The Ultimate Guardian

What do we do when the society around us breaks down?  Who do we select as our guardian?

Every society has problems as it adjusts to new technology that busts the old boys’ network.  Evolution, revolution and anarchy are just matters of time.

cute dog chuk

One of our guardians is Chuk, a Plott Hound.  We have the normal range of wildlife on the farm as well as an occasional someone roaming around the county.  Though we are very isolated we fear not because we have Chuk and his cohort, Mah, as our guardians.  They (in their humble opinion) let us know even when the crows get too close to the house.

I am continually thinking about my guardians beyond the home, because our threats continually change.  Twenty years ago many of the main threats we face today, did not exist. For example, today many of the richest people in the world derived their wealth from electronic technology.  The world now runs on little 1s and 0s buzzing across silicone chips and are squirted into optical fibers.  The changes in our ways of life have been as profound as those created by railways, cars, phones, TV and airplanes.

This shift has created unimaginable good… and plenty of bad as well.

Electronics can improve the way eat, dress, house ourselves, bank and conduct business, socialize, love and hate.  Electronics can make us better in bringing justice and in creating crime.

Electronics help banks globally coordinate in ways that are good.  We can access funds from a little Florida bank at any ATM in the world. The same technology can be used for bad.  The 12 largest banks in the world, just agreed to pay a nearly two billion dollar fine for rigging credit spreads..

A New York Times article, “Banks to Settle With Investors in Suit Over Financial Crisis” (1) tells how large banks are paying $1.865 billion to settle accusations.  They conspired unfairly to control a derivatives market that stood at the center of the late 2000’s financial crisis.

In 2013, several pensions sued the 12 banks, all the largest ones in the world,  saying they conspired to charge higher prices.

Numerous headlines commenting about the Justice Department expanding investigations of white collar crime shows the government is paying attention.   Or at least paying service.

Someone should pay attention. A Fox News article (2)  says Wall Street companies have paid an estimated $139 billion in fines to U.S. regulators since January 2012 for the subprime and credit derivatives mess.  A spokesman for the Justice Department said: “Our mission here is not to recover the largest amount of money from the greatest number of corporations; our job is to seek accountability from those who break our laws and victimize our citizens”.

Good.   The public is fed up with big business taking advantage of its customers.

Wait a minute, though.  Is government really the right entity to be our guardian?

Another New Your Times article “U.S. Drops Charges That Professor Shared Technology With China” (3) must make us question whether the Feds are the best people to protect us.

The article tells how the Justice Department arrested  Xi Xiaoxing, the chairman of Temple University’s physics department, and accused him of sharing sensitive technology with China.  In the dawn, F.B.I. agents, some with guns drawn, stormed the scientist’s home, hauled him away in handcuffs in front of his two daughters and wife.  The university put him on administrative leave, removed his title and restricted who he could speak to at the school. He was unable to work on a long-running research project that was nearing completion.

There was one little problem.  The government was totally wrong.  Lawyers contacted independent scientists including a co-inventor of the sensitive information. They all agreed in sworn affidavits that the information the scientist had shared was not what the government said.  Oops!

The simple fact is that governments can never keep up with changes in technology.  Business always finds new ways to use loopholes to stay ahead of regulations.

The greatest guardian we can have is a never ending, growing  income.

We are our own best guardians.  We cannot give away the responsibility to look after our own health and wealth.  One way we can use modern electronic technology to create this guardian is by writing to sell.

When we want to turn our passion into profit, it is easier to do so if we know how to write to sell.

We can see an example of how writing to sell protects freedom and helps pursue passions in the life of the late Joy Golden, an advertising executive, who wrote comedy to sell Laughing Cow’s miniature wax-covered cheeses sold in a mesh bag.

A recent NYT obituary (4) tells how Ms. Golden used writing to follow her passion, protect her independence, build her fame and increase her wealth in the face of unfairness.

Her comedy writing caused sales of Laughing Cow cheese to jump 60 percent in markets where the ads she wrote were broadcast and won her five Clio Awards.

She began her writing career creating promotional copy that sold perfumes, clothing and cosmetics, but, she wanted to be a comedian.  She  struggled to break loose because as she told the New York Times, “The cosmetics industry is very serious; it’s like NASA”.

Then her boss insisted she leave New York and open a branch in Dallas, Texas.  She refused and was fired.

This allowed her to write comedy, that became the  Laughing Cow campaign.  This not only gave her independence and increased wealth, the Museum of Television and Radio put several of her Laughing Cow ads in its permanent collection.  Ms. Golden not only enjoyed following her passion but experienced sweet vindication.

The world has changed a lot during the 50 years I have been in business.  Every change has created new opportunity and threats that had not existed before. One fundamental guardian that has provided protection against all the threats is additional income.  That’s why my main activity is writing to sell.


One session at our October Value Investment Seminar will be on how to add value to your portfolio by expanding the time horizon of your investments through writing to sell.

(1) Banks to settle with-investors

(2)  Fox News  New Federal Crackdown on White Collar Crime

(3) US drops charges that professor shared technology


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