Economic Progress Means Turmoil; Politicians Take Note

In this week's column, Jeff Brown, MD, offers up a list of 13 quotes and ideas that will make you think about your wallet, and your country, differently.

• The title of this column comes from a quote by Joseph A. Schumpeter. Our candidates need to keep this basic tenet in mind when they are throwing around simplistic emotional solutions about jobs lost to automation and cheaper labor markets, without the requisite soft landing and retraining programs for our unemployed. There is also an unmentioned paradox in the complaint about “sending” so many low-end jobs overseas. The influx of less expensive products from Asia has allowed a measurable increase in the quality of life for the millions of Americans who buy these products.

• “Investors keep fighting the last war” - Journal of Banking. This sounds just like what generals do.

• “Failure is information” - All of us, I’m afraid, know this. What is key is what we then do with that information. It’s true in finance, our practices and our relationships.

• “Success is like reaching an important birthday and realizing that you are exactly the same.” - Audrey Hepburn. The other quote from her that I love is, “The best antidote to aging is elegance.”

• “When people show you - or tell you - who they are, believe them the first time.” - Maya Angelou

• “Investing without a long-term plan isn’t investing, it’s speculating.” - Rick Fiore/Portfolio Solutions

• “The rich invest in time; the poor invest in money.” - Warren Buffet

• “A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.” - William James

• “People will pay more to be entertained than to be educated.” - Johnny Carson

• “People can only treat us in the way in which we allow.” - Many, but notably recently, Jada Pinkett Smith, protesting 2015’s all-white Oscar nominee list.

• On a related note, “The nicest people can rationalize what is in their perceived self-interest.” - Anonymous

• “If it’s a good idea, go ahead and do it. It’s much easier to apologize than to ask permission.” - Grace Hopper

• Lastly, in reference to the never-ending series of candidate debates, “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing that he was never reasoned into.” - Jonathan Swift. Amen.