Smart people saying smart things

Smart people saying smart things May 14, 2013

Warren Buffett on Gold

Gold, however, has two significant shortcomings, being neither of much use nor procreative. True, gold has some industrial and decorative utility, but the demand for these purposes is both limited and incapable of soaking up new production. Meanwhile, if you own one ounce of gold for an eternity, you will still own one ounce at its end.

What motivates most gold purchasers is their belief that the ranks of the fearful will grow. During the past decade that belief has proved correct. Beyond that, the rising price has on its own generated additional buying enthusiasm, attracting purchasers who see the rise as validating an investment thesis. As “bandwagon” investors join any party, they create their own truth — for a while.

Adam Smith, in The Wealth of Nations

Is this improvement in the circumstances of the lower ranks of the people to be regarded as an advantage or as an inconvenience to the society? The answer seems at first sight abundantly plain. Servants, laborers, and workmen of different kinds, make up the far greater part of every great political society. But what improves the circumstances of the greater part can never be regarded as an inconvenience to the whole. No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable. It is but equity, besides, that they who feed, clothe, and lodge the whole body of the people, should have such a share of the produce of their own labor as to be themselves tolerably well fed, clothed, and lodged.

The liberal reward of labor, as it encourages the propagation, so it increases the industry of the common people. The wages of labor are the encouragement of industry, which, like every other human quality, improves in proportion to the encouragement it receives. A plentiful subsistence increases the bodily strength of the laborer, and the comfortable hope of bettering his condition, and of ending his days perhaps in ease and plenty, animates him to exert that strength to the utmost. Where wages are high, accordingly, we shall always find the workmen more active, diligent, and expeditious than where they are low.

Alisa Harris: “No, Kathryn Joyce Is Not Attacking Good Christian Parents”

Nowhere does Joyce claim that the extreme cases, particularly those involving child abuse, are representative of evangelical adoptions. She is consistently at pains, in both the book and her interviews, to stress that the people she’s writing about are almost all good people with admirable intentions. She does point to a well-documented trend, that spans from fundamentalist evangelical groups all the way to major organizations like Focus on the Family and the Southern Baptist Convention, in evangelicals advocating international adoption as a kind of acceptable social charity work that doesn’t compromise fundamentalist positions on sexual ethics. It changes nothing that Merritt has never heard of some of the adoption organizations involved; anyone who has actually been through the process certainly has. In both her book and her Mother Jones story, Joyce charts the history of this rising phenomenon without overstating its size or influence.

As is often the case when mainstream reporters present portraits of evangelical behavior that cut through their own self-justifications, Merritt tries to sidetrack the story with detailed assessments of the exact size and influence of certain books and organizations Joyce mentions and claim she has attributed some sort of outsize influence to them. The goal seem so be help evangelicals circle the wagons, not to consider that some in their tent — almost all very good people — are participating in what has become a global network of child trafficking to serve the desires of Western parents.

The Rev. Phil Jackson: “God is pissed off and so am I”

There is a passage in Luke 7:11-16 in which Jesus stops a funeral and heals a child from death, brings him back to life, and gives him back to his mother. How I dream of that moment. But, I also believe I can work to stop the funerals in the first place and bring our young men and women back to Christ, back to their families, and back to their communities. This means working for personal transformation of young people’s lives. But it also means looking at the structures we live in and asking how they can change to make our streets a safer place to grow up.

Steve Benen: “Senate easily approves fix for flight delays”

When the sequester started kicking children out of pre-K, Congress did nothing. When this stupid policy denied low-income seniors the benefits of Meals on Wheels, Congress barely noticed. When sequestration cuts put new burdens on cancer patients and cut housing aid to struggling families, most of Congress shrugged its shoulders.

But when business travelers ran into flight delays on Monday, a unanimous Senate approved a fix without breaking a sweat on Thursday.


Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

TRENDING AT PATHEOS Progressive Christian
What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Chris Hadrick

    “They’ve been done for the benefit of the banking sector.” we agree on something!

  • Chris Hadrick

    No, it was a popular book in the 70’s. In it, the author tried to define what exactly quality was. he was a guy who wrote motorcycle maintenance instructions. It’s boring

  • Chris Hadrick

    as if on cue: Berkshire Hathaway downgraded to AA

  • Lori

    Some designer stuff is genuinely high quality, though.

    Absolutely, which is why I’d buy it if I could for things I would wear/use for a long time. I would never pay $150 for a sundress though, no matter how high the quality, because I know myself well enough to know that I’m not going to wear a sundress enough times to make it worth it. (Obviously I’d be thrilled to get $150 sundress for $6. Go you.)

    Shoes are another story. I am hard on shoes, so cheap ones are practically disposables for me. More importantly cheap shoes hurt my feet. If I had the money I’d happily pay hundreds of dollars for well made shoes in classic styles that I’d wear again and again. I would not pay mid-4 figures for a pair of ugly ass platform pumps that look like stripper shoes just because they have a red sole.

  • I am rubber and you are glue~

  • AnonaMiss

    So we’re supposed to ignore the crack about how we’re all materialistic and irrationally concerned with whether or not our jewelry was generated naturally or synthetically. You won’t apologize for it because calling a significant fraction of the human race materialistic and shallow “isn’t an insult” and would cheapen the act of apologizing.

    Because the point you were trying to make was that natural diamonds are arbitrarily priced higher than synthetic ones. Clearly that masterful insight into the status-commodity market completely overshadows and renders forgivable your asshattery.

  • Chris Hadrick

    “So we’re supposed to ignore the crack about how we’re all materialistic and irrationally concerned with whether or not our jewelry was generated naturally or synthetically”


    “Because the point you were trying to make was that natural diamonds are arbitrarily priced higher than synthetic ones. ”

    No, they are priced higher for a good reason: they are quite shiny.

  • Chris Hadrick

    I agree which is why its important that the market correct this via short sellers who have a vested interest in discovering fraud. derivatives and short sellers/ day traders have nothing in common other than they are things in the world

  • Oh, please. Shortsellers have nothing in their interest except their pocketbooks. Even fake news causing the value of a stock to fall is welcome in their books.

  • Dutch guilders. :P

  • Chris Hadrick

    I was talking about right now, today . If you had a drawerful of gold you would be fine. If you had a drawerful of German marks you could’t do anything with them.

    This guys answer

    “The “paper” currencies, definitely. Paper/cotton can be composted to grow stuff, it can be treated and woven into useful materials, it burns if I need heat or light, it makes a good insulator, it can be sewn together to make a shelter, sail, clothing, etc.”

    is what I was mostly responding to. His was more of an answer for which would you rather have on a desert island or something.

    oil was a good currency in Road Warrior maybe that’s the way to go.

  • Do you have some kind of rare disorder that makes it impossible for you to apologize and admit you were wrong?

  • AnonaMiss
  • AnonaMiss

    And in case you were using “shiny” to mean “radiant” instead of “lustrous”, high-quality synthetic diamonds are indistinguishable from mined diamonds.

    Your point is invalid and all we’re left with is you insulting us and refusing to apologize, because you’re an asshole.

  • AnonaMiss


  • Rhubarbarian82

    I live near a town where a lot of the retail buildings stand empty
    because it is more cost effective to use them as a tax write-off than to
    rent them out.

    We have a lot of new luxury apartments that have gone unrented that I’ve always wondered about. They may be doing the same thing. They built apartments above malls and retail centers and then tried to rent them starting at 2400/mo, but it turned out that the Venn circles of people who made that much money and people who wanted to live above shopping malls didn’t overlap that much. Rather than lower the prices, they’ve just let them go unrented for years, and I can’t fathom how that’s cost effective. Must be some sort of write-off.

  • Chris Hadrick

    I ‘m not an expert on diamonds nor did I claim to be. I know that diamonds are more expensive then Cubic Zirconia because people have willingly paid more for them and are impressed enough with the seemingly slight differences to do so.

    I don’t understand what you are arguing here. If they can make diamonds in a lab and they replace real diamonds that would be fine. Unless they cost significantly less though it won’t be much of an innovation.

  • Chris Hadrick

    many traders are short some things and long others. none of them have anything in their interest except their pocketbooks, or wallets as is more often the case.