#132: Buybacks, Abundance, Twitter & Work
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#1 Buybacks All Day
In the two and a half years I spent consulting to corporate Boards around the world, the one thing every single company talked about was capital allocation and stock buybacks.
This article talks about the case of Texas Instruments and how meager growth paired with cost cutting and buybacks enabled the company to create a whole lot of wealth for its managerial class:
In other words, senior management and the board of directors received $3.6 BILLION in direct value from these stock buybacks.
and declare that its never been better to be a senior manager:
It’s never been a better time in the history of the world to be a senior manager of a publicly traded company.
Shit! Should have stayed in the game a few more years 😎
The article is arguing that we shouldn’t be so upset about Adam Neumann and WeWork because this goes on everyday at big companies around the world.
Financialization has won our over old fashioned organic growth.
+Check out Epsilon Theory’s other articles including an idea about a new way of thinking about our contributions framed around “Make, Protect, Teach”
#2 Without Work What Do We Do?
This article explores many who struggle to find purpose without work:
“Without ambitious projects to fill space,” he added, “there is often a void that makes some of the bigger questions hard to avoid. The things you neglected are no longer drowned out by noise; they are the signal. It’s like facing the Ghost of Christmas Past.”
This is mostly an article about the rich and how they are scared of stopping to work, but I think this hits on something emerging in the public consciousness - that our idea of contribution as paid work is becoming insufficient. Alexis de Tocqueville pondered the same question in the 1800s:
In the United States a wealthy man thinks that he owes it to public opinion to devote his leisure to some kind of industrial or commercial pursuit or to public business. He would think himself in bad repute if he employed his life solely in living.
It’s also something I talked about in my podcast with Alex Pang. Check out the link below.
#3 Curiosity Is About What You Already Know
As expected, subjects were least curious about answers they thought they knew. But they were also uninterested in questions about which they hadn’t a clue. Instead, curiosity peaked when subjects had a good guess about the answer but weren’t quite sure.
#4 How To Use Twitter
I’ve found a ton of friends and learned a ton from strategic use of twitter. Here is a good guide to getting started:
#5 Abundance Economics
A fascinating article from Oshan Jarrow.
What does economics look like in an era of abundance? First he touches on the “magnetics of money” - something I don’t think enough people appreciate:
Put simply, for the vast majority of the wealth spectrum, capital does not attract more capital. But after a certain threshold, it gets easier and easier to acquire more. Making money makes it easier to make more money.
He goes on to propose a number of solutions to how we can slow down the magnetic effect (something also talked about in Charles Eisenstein’s book Sacred Economics) and how abundance thinking really would play out in day to day life:
An economic abundance would invert the logic of daily life. Utilitarian labor - that is, work not for itself, but for earning - would recede to the margins. Any further labor taken on would become increasingly voluntary, un-coerced by the imperative to earn one’s living that incentivizes commodified life-forms.
and his hope:
We know the story of scarcity, it’s been playing out for millennia. I hope to witness the story of abundance unfold in my lifetime. If Buckminster and Bookchin are correct, social innovations will reveal that there is now, in fact, enough for everybody.
There has been a lot written about these kinds of ideas over the years but I’m intrigued by how many people seem to be paying attention now. This seems like the optimistic side of a very pessimistic time.
Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History series is epic. He just released part III of his Japan series, all of which you can listen to for free. Check it out here.
I published an interview with the author of one of my recent favorite books Rest, Alex Pang. You can listen and read more here
I’m listening to John Veraeke’s Awakening From The Meaning Crisis which is also epic in a different kind of way. Shoot me a note if you end up listening and let’s share notes.
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