Monday, July 23, 2012

A Letter to Robert Wenzel

A post on has me riled up. This is my open letter to EPJ editor and publisher, Robert Wenzel, a part of which is posted in the comment section of the post:

from our correspondence and my presence in the comment section of EPJ you've seen that we see eye to eye on most things, I'm sure. I have a lot of respect for you, and for Lew Rockwell, however, I have never understood what both you and Rockwell see in the self-styled shaman Altucher. I actually have been taking time out of my day to contemplate this, and have come out more puzzled than before. I stopped reading his "I lost $15 million in cash / cried on the floor with my daughters crawling around me" drivel a long time ago. The fact that he lost the $15 mil due to poor investing decisions should alert him (and you) that he made the $15 mil as a result riding the tech bubble, rather than as a result of entrepreneurial prowess. He picked himself up: good for him! It's a great story to read... once or twice, after that it gets a bit stale.

Now try losing about the same amount of money made not by riding a bubble, but due to entrepreneurial capabilities, and losing it not due to poor decision making, but as a result of a government plot to make an example of you for defying it. Not ever crying about it, but just plowing through it, leaving all your worldly possessions in fleeing from persecution and landing in a country where you don't speak the language--at the age of 50. This happened to my dad.

I bring all this up so that in order to set up my point. This nonsense Altucher blabbers on about paying your kids to learn is exactly what governments do now. What you did with your kid is worlds apart from Altucher's idea. You paid Wenzel Jr. for a product. Your son had to acquire the skills and material for it on his own (even if you paid for the tickets to the game, he had to give up his time to watch the game, and had to PAY ATTENTION while there). Altucher's idea of paying your kid to read anything smacks of the same stench a Macedonian "pro-capitalist" blogger wrote about a couple of years ago. The Macedonian blogger is Secret Police stooge playing the assigned role of a pro-capitalist. His job is to produce "Shit Pies" intended to misinform and cloud ideas. I'm sure Altucher is not paid by the Establishment to write his Shit Pies, but he still writes them. Paying a kid to learn whatever fails to teach him that there is supposed to be a purpose to his action. It smacks of failure of economic calculation.

I've never received a cent for my schooling efforts. Nor for doing household chores. Nor did I ever receive a set allowance. I did get to keep the change when my dad would send me to get him cigarettes or a paper, but not when I was sent to get bread. When I did work in the company (from about the time I could walk) I got paid for it; until I was made partner (in trust) when I was about 8. Then I received the biggest schooling in my life: forget about getting paid for the little things, my pay is the profit of the enterprise. It was along reasoning of these lines that I was never paid to do household chores: if I had a benefit from the activity, the benefit was my payment.

The other big lesson I was taught was when I was about 4 or 5. It happened on pay day. Being the mini Robber Barron that I was, I was furious that we were giving our blocks of cash to our workers. My dad then took the time to explain that our workers had earned that pay through their efforts; more still, that since they were paid piece-work, and since we profited from every piece, the more money they took home on pay day, them more money that brought us. Ever since I've loved pay-days.

Another thing my dad did: when each of us turned 8, my dad paid for my brother and me to take English classes, but he did not "care" if we went to class, or how we did. However, he frequently needed translators, and he paid for the service. My older brother made his first money off interpreting for my dad by the time he was 12 or 13. By 18 he was working as a translator for monitoring missions in Macedonia, by 19 he was the first non-military personnel to enter post-war Kosovo as an interpreter for the US Army. Again, my dads approach is far more in line with what you did: pay for the specific product, not for the abstract ingredients--which is what governments do when encouraging perpetual "education."

Now that I'm done pointing out the some of gap between you and Altucher (I don't even want to get into his claptrap about not owning a house, etc.), I would like to ask what I've noticed others have asked of you: What do you see in this guy that gives you reason to promote him?

Dušan Petrovski

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