Capitalism as a Value System

Economics, Entrepreneurship 2009-01-22 07:25

Eliezer Yudkowsky provides a bullet-point list of what capitalism means as a value system. Some of my favorites:

  • No company has a right to its continued existence. Change happens.
  • In all ways, at all times, and with every deed, make the pie larger rather than smaller.
  • A high standard of living is the just reward of hard work and intelligence. If other people or other places have lower standards of living, then the problem is the lower standard, not the higher one. Raise others up, don’t lower yourself.
  • Create value so that you can capture it, but don’t feel obligated to capture all the value you create.
  • The fundamental morality of capitalism lies in the voluntary nature of its trades, consented to by all parties, and therefore providing a gain to all.

Grand Adventure

Philosophy, Entrepreneurship 2008-11-14 03:16

“Q. Have your billions made you happy?

A. I’m reasonably happy, but the money’s not the point. It’s an indication that I’ve succeeded in the grand adventure of understanding reality.”

- George Soros (via Derek Sivers)

Some Good Podcasts


  • My History Can Beat Up Your Politics
  • American History Before 1870
  • The History of Rome
  • Technology

  • Girls Gone Geek
  • I, Cringely
  • Google Developer Podcast
  • Other

  • The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe
  • Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders
  • Tool Talk
  • Podictionary
  • I’m too lazy to give links right now - just search, dangit.

    Heroku Blog

    Technology, Entrepreneurship 2007-11-09 02:54

    I’ve made my last post to my Bitscribe blog, and am now blogging at my new venture, Heroku. If you’re interested in technology or entrepreneurship and think I have anything useful to say on those topics, stop by and take a gander.


    Entrepreneurship 2007-09-14 09:03

    “If you want to understand the entrepreneur, study the juvenile deliquent. The delinquent is saying with his actions, ‘This sucks. I’m going to do my own thing.’”

    From Let My People Go Surfing, by Yvon Chouinard

    Paul Graham Idolatry

    Technology, Entrepreneurship 2007-04-15 03:00

    I’ve mentioned Paul Graham a few times here before, but just in case you haven’t read his stuff yet, you owe it to yourself to check it out. Pretty much everything he ever publishes is pure gold, especially if you have any interest in technology or business.

    His book Hackers and Painters collects some of his older essays into a bound format more suitable for reading.

    A few semi-randomly-chosen quotes:

    “Good writing is an elaborate effort to seem spontaneous.”

    “So for all practical purposes, there is no limit to the number of startups. Startups make wealth, which means they make things people want, and if there’s a limit on the number of things people want, we are nowhere near it. I still don’t even have a flying car.”

    “In the United States, the CEO of a large public company makes about 100 times as much as the average person. […] ‘Are they really worth 100 of us?’ editorialists ask. Depends on what you mean by worth. If you mean worth in the sense of what people will pay for their skills, the answer is yes, apparently.”

    “Fear of failure is an extraordinarily powerful force. Usually it prevents people from starting things, but once you publish some definite ambition, it switches directions and starts working in your favor. I think it’s a pretty clever piece of jiujitsu to set this irresistible force against the slightly less immovable object of becoming rich.”

    “We take it for granted most of the time, but human life is fairly miraculous. It is also palpably short. You’re given this marvellous thing, and then poof, it’s taken away. You can see why people invent gods to explain it. But even to people who don’t believe in gods, life commands respect. There are times in most of our lives when the days go by in a blur, and almost everyone has a sense, when this happens, of wasting something precious. As Ben Franklin said, if you love life, don’t waste time, because time is what life is made of.”


    Life, Culture, Entrepreneurship 2007-03-02 12:42

    Transparency is the future. I first glimpsed this in open source software; later, I found myself extending the same principles to business. I’m not alone: the new breed of companies place strong empahsis on openness and communication, a stark contrast to the cloak-and-dagger nonsense that is so pervasive in traditional business culture.

    I’ve also learned to extend these principles to my personal life. This blog, for example, reveals thoughts and feelings that only a few years ago I might have only shared with a few trusted confidants. My new perspective has allowed me to share these things with the world, and I think that doing so has helped me grow as a person. (Not sure that it’s doing the world any good, but who knows.)

    So. Having sought to extend the principles of openness, honesty, and transparency to these various realms, I am now much more aware of the lack of transparency that is so common in most people’s lives. For example, one episode of Polyamory Weekly interviewed someone who was the head of an activist organization for poly people. She stated that she was not even “out” to a significant portion of her family (i.e., mother, grandparents).

    People think they are protecting friends & family by hiding parts of themselves. They are afraid that if their parents know they are gay or bisexual that they’ll freak out and disown them, or that if their friends knew their political views they might face disdain or even harassment. But something like sexual orientation is a pretty central element of a person’s identity. By not sharing it with those people you are supposedly close to, you’re doing both them and yourself a disservice. Or, more bluntly: you’re lying about who you are. How does that make you close, exactly? For myself, I don’t see the point in maintaining a relationship which requires such extensive deception.
    Read more »


    Economics, Entrepreneurship 2007-02-16 10:12

    “Profit is not something that we have to apologize for. Profit is proof that the capitalist has given something to society that it cherishes more than the material wealth it has given to the businessman.”

    From Entrepreneurs Are the Heroes of the World (warning: pdf link) by Johan Norberg

    The sentiments in this piece really hit home - I suppose flattery works well on anyone, even me. :)