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As a former high school dropout who made many F’s until I left high school and enrolled in college where I made mostly A’s, and went on to become a lawyer versed in many cultures and languages around the world, I like to think I was rather successful, tho I cannot claim to have become a billionaire. That was never my goal, and I doubt I would have succeeded in that even had becoming a billionaire been my goal.
At one time I engaged in the business of selling businesses, with many brokers and agents working under me. We sold many businesses, with and sometimes without real estate attached. In this occupation, I had occasion to meet many people who were successful, striving to become successful (in the sense of accumulating money), and those who for mysterious reasons refused even to try. First off, I am thinking of a young black man who had spent several years working in a fast-food restaurant. This young man was very nice. The most remarkable thing about him was that he possessed an incredibly deep voice. I was so impressed that I approached him and offered him a part-time job reciting advertising for various online ventures that I was engaged in at the time. We made an appointment; I waited with several of my employees for him to show; he never showed up. I visited the restaurant again and invited him again. He said he forgot and promised to make the next one. But again he did not show. I got the message and didn’t bother him any more. He was obviously satisfied with his fast-food job earning minimum wage and was not interested in letting the world know the quality of his magnificent voice.
Many times I have run into this same scenario. White men in particular seem to prefer to be an island unto themselves, ensconced with their pith helmet and army supply machine gun, hiding behind sand bags, reeking of libertarian individualism, and determined not to pay any tax to anyone at any time, indeed to refuse all the benefits of civilization by refusing to recognize any governmental or societal authority over him in any way. This is Homo Libertarianus or Homo Anarchus. Such men in my experience always refuse to join in any business venture no matter how lucrative the opportunity may be, with the phrase “You’re not makin any money off me!” Homo Libertarianus is isolated and poor wherever he is found.
Some will not take no for an answer, however. Mel Blanc was a band member in San Francisco, if my memory serves me. He had a pliant voice and approached Warner Bros to audition for cartoon voices. The fellow in charge of hiring refused to let him audition, saying “We don’t need anyone.” Mel Blanc returned again and again only to be told over and over “You can’t audition, we don’t need anyone!” One day he showed up to ask once more and discovered that the fellow had gone and new chief was in charge. He let Blanc audition — and hired him on the spot. Mel Blanc went on to be the most famous cartoon voice actor of all time, the voice behind Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and a dozen other famous cartoon characters, until an accident finally forced him into retirement. He was not a billionaire, but that is what I call Success.
The great mystery to me is why anyone listens to the pontifications of billionaires? Warren Buffett et al rose to wealth by riding the long-term bull market that began in the 1960s and has only now come to its end, now that the Ukraine War has pulled the rug out from under American economic dominance and globalism. Anyone who bought the S&P 500 in the 1960s and kept their shares through all this time would be fabulously wealthy today. That does not entitle Buffett to give advice to anyone on any subject except “buy and hold”, which for the first time in a generation, is likely not the best advice.
Then there is George Soros. Another beneficiary of the Great Bull Market, he was perhaps smarter than Buffett in how to accumulate wealth, but less ethical than Buffett, in that Soros had no scruples in his financial manipulations: “If I had tried to take social consequences into account. . . my profits would have been reduced.” At least he is honest, if not honorable. Now Soros pontificates from his pile of cash like he has done something worthwhile for anyone, which IMO he has not. Rather the opposite. Indeed he uses much of his wealth to undermine society, bankrupt the working class, turn racial groups against each other, and inundate cities with crime by putting corrupt district attorneys, strangely almost always fellow Jews, in place whose only job is to refuse to enforce the law. That is not success except in a diabolical sense.
Elon Musk is more honorable than Soros, and more nimble than Buffett. But in his case also, the public seems to hang on his every word as if his accumulation of wealth has granted him the knowledge and experience on how to govern a society. It has not. No billionaire anywhere in the world is qualified to comment on how best to run a society. Their “success” is only materialistic and has zero relevance to the rest of us. The homeless guy who is scraping out a meager existence most assuredly not far from where the dear reader lives has the same quantum of life experience as these billionaires who dominate the news, and may have profound insight into meditation or how to kick drug abuse or how to pinch pennies so one gets value from every purchase. Musk’s fortune in any event may melt away as the public becomes aware that the EV revolution depends entirely on resources that can only be got from places like Russia, and that millions of old, wrecked lithium-powered EV’s will soon become a nightmare for the environment.
Success comes in all forms, not just money, and there is something that can be learned from every living soul if only people can open up their minds and their hearts, and even at times their wallets. Persistence, grabbing opportunities, retaining one’s honor, providing as best one can for one’s offspring both financially and emotionally, remaining faithful to one’s spouse, declining illegal drugs and alcohol, and attending the church of one’s choice, and being content with the knowledge that one has done one’s best. . . these are Success. And billionaires often fail at all of them.
To get back to simply Making Money, if I wanted that, I would either buy into fast-food franchises to take advantage of the almost free labor that comes from endless immigration and pyramid them. Or I would simply wait for the next great stock market crash and buy the S&P 500 and Bitcoin. Or if I were mathematically inclined, which I personally am not, I would look for ways to enable 3D printers to manufacture items in the home by merely ordering online, a Miracle Application which will make the public rush to buy them. I am certain that is coming soon.