Wise Words from the Sages Who Guided my Career
The old Gilder Technology Report used to contain a “Noggin Nine” of my favorite stock picks of the knowledge economy. They rose fabulously for a few years, leading the field, and then crashed in the dot-com disaster.
As my friends at Agora have documented, however, my stocks came back impressively after the crash. My subscribers did well if they controlled their understandable impulse to jump off the roller coaster as it approached the bottom.
In my paradigm, wealth is knowledge, growth is learning, and money is time (what remains scarce when all else becomes abundant with the constant expansion of knowledge over time). My “Noggin Nine” choices are based on what’s in my noggin.
So, before I launch a new list, you should know where I’m coming from. I will list some favorite quotes from the sages who have guided my career. And then as a fillip, I will add a couple quotes of my own.
“Listen to the technology, find out what it is telling you.”— Carver Mead, Caltech Legendary teacher and company founder.
“The economy is a knowledge amplifier…Our ability to crystallize imagination — top down, mind first — allows us to create in the fluidity of our minds and the embody our creations in the rigidity of our planet.”— Cesar Hidalgo, MIT, author, How Information Grows.
“Wise men no more know how to centrally plan a monetary system than they know how to centrally plan factories, hospitals, and railways.”— Matt Ridley, The Evolution of Everything.
“I think currency speculation is better than currency restriction. But a unified currency would be even better.”— George Soros, champion currency speculator (1995).
“I think that the Internet is going to be one of the major forces for reducing the role of government. The one thing that is missing, but that will soon be developed is a reliable e-cash.” — Milton Friedman
“Bitcoin is the beginning of something great: a currency without a government, something necessary and imperative.”— Nassim Nicholas Taleb
“Perhaps the most profoundly important of the Internet’s offspring will be digital currencies independent of government: bitcoin or the crypto-currencies that will come after it.”— Matt Ridley, The Evolution of Everything.
“The rise of derivatives [and the like] separated the scale of bank balance sheets from the scale of real household and business activities…Lending to companies is limited by the amount they wish to borrow. There is no corresponding limit on the size of transactions in derivative financial instruments [and] their gross market value has reached $20 trillion. Role of banks changed from making loans to trading securities.”— Mervyn King, former head of the Bank of England, The End of Alchemy.
“In the run-up to the crisis, banking became about banks and not about businesses.”— Mark Carney, Governor, Bank of England.
“Marx’s idea was that entrepreneurs were exploiters of capital and labor. [But] the genius of entrepreneurs creates work and livelihood for all the other citizens. An enterprise without entrepreneurial spirit and creativity is nothing more than a pile of rubbish and old iron.”— Ludwig Von Mises, “Guidelines for Reconstruction of Austria,” May 1940.
“Humans don’t decide what to build by making choices from some cosmic catalogue of options given in advance.
“Don’t solve problems. When you solve problems you feed your failures, starve your strengths and achieve costly mediocrity. Pursue opportunities. Then you can make the problems irrelevant.”— Peter Drucker, as edited and embellished by George Gilder.
“The neanderthal in his cave had all the material resources we have today. The difference between our age and the stone age is entirely the accumulation of knowledge.” — Thomas Sowell, Knowledge and Decisions
“The root and source of all monetary evil is the government monopoly on money.”— Friedrich Hayek
“The government monopoly of money leads not just to the suppression of innovation and experiment, not just to inflation and debasement, not just to financial crises, but to inequality too.” — Matt Ridley, The Evolution of Everything
And now a few of my own…
“Under capitalism, wealth flows not to those most ready to spend it but to those best able to expand it…High tax rates don’t redistribute income; they redistribute taxpayers — from productive jobs and investments to palmy beaches, limousines, and tax havens…High taxes don’t stop rich people from being rich; they stop poor people from getting rich.”
“Money translates the scarcity of time into the economy, guiding tradeoffs and prioritizations, transactions and investments. The Fed can print money, but it cannot print time.”
“What matters is not how much money you are paid, but how many hours you have to work to get it. What matters is not money-prices, manipulated by Central Banks and adjusted by consumer price indexes, but time-prices. Time-prices measure how many hours and minutes you have to work to pay them. Since 1981, time-prices across the world economy have been dropping 3.4% a year.”
That’s a noggin-full for today. I’ll have more in future prophecies.
Editor, Gilder’s Daily Prophecy