie, I can't manage what I can't measure," as she so well puts it.

Any thoughts? The general populace is as mystified, bestial, and stupified as ever. Does that count as postive social impact? I will go with that I guess and argue that a stupified and supine electorate saves Wealth Bondage by boosting sales, reducing pushback, and postponing the inevitable. She'll buy that. That is a lot of benefit she gets for a generous grant of $1,000 a year. A better social investment than The Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society at Hudson. Cheaper, better, faster. Well, cheaper, anyway, Bill Schambra is better. But in this bipartisan work of saving capitalism there are no competitors. We all must do our bit!

The Liberator

John Robb,

No big surprises at the Aspen Institute conference:  the big money is still flowing towards huge, global-scale projects and schemes that aren't likely to work.  In stark contrast, Marcin and his team of farmer scientists working on post-scarcity economics is making lots of progress (see Marcin's economy in a box presentation for context).  They are doing this on a shoestring, which is a shame.  Here are some highlights:

  • The CEB (compressed earth brick) press called the Liberator.  The team has completed its first product (the design is open source, of course).  It allows the rapid manufacturing of construction materials from nearly ubiquitously available resources.  
  • They've built a working prototype of an open source drill press they are currently using in their fabrication processes.
  • They are building the second prototype their soil pulverizer.  
Officially, Gifthub, the nonprofit arm of Wealth Bondage, has as its goal, Saving Capitalism. The way it is going, though, my secret agenda is saving my own ass when things fall apart. Hence my interest in The Liberator, open source compressed earth brick press. I could build a real house, in the country, live like a king selling bricks to my neighbors. I guess that would be saving capitalism too. I could be the Bill Gates of compressed dirt, and even give away some bricks as a public service.