Hosting Varney & Co This Morning Fox Business 9:15
I recently read yet another piece on the greed of the one percent by Rex Nutting of Market Watch. Interesting he suggested LeBron James, who makes $8,000 per shot attempt wasn't greedy because he could be making more on the court but threw a blanket of greed over everyone in the corporate world. Well, James is smart enough to know taking slightly less to maintain a championship team actually means significantly more endorsement money, making his slight financial sacrifice an investment for greater riches.
I think most of the people on the Forbes list of wealthiest aren't there out of greed but motivation.
They want to be great and they want to create, innovate, and beat the competition. It's this kind of drive that helps them take risks and not to rest on their laurels. It's the exact opposite of what's happening in America where becoming successful brings the same hurdles as in the past but also the extra burden of government resistance via rules, regulations and taxes and public opinion resistance. When you are targeted from the bully pulpit it just fells useless to even try to be extraordinary. Then there's double standard where an athlete or actor gets a pass but a self-made millionaire is greedy.
I think many executives are overpaid just as many athletes and other celebrities are overpaid. But, corporate success creates more jobs for Americans which should mitigate the hate. Be that as it may I continue to caution we must be careful not to become a nation that despises wealth so much we stop generating it which ironically enough means that "the rich" will truly only get richer and only those able to dunk or hit a hockey puck will have a chance to join them. This trap has already snared millions of young men and a few women) into hopelessly limiting options in the nation with the most options.
Of course there are always lessons learned from watching Europe (which is different than lessons learned reading enlightened Europeans and their scorn for wealth and visions of fair Utopias).
Ingvar Goes Home
"I'm stingy and I'm proud of the reputation."
In the next week or so the founder of IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad will go home after several decades away. Mr. Kamprad wasn't a fugitive from justice but instead was seeking a just tax regime to build what has become a retailing juggernaut. After frustration from moving at age seventeen, Kamprad started his furniture company named after his two initials, family farm and home village. His epiphany came when a coffee table wouldn't fit in the car so he removed the legs.
His move deprived Sweden of a lot of tax revenue and more importantly his genius and dedication to hard work and perfection (except when it comes to instructions).
This is not a man that was greedy but principled. It wasn't money or bling that motivated him, on the contrary, his tightfisted ways are legendary:
> Wears old scuffed shoes
> Wears faded coat
> Drives 20 year old Volvo
> Fired barber of years because found one willing to cut his hair for $10
> At ribbon-cutting ceremony in his honor, folded ribbon and told the mayor he could reuse it
> Takes subways and buses... insist on senior citizen discount
> Assembles his own home furniture - IKEA of course
So many fabulously wealthy people share many of Kamprad's traits but even if they spent all their money on parties and jets and yachts that would be their prerogative. It's dumb to hate successful people and really dumb to pick the nice wealthy people and the bad wealthy people. It's this sort of hypocrisy that's already put the American Dream on shaky ground.
Speaking of shaky ground, it looks like Egypt could have a new president within the next 36 hours as the military has ordered Morsi to give protestors what they want or leave office. This is really dramatic stuff with wide-ranging ramifications. But, then again, you've seen this movie before. The thing is I'm not sure what Egyptians want. They overthrew Mubarak and elected the Muslim Brotherhood. I do think Egyptians want prosperity which I'm not sure can coexist with repressive regimes. Sure, if you're blessed with an ocean of oil under your feet, but otherwise there must be a market economy with laws and freedoms.
I will say there's something to be said for people taking to the streets to demand justice or their version of justice. Yesterday the latest EU unemployment numbers were released... nothing but record highs. Youth unemployment is beyond crisis levels and yet there's barely a peep from the continent. You'll see large riots over economic summits and moves to enhance prosperity rather than unemployment. Have these people simply lost the will to fight? Are they so comfortable with welfare societies and mentalities there's no hope?
Just as I question what moves the young people of Egypt, I wonder with even more bafflement why so many things don't move the young people of Europe.