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Chris DeMuth Jr. is the founder of Rangeley Capital LLC. Rangeley is an investment firm that focuses on event driven, value-oriented investment opportunities. Rangeley Capital and his value investing forum, Sifting the World (StW), search the world for misplaced bets. Rangeley exploits them for... More
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  • My Love/hate Relationship With Capitalism  18 comments
    Oct 28, 2013 1:41 PM

    I love capitalism for its dynamism, its ability to pull people out of poverty, and for its farmer's markets.

    I hate capitalism's ads, its cheesiness, and its commercial aesthetics especially the aesthetics of its large scale corporations.

    So, my compromise with capitalism is to throw myself into it at work, take what I can from the capital markets, and then beat a retreat to a home with as few trappings of commercialism as possible - tossing out as much as I can of visible labels, modern media, and the rest of the sights and sounds of the market.

    Part of this preference is to never set foot inside of a store. We get our food from Mike's Organics and I get practically anything else delivered free from Amazon Prime. Why? The shopping experience became increasingly depressing as I studied persuasion and learned manipulation tricks out of a desire to avoid their traps. So much of modern commercialism is comprised of creating artificial and contrived desires so that a given company can fulfill them - making people want stuff just to sell it to them. The more I understood, the more I wanted to opt out.

    So I am a lousy consumer. But every once in a while, a new site launches that I want to check out (typically as interested in their business as in their products). Recently, I popped onto a site called Huckberry and signed up for their e-mailed weekly offerings of products - clothes, tools, etc. - mostly from high quality sources that I had not otherwise heard of. It is a clean site with excellent, personal customer service and some great stuff, typically both minimalist and functional. This is about the first time I've ever not hated shopping. Check it out if you're interested.

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  • TimeOnTarget
    , contributor
    Comments (3638) | Send Message
    Shopping malls may not actually be hell, but they can't be far off.
    28 Oct 2013, 01:56 PM Reply Like
  • Chris DeMuth Jr.
    , contributor
    Comments (11165) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » I agree 100%. Influence ( is one of my favorite books and I started seeing the manipulative tricks that it explained all over the place. Combining sensory overload with indoors and manipulation in one enormous place? Include me out.
    28 Oct 2013, 02:37 PM Reply Like
  • pollyserial
    , contributor
    Comments (1113) | Send Message
    Totally agree. Thanks for the post.
    28 Oct 2013, 03:01 PM Reply Like
  • Dr. Kris
    , contributor
    Comments (377) | Send Message
    Yes, men do hate shopping. That's why God created women.


    But I do find shopping, especially at a mall, to be a depressing, manipulative experience. I think mall owners have been feeling this pressure and many of the indoor malls have converted into outdoor ones (especially here in southern California), although they're not a much better shopping experience.


    I do think many people are beginning to opt out of the consumerist mentally, instead choosing the "less is more" philosophy. It's very freeing not to feel weighed down by a lot of extraneous (and mostly unused) stuff.


    This is also one reason I believe holiday spending will be muted this year.


    Love your log cabin!


    28 Oct 2013, 03:35 PM Reply Like
  • Chris DeMuth Jr.
    , contributor
    Comments (11165) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » More on the backstory behind Huckberry:
    28 Oct 2013, 04:08 PM Reply Like
  • toddro
    , contributor
    Comments (226) | Send Message
    Nice write-up. Is that your cabin? I also like Kevin Kelly's website for ideas on "Cool Tools", clothing, gear, gadgets, etc.

    28 Oct 2013, 05:25 PM Reply Like
  • Chris DeMuth Jr.
    , contributor
    Comments (11165) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » Thanks for the link; this is ours: (with images of the surroundings. We have three other smaller ones on our property too). Thanks for that website. I love it. I am an utter tool junky, especially forestry and woodworking tools. My favorite are vintage logging tools, but I also love boat building.
    28 Oct 2013, 06:03 PM Reply Like
  • Ba1k3es
    , contributor
    Comments (682) | Send Message

    28 Oct 2013, 06:28 PM Reply Like
  • Chris DeMuth Jr.
    , contributor
    Comments (11165) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » Hilarious!
    28 Oct 2013, 06:33 PM Reply Like
  • arbtrader
    , contributor
    Comments (543) | Send Message
    A friend passed along a book I am currently reading: "Different" by Youngme Moon. She talks about how jaded consumers are because they are less and less sensitive to marketing because everyone is pitching them; relentlessly. One point that rang true- often the assumption is sell on price to increase sales. However maintaining exclusivity (or the illusion of..) often means consumers pay a high price willingly. Apple recently hit this when their 'cheapo' C phone orders fell off and the high end S is flying off the shelves.


    I think Charlie Munger said 'Influence' was his favorite book.


    Finally, the millionaire next door guy Stanley is actually a marketing professor. His book 'stop acting rich' deals in depth with this. Shocking fact: less than 25% of houses worth $1mm are owned by people actually worth $1mm. Great wakeup call with valuable child-rearing advice.


    Thanks for the shopping list, Chris. Will enjoy that. Mast General Store in NC has cool backcountry stuff. AT
    28 Oct 2013, 09:24 PM Reply Like
  • Chris DeMuth Jr.
    , contributor
    Comments (11165) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » Nice. Here is the link for anyone interested: It reminds me a bit of, which I really like.
    28 Oct 2013, 09:41 PM Reply Like
  • MOSMan
    , contributor
    Comments (39) | Send Message
    I don't know if it's his favorite, but it's one of his favorites.
    29 Oct 2013, 11:49 AM Reply Like
  • toddro
    , contributor
    Comments (226) | Send Message
    Cool, glad you like it. Kevin Kelly has culled a lot of information off the site but it looks like he is trying to get book together, which would be great. Even still, he has a fun website with some interesting thoughts and ideas - and cool tools!
    28 Oct 2013, 09:25 PM Reply Like
  • MOSMan
    , contributor
    Comments (39) | Send Message
    Ha! A Burt's Bees seminar at the Mast General Store. Burt's Bees is owned by Clorox. Not as back country as you would think unfortunately.
    29 Oct 2013, 11:48 AM Reply Like
  • connellybarnes
    , contributor
    Comments (552) | Send Message
    A thought written while in Hong Kong, watching the beautiful ocean and maze of humanity below:


    The trouble with markets is most participants have bad taste and judgment. So the markets adapt to this, and most products and services require bad taste or judgement to be purchased. People are often following some kind of Malthusian law or Gresham's law applied to human behavior. So bad behaviors such as poverty, overpopulation, buying unhealthy foods, poor quality goods, low value-added labor, etc, conspire to drive out good behaviors. Thus, the paradoxical outcome where humanity in general is rightly dislikable --- and less enjoyable to be around than say trees --- but a few people in particular are likable.


    My personal solutions are:
    - Be in nature frequently
    - Get outdoors exercise regularly
    - Work out regularly
    - Minimize consumption
    - Throw out anything that I have not used in more than a year
    - Discourage gift-giving except for consumable goods (food)
    - Only buy unprocessed whole foods at the grocery
    - Avoid going out to restaurants, because they invariably use processed foods, such as refined sugar or corn derivatives, which conflict with my primary goal of health
    - Set up my work day so it is relatively less location dependent and a relatively high percent of my time involves me doing what I want instead of having a boss
    - Set up my work day so that I am not around people too much, unless they are people I specifically like
    - Do not compromise on quality of life priorities such as health, relationship, and a generally enjoyable environ.
    13 Jun, 11:27 PM Reply Like
  • Chris DeMuth Jr.
    , contributor
    Comments (11165) | Send Message
    Author’s reply » Perfect.
    14 Jun, 07:38 AM Reply Like
  • neal weintraub
    , contributor
    Comments (1025) | Send Message
    you Earthlings fool yourself.
    You do not mind being on the Internet but think you are avoiding the consumer side of yourself.
    You poison your Lakes, And rivers. You pollute your atmosphere.
    And grow products that cause Cancer.
    Yet, you yearn for peace while selling weapons.
    No wonder, you Earthlings are confused.
    14 Jun, 12:11 PM Reply Like
  • neal weintraub
    , contributor
    Comments (1025) | Send Message
    You folks are my cousins.
    14 Jun, 12:11 PM Reply Like
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