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Weekend reading: Meeting The Man

Weekend reading

Good reads from around the Web.

Post of the week goes to the annoyingly talented David Cain, and his interview with The Man – the faceless figure of big society who gets blamed for all our woes.

Writing on his website Raptitude, Cain asks The Man why he doesn’t care about his employees:

Cain: You don’t take any responsibility for the condition of your employee’s lives? Work is a huge part of life.

The Man: You’re touching a nerve here. Listen, I run a solid business, and I don’t think I’m going to run out of employees or customers any time soon, so I’ll spare you the company-spokesman runaround — no, I don’t take responsibility for the state of their lives and I don’t see why I should. Particularly when they don’t take much responsibility for their lives themselves.

Do you know how people with hoards of money get to have those hoards of money? They make some money, and then they don’t spend it all. They keep some each time it comes in, and they use it to make more come in next time. That’s how power is accumulated.

Instead of accumulating power, most of my employees accumulate objects in their homes, or they just burn the money as it comes in, on booze and expensive sandwiches. What I see is people setting up their lives such that they become dependent on powerful people like me, which is exactly the opposite of how one ought to build wealth.

That’s why I’m The Man and they work for The Man.

They’re free to do this. I pay a fair wage, in thousands of different areas of work, each of which they can take or leave. I find they don’t pick very good ones for themselves, but they just stay with it rather than starting over somewhere else.

Then they get grumpy, and instead of finding a more personally appropriate way to earn a living, they stay on the payroll and go through the motions and try to “stick it to me” by stealing pens and playing rock music.

I’ve broken half-free of The Man’s grasp in a couple of ways – I am self-employed, and I’m accumulating a ‘F.U. The Man’ fund – but in other ways I’m not even as pseudo Bohemian as I was in my early 20s.

The Man has me living in London, wondering when I’ll ever buy a house and fearful of decamping to somewhere cheap and underpopulated to write novels and learn to play the trumpet.

It’s The Man’s fault! He gets to us all.

From the blogs

Making good use of the things that we find…

Passive investing

Active investing

Other articles

Product of the week: NS&I is cutting the interest rates paid on three of its popular savings products on Thursday, reports the Telegraph. The paper suggests Tesco’s Instant Access Cash ISA paying 2% and Britannia’s Select Access Saver paying 1.75% on non-ISA savings as alternatives.

Mainstream media money

Some links are Google search results – in PC/desktop view these enable you to click through to read the piece without being a paid subscriber of that site.1

Passive investing

  • Swedroe: Proud to be a parasite – MoneyWatch
  • If you’re going to panic in a bear market, invest like this – WSJ (by Mike)

Active investing

Other stuff worth reading

  • Frugal habits of the millionaire next door [Video]Yahoo Finance
  • Is it time to jump SIPP? [Search result]FT
  • Banks squeeze interest-only mortgage customers… – Telegraph
  • …and things get tight for older borrowers, too [Search result]FT
  • How to save money on train fares – The Guardian
  • She’s enjoyed free electricity for 20 years – The Guardian
  • 3D printing scales up – The Economist

Book of the week: Has anyone out there read The Einstein of Money, a biography of the value investing guru Benjamin Graham? I stumbled across it on Amazon this week, and I’m tempted to spring for the Kindle edition. The reviews look good?

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  1. Reader Ken notes that: “FT articles can only be accessed through the search results if you’re using PC/desktop view (from mobile/tablet view they bring up the firewall/subscription page). To circumvent, switch your mobile browser to use the desktop view. On Chrome for Android: press the menu button followed by “Request Desktop Site”.” []
{ 6 comments… add one }
  • 1 Alex September 7, 2013, 6:55 pm

    From your title, I thought I was about to read another paean to that bloke who likes Gorat’s Steak House. Perhaps you’d finally got the invite to share a meal…

  • 2 The Investor September 7, 2013, 10:07 pm

    *sigh* One day… Soon hopefully, given the biology inevitability of the situation.

  • 3 ermine September 8, 2013, 10:59 pm

    I like it. I am interested to read that being self-employed counts as being free of The Man. Even according to TM himself 😉

    The VAT people and the Tax People for non-PAYE earners seem worse and more Kafka-esque than any employer I’ve ever worked for. That is a different face of The Man, and I’m glad to no longer have any day-to-day dealings with him.

    TM has a great insight, too.

    Every day, you chose what to do with your 24 hours, just like the rest of us.

    I should have discovered that one earlier!

  • 4 smiling vulture September 8, 2013, 11:11 pm

    Let me put my spin on frugal millionaire

    he earnings 10s of thousands per corporate event,not exactly ave wage
    Walks everywhere,fair enough
    goes to Starbucks just for free wifi only

    I thought it would be about someone on an ave wage,becoming a millionaire thru being frugal,instead it’s someone will a huge income failing to contribute to local economy

  • 5 dearieme September 9, 2013, 11:12 am

    Bloody loony, the NYC climate just doesn’t suit walking everywhere. London or Paris, however, suit it almost all year.

  • 6 WestCountryEscapee September 10, 2013, 9:57 am

    Great linked post and an amusing take on the MMM philosophy. I like to think that I choose to work for the man, but only because he’s generous, I like the work and I’m not in the office much. Also, the more I work like this the more FU money I build up and the less I need him.
    At some point he’ll let me go or I’ll choose to go elsewhere and maybe I’ll do something a bit different. The longer I stretch him out, the more options I have.

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