In the minds of many people around the world, including in the United States, the term “capitalism” carries the idea of unfairness, exploitation, undeserved privilege and power, and immoral profit making. What is often difficult to get people to understand is that this misplaced conception of “capitalism” has nothing to do with real free markets […]
“In the beginning, all the world was America.” — John Locke“The Garden of Eden was a perfect place,” my friend Manuel explained. “Man had free will. He could live in harmony with nature and God — and everything would be fine. But if he defied God, the stain of original sin would be on his […]
People jacked up about income inequality can find a new hobby. The 1% are victims of a doomsday machine, and the countdown is ticking. Machine, thy name is “family.”This came to mind as I was reading a preview of Columbia Professor Andrew Ang’s forthcoming, must-read book on Asset Management. Ang is that oxymoron, an exciting […]
After a week of reckoning about the American oil and gas boom… I’ve got to get something off my chest.I can’t stand it when a coworker takes credit for something I did.Whether it’s a special report I wrote or just a little investing trick I found on my own — if someone takes it and […]
Americans have come to believe that the IRS and the income tax are inevitable parts of our lives. After all, most everyone alive today has lived his entire life under federal income taxation.It wasn’t always that way. For some 125 years, the American people lived without having any tax imposed upon their income.The obvious question […]
Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously used the term “forgotten man” in a 1932 speech to describe those at the bottom of the economic pyramid who, he felt, government should aid.But the originator of the phrase “forgotten man” had a whole different meaning in mind. He aimed to expose the seeming good intentions of government to reveal […]
I want to share some insight and give you a front-row seat to America’s next big shale play.Let’s get to it…Over the past 10 years, the U.S. has turned the ship around, quite literally.We’ve gone from a country that was expecting to import massive amounts of oil and gas — to a country that’s sitting […]
Whatever your views on the role of government, one thing is clear: There will be no way to pay for it if the economy doesn’t grow. And I’m not talking by a measly percentage point or two. If we can’t find our way back to 5% annual economic growth or above soon, America’s accumulated federal […]
What if I told you that the march of human progress could be traced in a direct line from the Epicureans of Ancient Greece… through the 18th Century’s cure for smallpox… to where Steve Jobs and Bill Gates found inspiration as scrappy teenagers… to the flying car of tomorrow?Stay with me and I’ll show you […]
Real progress happens through real people, ideas, and innovations. Not by legislation argued and debated in Congress. Right now, one of the most influential technologies is changing the way people do business. And reinventing the future in the process.
Innovation can change the world… if the world lets it. Unfortunately, society’s gatekeepers make it a point to constrain, regulate, and control these ideas. But their power is limited, and the power of innovation is too great. Unfortunately for regulators, there are some technologies they can’t control.
What’s the #1 reason a start-up fails?It runs out of money!And why would it run out of money?Because nobody wants the product it’s selling!For early-stage investors, this presents a bit of a conundrum:If a product doesn’t exist yet, how do you figure out if there’s demand for it?And how do you figure it out before […]
Politicians love raising the minimum wage because they don’t have to ask voters to pay more in taxes. They just dump the costs onto shop owners. But they don’t act like politicians and go into debt to pretend like they have all the money in the world. They face real world situations. And sometimes that means replacing workers with more affordable options...
Regulation is supposed to keep you safe and make the economy function smoothly. At least that’s what they tell you in the news. But there’s another cost to regulation. One that you won’t hear about unless you have to deal with directly. And for the people in the economy who do, they’re the ones who have to pay the final cost.
According to some estimates, one man - whose name you're probably not familiar with - has saved over a billion lives. Who is he? And how has he influenced the current crop of innovators? Josh Grasmick explains...
Biotech breakthroughs and other transformative innovations are a few of the brightly shining spots in the U.S. economy. In fact, Paul Mampilly believes this is the golden age of biotech investing, and that you can earn massive returns while investing in companies with drugs that benefit all of humanity. Read on for his latest example...
Harold Hamm isn’t your typical entrepreneur. His life’s story shows you success in America doesn’t always depend on a fat checkbook
Obama recently claimed this was the “Decade of the Brain”. But it not the first time the government made that promise. The last time they did it, they wasted millions of your tax dollars. Now they’re back for round two. But this time, their failure could mean more than squandered money. It could mean making Alzheimer’s even worse for those who suffer from it.
American ingenuity. It’s the stuff of lore and legend, and it’s what drives the global economy. We literally bank on the next disruptive entrepreneur — and innovative new technology — to completely redefine or create new industries. It’s what America does really well, our goose that continues to lay golden eggs.And yet, maybe not.The truth […]
Entrepreneurs innovate. Bureaucrats regulate. It’s the eternal struggle that exists in our modern economy/government. The people in power try to make the playing field as even and fair as possible. While innovators buck the rules and push the world toward a better tomorrow.
Technological progress moves the world forward. It finds ways to do things better, for less money, while using fewer resources. And if you ask any politician, they’ll tell you that’s the way to grow the economy and get America back on track. But if that progress threatens one of the government’s sacred programs, then that’s a different story. One that results in a crackdown on progress, and protection of the status quo.
Politicians proclaim the benefits of small business while on the campaign trail. But when they meet in the seedy halls of Congress, they have no problem doing whatever they can to stifle, regulate, and subdue their progress. Instead of siding with entrepreneurs, these politicians often side with political allies and cronies that helped put them into office.
Just because you’re retired doesn’t mean you have to stop working. Especially now that you have all the time in the world to do what you really want. Entrepreneurs don’t only come out of Silicon Valley. They come from all walks of life, from all different ages. If you’re retired and want to stay active while you relax, then find out the steps you need to take in order to start, manage, and grow your next small business.
Technology brought the world together. But has it gone too far? Decades ago, mail was delivered by hand. Now it’s delivered in seconds. How has that changed the way you live your life? How has it changed the way people act with each other? These are just some of the questions we need to ask.
The U.S. dollar has been the world's reserve currency for almost a century, and already there are signs it may be in decline. But that doesn't mean it's not still valuable. On the contrary... As Chris Mayer explains, there are many reasons the U.S. dollar will remain relevant on the world stage for years to come. Read on...
As full implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) approaches, every doctor, research professional, and health administrator I talk to tells me the same thing: Obamacare is going to reduce the quality of care and cost you more… in some cases, a lot more.
Can you imagine losing $119 billion in a single day? That might sound like an impossible amount of money to lose in any amount of time, but in the high-stakes world of startups, it really can happen in a day. And whenever there’s a “loser” in a zero-sum situation like this, there’s also a “winner.” The difference between the two? Vision.
The functioning of millions of our consumer products has been wrecked by government regulations in ways that are extremely hard to detect and difficult to narrow down. The other day, I wrote about discovering the reason lawn mowers have mysteriously stopped working and stopped improving over the last decade or so. (I now have a hack that I can tell you about.)
But that’s just the beginning. Someone pointed out to me that Band-Aids no longer stick. That seems right to me. I began to fish around the regulations for a clue. It is extremely difficult to find the one thing that caused it, since no regulation states outright that “Sticky Band-Aids are hereby banned.” The reason is usually very complicated.
Looking around, I found myriad restrictions on how bandages can be produced. Most pertain to the types of glues used. I found a mandate that forces manufacturers to put a long and terrifying warning label on any product that uses a particular type of glue and wondered if perhaps this is the problem: Manufacturers are declining to use the stuff because they don’t want to terrify the people they are trying to heal.
But I wasn’t sure. I took a break and went to store, where I saw a friend of mine who is a doctor. I asked him outright why Band-Aids no longer stick.
Without missing a beat, he said, “Because government banned the glues that work!”
I can’t prove he is right, but I assume so. Sometimes only industry insiders know these sorts of things. For example, I wouldn’t have known that government banned cloth aprons in commercial kitchens had a restaurant owner not told me the story of having to throw away piles of great stuff and start buying government-approved aprons.
It applies to so many products that don’t work like they used to. Today, unless your toilet makes some explosive bomblike sound when it flushes, it is probably not doing the job and probably not staying clean after use. Unless you add phosphates to your detergents, your dishes and clothes are not getting clean. Government regulations are the reason your refrigerator died too soon and why your white paint turned yellow.
You can dismiss these points as nothing more than “first-world problems,” but it’s actually more serious than that. The essence of civilization comes down to whether the small things in life perform as they should and improve over time. Regulations are stopping this, systematically bringing about regress. These people are wrecking the world one consumer product at a time.
But let’s return to the lawn mower. I touched on only one major aspect of the problem: the clumping problem from the bagging process. There are more problems, such as how the “self-propelled” mower moves more slowly and pathetically than it used to. Government regulations mandate that the wheels must stop moving within three seconds after the propulsion bar is released. That mandate required manufacturers to weaken the engines.
And why is it that we can’t just push our mowers forward with our fingers, rather than having to hold down a long bar with both hands? This, too, is a government mandate. The bar must be there, and it must be held down with both hands. This is the way it has to be because the government has actually drawn up an official blueprint for gas-powered, walk-behind, grass-bagging mowers. There can be no progress under these conditions.
The problem my article focused on was how regulations mandate that steel casing go all the way to the ground to prevent a “foot probe.” This cuts off the airflow that makes the grass fly up and into the bag.
Your ability to collect your grass in a bag was mandatorily sacrificed for your own good. What? You have no interest in sticking your foot underneath a running mower? Doesn’t matter. Government is protecting you.
In any case, here is a short history of life: Government erects barriers to progress, and then the market finds some workaround that is not perfect but helps blunt the effects of government’s attack. It’s true in the lawn mower case as well.
There are two engineering issues to overcome: airflow and grass redirection. A company called Arnold, which specializes in parts for outdoor equipment and prides itself on innovation, invented what it calls the “extreme blade” that does two things. It uses an elevated blade tip for redirecting grass into the bag, and it also puts extra slits into that tip. The slits help use the existing air in the sealed lawn mower casing to create a windy circulation, as well as to chop up the cut grass even further so that the clippings are lighter. The result is absolutely marvelous.
The blade is more expensive. And you have to go through the trouble of taking off the old blade and adding a new one. Most consumers won’t even think to do this and imagine that they aren’t qualified to even try. They will never figure out that there is an answer to their woes. After all, I went through three mowers in 10 years before being clued in that some company had invented a workaround to the problem of government regulation.
This is the archetypical case of how all these things happen. Some product works great, and then the government wrecks it through a stupid new mandate. The thing stops working. Consumers get mad and blame the product maker. A few years go by and some entrepreneurial company jumps out in front with a decent workaround. Meanwhile, millions of consumers are stuck with the stupid old thing and get mad and don’t know the fix. They start to blame the manufacturers for their woes. In the worst case, the company that finds the fix patents the answer, which means that others can’t copy the solution.
This scenario pertains to a vast number of products, including many that we haven’t noticed along the way are gradually depreciating our standard of living. We just get used to it. Government regulators have a field day with our liberties, and we live vaguely vexed lives.
Another workaround — and really the best approach — to get around government regulations is to buy the product that is so revolutionary and amazing that there aren’t government regulations yet crafted that ruin it. This is pretty much how it works in the digital world. Apple and Google and others — not government agencies — are responsible for authorizing applications that come along daily. That’s why the digital world is progressing.
This same level of progress doesn’t usually happen in the physical world because it is so heavily controlled. However, as long as we are talking about lawn mowers, have a look at something truly revolutionary. It is called the Robomower. It is amazing. It mows your lawn for you. That’s right. You turn it on and the whole yard gets mowed on its own.
A reader actually told me that the whole thing works wonderfully well. But the price is unapproachable: $1,500-2,000. The producer has a lockdown on the patent. That situation will exist for some time, thereby preventing the price from falling and restricting this wonderful innovation to only the elite in society. The way that patents slow down innovation and limit access to cool stuff is a subject for another day.
Regardless, if you have a drink in your hand (provided by private enterprise), offer a toast to the free market and its ever-amazing capacity for overcoming the barriers to the good life that government puts up.