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i think im gonna start paying attention to this again. i need an outlet to write in, im losing track of things in my own head.

so i thought id start with a post i was just writing on myspace, and post it here. the parts that dont seem to apply correctly actually dont, and thats why.

thought id post a reply to whats below, posted by agent139, as a bulletin, partially because i never use these things, partially because i would rather use this feature as a forum then a place to post stupid surveys and chain letters, and partially because im curious what people i know will think of this in relation to what i think. my reply is below.


From the footnotes in Diane's announcement of the Frequency23 podcast--

America is the wealthiest nation on Earth, but its people are mainly
poor, and poor Americans are urged to hate themselves. To quote the American humorist Kin Hubbard, "It ain't no disgrace to be poor, but it might as well be." It is in fact a crime for an American to be poor, even though America is a nation of poor. Every other nation has folk traditions of men who were poor but extremely wise and virtuous, and therefore more estimable than anyone with power and gold. No such tales are told by the American poor. They mock themselves and glorify their betters. The meanest eating or drinking establishment, owned by a man who is himself poor, is very likely to have a sign on its wall asking this cruel question: "If you're so smart, why ain't you rich?" There will also be an American flag no larger than a child's hand--glued to a lollipop stick and flying from the cash register.

In my experience, this is quite true. Additionally, although this isn't universally true, and it seems to flip flop in the later years of life, most of the particularly smart people I've known tend to also be the poorest.

So what I'm wondering is, if you've noticed this trend, what are your theories on why this might be?

Let me say upfront that I think the idea that it's because "smart people hate money" is bullocks. I don't know a single smart, poor person who hates money, or who would turn down a couple million because it was "evil." Money is as money does. Personally I'd rather it be in the hands of those with a bit more foresight.

My theory is that smart people tend to not conform to authority, they tend to question before taking anything as a given, and as a whole they don't socialize quite as easily. As a result, many of the social games which people with wealth us to "lock" the wealth in reject these individuals outright. Obviously I'm using sweeping generalizations here based on my experience. And I also see certain problems against this theory in the exceptions. (Not to mention a certain ambigiouty in terms of the use of the word "smart" to start this off. By "smart" I mean innate intelligence and individualism, not academic prowess.)

Be that as it may-- what are your theories on this? Have you noticed this correlation? And does anyone know if any statistical research has been done into this? (Whether or not there is an inverse relationship between certain kinds of intelligence and the acquisition of wealth within capitolistic societies.)

As an afterthought, it's interesting that we're the most wealthy country in the world (I'm assuming that's including international companies, which may not have their holdings actually within the US economy) and yet we have one of the worst public education systems of developed countries. This, though it doesn't prove the above theory, does seem to correlate with it.

(A note: Saying that many smart people are poor doesn't preclude a large contingent of rock dumb poor people as well. Or dumb rich people. However the smart people, and this is-- the smart people I know, and yes I would lump myself in this category-- can never seem manifest the wealth they need to accomplish their goals. There has been statistical research demonstrating a correlation between education and income, yet that neither tells us how much of that education got in, weather those people were rich to begin with and therefor could afford college in the first place, and so on.)

ive been saying for years that money is easy. i still stand by that too. creating profit in this country IS easy. its creating profit doing what you want/love thats hard. just about anyone with an ounce of intelligence (and intelligence is heavy, so thats not much) responds with something similar to: well why arent you rich then? im not 'rich' for several reasons, the biggest being that i get bored easily. i dont want to undertake a giant, years-consuming enterprise solo. i wont stick with it, and it wont entertain me at all. now getting a group of varied and commited individuals together and creating some kind of profitable venture out of it sounds like more fun, and something i would stick with. one of the other reasons is that i am in fact rich... sorta. i go about wealth building in my own life the opposite way then most: by reducing what i need to spend my money on. compared to most people in my income range, i have FAR more disposable income, and even less debt (by which i mean none).

and that is one of the problems i see with money. i dont think most people actually know what money is supposed to be. it has never been backed by gold or silver in our lives, its simply this paper we are told means something. there would be a correlation here with intelligent people questioning what they are told... but i think they simply see what money actually is. to most people in our -consumer- society (which is a different animal then a capitolist society*, though similar), money is the reason to do anything. it is their comfort blanket, their security net, their crutch, and their tool. without it, they dont think they can do anything at all. it is the subconcious motivation beneath all their actions; but not even to make money, to spend it, which requires that they go out and do other things (things they probably hate) to make the money so they can spend it.

theres another reason for intelligent people to be poor: they make up their own minds about life, rather then buying into the consumer society most people are brainwashed into. this is all stream of though, so i apologize it if jumps around.

money is not all that, that is simply some of the uses of money. money is simply a symbol of ability and influence. i would rather have the ability and influence then the symbol... but thats why i dont bother; i see through the symbol. i dont need a wad of cash in my pocket, and a mound of it in the bank to feel safe enough to take risks and move to another city or quite my job. i dont need a full wallet to know that i will be able to eat tomorrow. this is all ability and influence i know i have, even without cash. i trust in my own ability enough that i know i will land on my feet and not crash and burn. i have the qualities of the symbol in my own self, so the symbol is extraneous. and without the abilities in your own self that the symbol is supposed to mean, it wont work for you either: if your dumb, now matter how rich you become, your money still will not break your fall. america is full of (and stories of) people that were once rich and died poor.

i would also point out that we do have stories of poor people... they simply became rich in them. who hasnt heard that apple started in a garage? that bill gates dropped out of collage? fedex came from an idea on a term paper... which nearly failed because the business model was not viable. these are the stories and myths (many of them are myths, near or partial truths twisted to prove whatever point is needed of them) of a consumer society. the brainwashing wouldnt work if we had stories of how it was good to be poor in any way shape or form. the people that believed them wouldnt be good little consumers. inversely, in societies where they want to keep people poor, stories of how it is better to be poor then rich in some ways; this was the excuse and scapegoat to rationalize being poor your whole life. they were really better then the rich folk, simply by virtue of being poor.... not that any of them would thank the rich folk for keeping them poor.

what i dont understand is how people can think of themselves as anything but poor (and extremely so) when their spending exceeds their income, and their they owe more then they are worth. somehow, the upper class has figured out a way to make people even poorer, while thinking they are richer, AND while still giving them more money. its like some wierd loophole in logic.

*consumers consume; capitalists create)
Current Music:
firewater: dark days indeed
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[User Picture]
On October 25th, 2006 02:38 pm (UTC), revtrae commented:
yeah, i was trying to gloss over the initial start up funds. thats the problem i run into quite often.

i ran around in a crowd for awhile, then suddenly stumbled onto the fact that most of them were sitting on huge trust funds. now these people were ripping other people off half the time, and surviving off ramen; so it never occured to me, who actually is poor, that they might be sitting on a ton of cash. i tried over and over to explain to them that the piddly crap they were 'earning' by not emptying to trust fund before it matured would basically just cover inflation between then and now, and that i could actually make us MONEY, and lots of it. everyone loved the ideas... till i actually came to the point of getting up off their asses and having to work (and having to actually take money out of the trust). this is the point it invariably fell apart.

which is why i said commited people. committed, able, intelligent poor people can do a whole lot more then most rich folk i know.

why is it, when the stories are there, when the american dream of making it big IS still the american dream (even if it has been roughed up a bit around the edges by a jaded generation or two), WHY do people think it is so impossible to make it big? WHY will no one in this day an age take any kind of chance?

crap, late for work.
[User Picture]
On October 25th, 2006 09:07 pm (UTC), agent139 replied:
Yeah. Business is the art of taking risks.

Intelligent risk taking isn't reckless. But, it does mean that sometimes you're going to roll the dice and lose. If you don't take that chance, you go nowhere.
[User Picture]
On October 26th, 2006 06:25 am (UTC), revtrae replied:
what are you doing now? you are one of the (very) few people i consider able. lets make some money. lets not have to work for the rest of our lives. lets do whatever we want, support whatever needs to be supported to make the image qw want made. i know you have the ambition.1

my only consideration is that we hold the same position. and so the same function. the two of us together could make something... the two of us with other people could make a mess of a good idea.

/end drunk/ end list. lets make something of nothing, when im sober. like, tomorrow night. or any other night you catch me.
[User Picture]
On October 26th, 2006 06:53 am (UTC), agent139 replied:
Actually, I'm working on putting together a publishing company / label. At the moment though, the way things are looking, the executive team is filled. Initial content's well into development, now's time to tighten things up and secure investment. That's likely to keep me pretty busy. But we'll see how things go.

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