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Lazy8

Lazy8 Avatar

Location: The Gallatin Valley of Montana
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 27, 2019 - 12:18pm

islander wrote:
I actually do know one. And I think I've met at least two others. I also know a handfull of people who's wealth is pretty astounding by any normal standard.  I've also worked at a place that was funded by a russian oligarch and have seen how much differently those decisions are made.  And while I wouldn't count them in my inner circle I have interacted with them enough to glean a bit of what it takes to get there. Some of my personal fortunes, both good and bad, have been heavily influenced by them (and my opinions skewed as a result).   And yes - even though they can be generous and genuinely interested in helping others, there is always a slant or at least an avenue open to 'their angle' on the whatever is transpiring.  This is certainly not the only reason they are where they are, and I wouldn't even be able to identify if it is cause or effect, but it is there.   

Note also I've said this is how  I see them. This is purely my view, but  it's based on my experience.  It may be unmoored from your reality, but it's well attached to mine.  Also note that I'm not demonizing them for this. I'm making a statement that is based on what I've seen (repeatedly, and across several individuals), that explains some of their actions. We're all a bit self interested. The kochs simply have more resources to assist their self interest. They used a lot of it to further things like anti union legislation, roll backs of regulation that affected their businesses, and taxes on their vast incomes.  I wouldn't even say this is particularly wrong, but it is a lot more complex (and self serving) than just saying "they were genuine libertarians". 

BTW, I see George Soros and Bill Gates also as self serving.

If you had George Soros' money, or Bill Gates', or David Koch's, what would you do with it?

There are only so many bottles of champagne you can drink and really bathing in it is a sticky mess. After your third or fourth mistress/Slovenian-model-trophy wife another just doesn't ad the value that the first did. Once you've got enough to be comfortable and you've secured a comfortable life for your grand kids what's left? By the time you've accumulated significant wealth a significant fraction of the years you have on the planet are gone and it's time to think of how you'll be remembered.

You could build monuments to yourself. Lots of stadiums and libraries get named after the donors that paid for them, but after you're gone the school can rename it after a new sponsor or knock it down to build the next gaudy mausoleum. And nobody looks at statues but pigeons.

You could seek political power I suppose, there is ample precedent. But that almost never works and if you've spent a life building a business or twelve that doesn't generally develop the chops to be a great political leader. Life is short, and if your goal is to leave the world better than you found it you'll want to leverage your strengths to do the most good in the time you have.

People like Soros and the Kochs and lesser-known advocacy philanthropists, like Annie E. Casey and Robert Wood Johnson have funded efforts not just to sway elections but to change minds. The groups they funded advocate and educate. They fund think tanks and policy groups (like Heritage, Cato, Brookings, and the Center for American Progress) that work toward not just winning fights but changing the debate.

People with this kind of wealth can afford the luxury of aligning their professional lives with philosophical/ethical outlooks. If you think organic food is the key to good health then you could, in good conscience, lobby for organic school lunches. If you start a company to sell organic school lunches that's not just self-interest, you're running your business in accordance with your conscience. Yes, the lobbying favors your business—and it's fair to point that out—but would it be more hypocritical to lobby for organic school lunches and sell vending machine food to make a living? If you actually believe that global warming isn't the crisis it's cracked up to be (or that the world just needs oil while it comes up with alternatives) why wouldn't you run an oil company? Why would it be wrong to try to convince people of your point of view?

Philanthropists aren't public servants. They don't need to avoid the appearance of conflict of interests. They are, in general, spending their own money. They should be judged on the validity of the ideas they are pushing, not the fact that they are paying to push them.

My complaint with this worldview goes beyond the demonizing of billionaires. If the only lens you have to look at the world is self-interest then the political arena becomes an auction house, with hucksters offering packages of goodies and promising to make someone else pay for them. But I digress.

And I've only known one actual-billion-dollar-net-worth billionaire personally, worked for a couple. One could afford his own jet (and a fleet of exotic cars), the other could afford to fund a large scale hydroponic weed grow out of pocket. All of them are intensely interesting people, and none of them were anything like one-dimensional.
ScottFromWyoming

ScottFromWyoming Avatar

Location: Powell
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 27, 2019 - 9:32am



 sirdroseph wrote:
 ScottFromWyoming wrote:


 maryte wrote:
 
 

Right. Anyone with a bleeding heart or do-good attitude has a limit. Absolute selflessness is probably impossible.
 
Not only that, but it is a measure of sanity.  Absolute selflessness is a sign of insanity.  Learned that in Joanne Woodward's Three Faces of Eve.
{#Lol}
 

I was going to add something like that  but even then, there has to be some underlying motivation. "I wouldn't have been able to live with myself" sort of thing.
sirdroseph

sirdroseph Avatar

Location: Not here, I tell you wat
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 27, 2019 - 8:44am

 ScottFromWyoming wrote:


 maryte wrote:
 
 

Right. Anyone with a bleeding heart or do-good attitude has a limit. Absolute selflessness is probably impossible.
 
Not only that, but it is a measure of sanity.  Absolute selflessness is a sign of insanity.  Learned that in Joanne Woodward's Three Faces of Eve. {#Lol}
ScottFromWyoming

ScottFromWyoming Avatar

Location: Powell
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 27, 2019 - 8:29am



 maryte wrote:
 

Right. Anyone with a bleeding heart or do-good attitude has a limit. Absolute selflessness is probably impossible.
maryte

maryte Avatar

Location: Blinding You With Library Science!
Gender: Female


Posted: Aug 27, 2019 - 7:46am

 islander wrote:


 miamizsun wrote:

there is a good argument that everyone acts out of greater satisfaction (whether we see it as good, bad or indifferent)

in our discussions we've spoken to profit versus plunder and political power (force) versus economic power (choice)

i haven't had any interest in soros, but i've been reading a bit about gates and the stuff reads

his reading list is excellent and his philanthropy is pretty impressive

he is credited for saving at least 100 million lives (i've seen estimates much higher)

 

Gates has done some genuinely great things. He has done most of these in the last 10 or so years after he stepped down as CEO. It's his $s and he can do as he pleases, but it's sort of like Buffett's pledge to give away most of his wealth - it's great for his legacy, but what is it doing to help right now (yes Gates is helping now, but he's still sitting on several small countries worth of wealth). Buffet has more than doubled his wealth since he pledged to give it all away (he is funding his brother's efforts to help farming in 3rd world countries, but still on a pretty small scale).

This sort of makes my point. All of us are self interested to some degree. In order to get to the point where you have billions of dollars, you need to be a little more so. It doesn't mean you aren't charitable, or not a nice/good person. But if your focus was a little more outward, you would have a lot less $s stashed.  The 10% that a whole lot of moderate income people give to charity is much more impactful to their lives than Gates/Buffet/Koch ect. giving 50% or more would be to theirs, and the outward impacts would be much greater, and they would still have enough capital to continue to accumulate wealth much faster than the rest of us so they could do it again.  The fact that they don't points me to the idea that they are more self interested. Again, not bad necessarily, just moreso than most of us, and a part of why they are different.
 

This reminds me of a "development" session held at a previous employer (a tech start-up, if that makes a difference). It was about selflessness.  I took the position that true selflessness is extremely rare (which seemed to irritate everyone else). One woman (the boss's daughter, if that makes a difference) talked about wanting to take on the burden of carrying the twins her sister was pregnant with. I thought, although a truly lovely and generous sentiment, this isn't selfless because helping her sister would make her feel good/helpful/etc. and that rather precludes the whole "selfless" thing.  I asked if anyone would still do that 1) for someone they didn't know and 2) if no one would know of their sacrifice.  Apparent, this made me a minion of Satan or something similar. The participants were only the women who worked there (if that makes a difference) and the session leader was, of course, one of the male org leaders (same same).

Not sure how strongly my anecdote is apropos of the topic, but this subject did remind me of the incident.
islander

islander Avatar

Location: West coast somewhere
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 27, 2019 - 6:46am



 miamizsun wrote:



there is a good argument that everyone acts out of greater satisfaction (whether we see it as good, bad or indifferent)

in our discussions we've spoken to profit versus plunder and political power (force) versus economic power (choice)

i haven't had any interest in soros, but i've been reading a bit about gates and the stuff reads

his reading list is excellent and his philanthropy is pretty impressive

he is credited for saving at least 100 million lives (i've seen estimates much higher)

 

Gates has done some genuinely great things. He has done most of these in the last 10 or so years after he stepped down as CEO. It's his $s and he can do as he pleases, but it's sort of like Buffett's pledge to give away most of his wealth - it's great for his legacy, but what is it doing to help right now (yes Gates is helping now, but he's still sitting on several small countries worth of wealth). Buffet has more than doubled his wealth since he pledged to give it all away (he is funding his brother's efforts to help farming in 3rd world countries, but still on a pretty small scale).

This sort of makes my point. All of us are self interested to some degree. In order to get to the point where you have billions of dollars, you need to be a little more so. It doesn't mean you aren't charitable, or not a nice/good person. But if your focus was a little more outward, you would have a lot less $s stashed.  The 10% that a whole lot of moderate income people give to charity is much more impactful to their lives than Gates/Buffet/Koch ect. giving 50% or more would be to theirs, and the outward impacts would be much greater, and they would still have enough capital to continue to accumulate wealth much faster than the rest of us so they could do it again.  The fact that they don't points me to the idea that they are more self interested. Again, not bad necessarily, just moreso than most of us, and a part of why they are different.
miamizsun

miamizsun Avatar

Location: (3283.1 Miles SE of RP)
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 26, 2019 - 2:44pm

 islander wrote:
I actually do know one. And I think I've met at least two others. I also know a handfull of people who's wealth is pretty astounding by any normal standard.  I've also worked at a place that was funded by a russian oligarch and have seen how much differently those decisions are made.  And while I wouldn't count them in my inner circle I have interacted with them enough to glean a bit of what it takes to get there. Some of my personal fortunes, both good and bad, have been heavily influenced by them (and my opinions skewed as a result).   And yes - even though they can be generous and genuinely interested in helping others, there is always a slant or at least an avenue open to 'their angle' on the whatever is transpiring.  This is certainly not the only reason they are where they are, and I wouldn't even be able to identify if it is cause or effect, but it is there.   

Note also I've said this is how  I see them. This is purely my view, but  it's based on my experience.  It may be unmoored from your reality, but it's well attached to mine.  Also note that I'm not demonizing them for this. I'm making a statement that is based on what I've seen (repeatedly, and across several individuals), that explains some of their actions. We're all a bit self interested. The kochs simply have more resources to assist their self interest. They used a lot of it to further things like anti union legislation, roll backs of regulation that affected their businesses, and taxes on their vast incomes.  I wouldn't even say this is particularly wrong, but it is a lot more complex (and self serving) than just saying "they were genuine libertarians". 

BTW, I see George Soros and Bill Gates also as self serving. 
 

there is a good argument that everyone acts out of greater satisfaction (whether we see it as good, bad or indifferent)

in our discussions we've spoken to profit versus plunder and political power (force) versus economic power (choice)

i haven't had any interest in soros, but i've been reading a bit about gates and the stuff reads

his reading list is excellent and his philanthropy is pretty impressive

he is credited for saving at least 100 million lives (i've seen estimates much higher)


islander

islander Avatar

Location: West coast somewhere
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 26, 2019 - 7:00am



 Lazy8 wrote:
islander wrote:
Most of us are more complex than the caricatures created by our foes. I've known a little about the Koch brothers and have been surprised and a bit befuddled by the range of their actions. But overall, I see them like most billionaires - simply self interested.  Most big donors/influential persons will be unfairly (probably) demonized by their opposition. It's all part of the game.

How many billionaires do you know?

The assumption that any particular person's beliefs and actions are motivated purely by self-interest is a lazy stereotype, and one (in my limited experience) unmoored from reality.

Demonizing The Enemy is indeed part of the game—a part we need to grow out of if we're ever going to escape the traps that political tribalism sets for us.
 
I actually do know one. And I think I've met at least two others. I also know a handfull of people who's wealth is pretty astounding by any normal standard.  I've also worked at a place that was funded by a russian oligarch and have seen how much differently those decisions are made.  And while I wouldn't count them in my inner circle I have interacted with them enough to glean a bit of what it takes to get there. Some of my personal fortunes, both good and bad, have been heavily influenced by them (and my opinions skewed as a result).   And yes - even though they can be generous and genuinely interested in helping others, there is always a slant or at least an avenue open to 'their angle' on the whatever is transpiring.  This is certainly not the only reason they are where they are, and I wouldn't even be able to identify if it is cause or effect, but it is there.   

Note also I've said this is how  I see them. This is purely my view, but  it's based on my experience.  It may be unmoored from your reality, but it's well attached to mine.  Also note that I'm not demonizing them for this. I'm making a statement that is based on what I've seen (repeatedly, and across several individuals), that explains some of their actions. We're all a bit self interested. The kochs simply have more resources to assist their self interest. They used a lot of it to further things like anti union legislation, roll backs of regulation that affected their businesses, and taxes on their vast incomes.  I wouldn't even say this is particularly wrong, but it is a lot more complex (and self serving) than just saying "they were genuine libertarians". 

BTW, I see George Soros and Bill Gates also as self serving. 
miamizsun

miamizsun Avatar

Location: (3283.1 Miles SE of RP)
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 25, 2019 - 11:46am

 Lazy8 wrote:
How many billionaires do you know?

The assumption that any particular person's beliefs and actions are motivated purely by self-interest is a lazy stereotype, and one (in my limited experience) unmoored from reality.

Demonizing The Enemy is indeed part of the game—a part we need to grow out of if we're ever going to escape the traps that political tribalism sets for us.
 

i follow a few people through podcasting

tim ferriss interviewed charles koch


"This episode will no doubt surprise people, and my guest came to me through channels I wouldn’t have expected."

have a listen if possible (the comments are pretty nutty)

SHOW NOTES

  • What is Charles’s history with digging dandelions? [13:30]
  • Charles talks about the letter from his father that hangs framed on his wall and why it’s important to him. [17:59]
  • On being talked into returning to Wichita after graduating from MIT to run one of his father’s businesses, and how Charles switched from a mindset focused on instant gratification to one of long-term value. [19:49]
  • The authors who have had the largest impact on Charles’s thinking. [24:40]
  • How does Charles utilize scientific or engineering principles that he learned at MIT for business? Where do Karl Popper and Michael Polanyi figure into the process? [28:26]
  • Specifically, how has Charles applied concepts from Polanyi’s “The Republic of Science” to his work? [31:41]
  • Virtuous cycles of mutual benefit, creating value for others, and the two components of finding opportunities in this value. [35:15]
  • Now that we know what good profit is, what is bad profit — and how does it reduce value and diminish opportunity? [41:17]
  • Do Koch companies participate in bad profit? [44:23]
  • What are the major market distortions that Charles opposes? [48:39]
  • Within the company, how are disagreements hashed out? Is there a framework of principles in place to guide consensus? [49:43]
  • Driving principles: personal knowledge versus conceptual knowledge, three-dimensional learning, comparative advantage, synergy, creative destruction, free speech, property rights, decision rights, market-based management, and the human action model. [53:51]
  • If these principles seem so obvious, why are they so often ignored by countries, organizations, and companies? [1:02:15]
  • What Charles has found to be the three requirements of a good, successful partnership. [1:04:08]
  • How has Charles’s approach to policy coalitions changed over time, and what ground has been gained by finding common cause with former adversaries? [1:05:32]
  • What is Stand Together, and what does it aim to accomplish? [1:13:18]
  • How does Stand Together incorporate market-based solutions that have proven successful for Charles’s other endeavors? [1:16:22]
  • A hopeful look forward at Stand Together capturing the national imagination with the same intensity and bipartisan support as prison reform is enjoying today. [1:22:19]
  • Is Stand Together still accepting applications from social entrepreneurs? [1:25:37]
  • Charles weighs in on capitalism, the ideal role of a business in society, environmental priorities, and politicized corruption. [1:29:33]
  • The effect of higher taxes on GDP, the failure of trickle-down economics, and what Charles sees as the best course toward the pursuit of happiness. [1:35:10]
  • Does Koch Industries fund propaganda to confuse people about climate change? [1:39:20]
  • What does Charles consider to be the most legitimate existential threats to humankind? [1:44:20]
  • The cause that unites the seemingly unlikely pairing of Koch Industries and George Soros. [1:46:32]
  • For what would Charles be willing to bet his entire personal fortune? [1:48:37]
  • What would Charles’s billboard say? [1:49:43]
  • After whom was Charles named, and why? [1:50:54]
  • Where did the nonintuitive (to most Americans) pronunciation of “Koch” originate? [1:54:15]
  • Parting thoughts. [1:56:26]


Lazy8

Lazy8 Avatar

Location: The Gallatin Valley of Montana
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 25, 2019 - 11:36am

islander wrote:
Most of us are more complex than the caricatures created by our foes. I've known a little about the Koch brothers and have been surprised and a bit befuddled by the range of their actions. But overall, I see them like most billionaires - simply self interested.  Most big donors/influential persons will be unfairly (probably) demonized by their opposition. It's all part of the game.

How many billionaires do you know?

The assumption that any particular person's beliefs and actions are motivated purely by self-interest is a lazy stereotype, and one (in my limited experience) unmoored from reality.

Demonizing The Enemy is indeed part of the game—a part we need to grow out of if we're ever going to escape the traps that political tribalism sets for us.
islander

islander Avatar

Location: West coast somewhere
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 25, 2019 - 9:09am



 Lazy8 wrote:
David Koch has died. And if you only know him thru the caricature the left created of him you know less than nothing about him.
 

Most of us are more complex than the caricatures created by our foes. I've known a little about the Koch brothers and have been surprised and a bit befuddled by the range of their actions. But overall, I see them like most billionaires - simply self interested.  Most big donors/influential persons will be unfairly (probably) demonized by their opposition. It's all part of the game.
Lazy8

Lazy8 Avatar

Location: The Gallatin Valley of Montana
Gender: Male


Posted: Aug 25, 2019 - 9:00am

David Koch has died. And if you only know him thru the caricature the left created of him you know less than nothing about him.
maryte

maryte Avatar

Location: Blinding You With Library Science!
Gender: Female


Posted: Jul 24, 2019 - 10:18am



Rutger Hauer
westslope

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Location: BC sage brush steppe


Posted: Jul 22, 2019 - 11:15am

Wow.  Johnny Clegg is gone?

I saw him on the Durban University campus in Durban, South Africa in early August of 1981.  A few months earlier we had been introduced to his music by two white South African medical students of British background, if you must know.

It was a truly remarkable experience.  The audience was roughly 50/50 black and white students.   Folks of one colour smiled sweetly at the others but there was little direct interaction between the two.   

Nevertheless, I knew at that moment that Apartheid was over.  Just like I knew in Santiago, Chile in April 1979 that the days of the military dictatorship of Pinochet were numbered.  

In the meantime, the Republic of South Africa is still suffering but Chile has gone on to be a member of the OECD and to become the richest country in Latin America.    Hopefully, one day the Republic of South Africa will also enjoy tremendous socio-economic outcomes.  

Mr. Clegg:  you did make a difference.  
maryte

maryte Avatar

Location: Blinding You With Library Science!
Gender: Female


Posted: Jul 22, 2019 - 11:02am


New Orleans legend Art Neville, founder of the Meters and Neville Brothers, dies at 81

Steely_D

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Location: Biscayne Bay
Gender: Male


Posted: Jul 17, 2019 - 7:45am

RIP. I loved your music.
Was lucky enough to have seen him with Savuka back in the day when he could still do the dancing.

RParadise

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Location: Hastings-on-Hudson, NY
Gender: Male


Posted: Jul 16, 2019 - 5:18pm

Yes, just read that Johnny Clegg died earlier today of pancreatic cancer.  Not all artists are change agents, but he was one.  The world is better for his having been here.

Rest in peace, while we kick up our feet in your honor.



Antigone

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Location: A house, in a Virginian Valley
Gender: Female


Posted: Jul 16, 2019 - 1:59pm

Johnny Clegg.

I can't seem to post a link or a video.
R_P

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Gender: Male


Posted: Jul 6, 2019 - 5:08pm

João Gilberto, Brazilian bossa nova pioneer, dies at 88

oldviolin

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Location: esse quam videri
Gender: Male


Posted: Jul 3, 2019 - 2:18pm



 ptooey wrote:


 maryte wrote:

 
Now that I know what his middle name was, he's even cooler to me. Dang, that guy cracked me up.

 

Weird. Was reading his Wiki last week.  Subtle yet over the top. I thought he was genius...
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