We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

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Samizdata quote of the day

[O]rdinary businessmen appear to tend to be less difficult to deceive – perhaps because they are such busy people, and tend to make the mistake that people are motivated by money so are knocked sideways by people who are motivated by POWER

– Paul Marks, below.

17 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    This is also why the political pronouncements of Anglican or Catholic bishops are nearly always silly. They themselves mean well but are frightfully busy with the bishing, and believe whatever is in the summaries that their earnest young researchers place before them.

  • hennesli

    And what motivates the businessman to make money?

  • Tedd


    Love that verb: bishing. According to Urban Dictionary is has an alternate meaning. At least, I think that’s not the meaning you intended.

  • And what motivates the businessman to make money?

    A nicer house and hotter chicks generally.

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Tedd, stolen from The Code of the Woosters, where Bertie warns Stiffy that getting her fiancé the curate to steal a policeman’s helmet may not advantage his career prospects, “A fat lot of bishing he’s going to do, if he’s caught sneaking helmets from members of his flock.” Wise advice for life.

    hennesli, nice house, hot chicks, vaccination programmes in the Third World, whatever. The point about money is that you can exchange it for many sorts of things.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Natalie, good for you — I can’t BELIEVE I’d forgotten that! (Comes from too much Wooster-watching. 🙁 As opposed to Wooster-reading, that is.)

    Ahem. Not just businessmen. It seems to me everybody who’s got some kind of actual degree believes that. Back when The Donald (Trump) was still a Dem, an psychologist of my acquaintance, a few months older than I, was knocked clear off her perch when I told her I was pretty sure he was a Dem. “Why in the world would he be?” she said. “It’s against his interest.” I informed her that the Big business names were mostly Dems…. She didn’t believe me.

    She didn’t believe me about the Sith, either.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Oh yeah, the money. Well, there are all those goodies, but I really think that at some point it becomes a matter of collecting markers. It’s a game, see. But whether they’re playing against themselves, as in say a game of jacks, or against the other guys, who knows.

    And for some, it’s probably a raw craving for the markers that will never be satisfied. An obsession.

    Or it’s their whole life, their identity: “It’s what I DO.”

    Or not, of course.

  • Nick (nice-guy) Gray

    Julie, if you’ve got more toys than anyone else when you die, then you win! It’s as simple as that!
    Hennesli, according to Adam Smith, businessmen were motivated by a big invisible hand that guided them into various business concerns. I don’t know what happened to the rest of the invisible man, but one or more of his hands are keeping the economy going!

  • Natalie writes:

    [Bishops …] and believe whatever is in the summaries that their earnest young researchers place before them.

    I cannot excuse them on those grounds, nor any others in positions of leadership or other power.

    There, one of the key skills (perhaps even the key skill as one cannot check everything) is to know who to believe.

    Best regards

  • Paul Marks

    Dean (Dean of Gloucester) Tucker understood economics. But in the 19th century the Church (both Anglican and Catholic) seems to have fallen off a cliff in terms of understanding – with “reform” coming to mean (to them and the rest of the educated crowd) a bigger state (as long as it was getting bigger for “compassionate reasons”).

    As for the country squire – they can be annoying in their traditional way of speaking…

    “Am I riding correct?” asks townsman.

    “Oh I am sure you are doing very well – although you might just consider possibly…..” says countryman (who will not identify himself as the squire – as he carefully alters the way you are doing things, in order to prevent you killing yourself).

    “Not that I know anything about this – I have always been a bit wary of horses, I must admit I am bit of windy miller, a bit of a coward, myself in all sorts of things……”

    The speaker will be expert rider (riding since they were three years old) and hold a Victoria Cross for taking out five enemy machine gun nests (whilst wounded) armed only with a walking stick.

    And he will be carrying (in his pocket) a book of Latin verse.

    Even though you could torture him and still not get him to admit he could even read English.

    “Oh reading – you mean WORDS and stuff…. alas I do not have the brains for that, or for much else, I am such a duffer….”

    Then the person will go back to their little private hobby of breaking the code that is Etruscan, from what is now Italy, or Linear A. from Crete.

    I am told that Germans (especially) find this old English way of speaking to be very irritating.

  • Julie near Chicago

    LOLL! Excellent, excellent. (Rubs hands) Paul, there are times when you are quite delightful. :>)))!!!

    (Naturally, I’m sure that any perceived similarity between the Country Squire’s style and your own is strictly coincidental. *g*)

  • Natalie Solent (Essex)

    Nigel Sedgwick,

    one of the key skills … is to know who to believe

    Agreed, but the trouble is that it is much easier to spot when someone is lying than when someone is wrong. The earnest young researchers are in earnest. Here is secretly recorded real life footage of two of them. They believe. In the Guardian, unfalteringly, and in the Nicene Creed, sorta.

    Another strategy the bishops could try is refraining from speech upon subjects of which they knows little. OK, knowing little of a subject never stops me from talking, but I’m a blogger not a bishop.

    To get back to your original quotation, Paul, I do agree that busy people are quite often easy to deceive. Mostly because they have not time to gain expertise in everything but also because their correct assessment of their own competence in one field mistakenly spills over into thinking they are competent in other fields. Gentlemen amateurs and Tory Anarchists might have had a better record simply because they had a little more leisure, and perhaps because they were farmers or at any rate landowners who were close to farmers because farming rents were the source of their wealth. I am not claiming anything mystical about farmers being kept spiritually grounded by a connection with the land, just that is in the nature of farming (as Adam Smith pointed out in Wealth of Nations) that it cannot be divided up into many little operations, so a farmer is a generalist, and hence cannot become overwhelmingly expert at anything. Which is bad for wealth generation by division of labour but probably good for him.

    This is either the most profound thing I have written in a while or a load of a substance with many agricultural uses.

  • Paul Marks

    A lot of good points there Natalie. Although the scary thing is that they do think they do know about X – after all the Archbishop of Canterbury is a university educated man and an ex City finance type so he knows…. (well so he knows less than nothing, i.e. the things he thinks he knows are not true).

    Julie – only very slight signs of it me (and only sometimes).

    An influence of the people I once knew long ago.

  • hennesli

    Sure, for most businessman the initial motivation may be the satisfaction of material needs and wants, but then if that were the only motivation then most of them would stop working after making there first million, and yet they don’t.

    I just find this dichotomy of the innocent businessman and the power seeking politician a bit simplistic. The will to power and influence can manifest itself in many ways, business and politics included.

  • hennesli

    or rather their fist million.

  • Antoine Clarke

    Paul has accurately described the worldview of Hank Rearden in Atlas Shrugged. I think it’s true of entrepreneurs as opposed to corporatists.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes Antoine – but even the corporatists get caught out in the end.

    For example it is starting to dawn on Jamie Dimon (of J.P. Morgan Chase) that he has NOT bought Barack Obama or the others (that they will take his money and then, as soon as they can, hang him out to dry), but it has dawned on Jamie Dimon and co much too late.