[ExI] Having money

Dennis May dennislmay at yahoo.com
Sat Sep 17 15:57:08 UTC 2011

I like your scale.  You are correct about most
innovators [smart people] being stuck at the 
lower levels.

From: David Lubkin <lubkin at unreasonable.com>
To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
Sent: Saturday, September 17, 2011 9:06 AM
Subject: [ExI] Having money

Stefano wrote in "Re: A Nobel laureate and climate change":

> Contrary to common wisdom, I suspect that people do not really care about money. This is a distorted mirage generated by the mercantilistic one-dimensionalism of late western culture, which had no course anywhere before the Europe of the XIX century.
> What they invariably crave is power, status, and growth in those areas, and "work" is simply the name in each given age of the activities they perform to this end rather than for the pleasure of it. Even today, beyond a relatively low threshold (50 million USD?) nothing you do can really change much of the quantity or quality of your food or comfort or medical care or sexual partners, but money continue to matter simply as a mean to keep the scores in the competition *for the above*, the specific function of money having become irrelevant.

Several of the best-known billionaires sought to change the world; riches,
power, and status were side effects.

I've developed a scale for financial achievement, as a common vocabulary
for trading notes and gauging where one is. It's focused on growing your own
business. I use the term product, but I mean that in the broadest sense --
whatever you're selling.

F-      couch potato hermit, cycling downward
F       not doing diddly [black]
F+      acquiring skills, equipment, and contacts

E-      getting a good idea
E       poking at the idea, shelving it for long periods [red]
E+      working aggressively at having something to sell

D-      product is out, but no one's buying yet
D       product is out, but not making enough to pay your bills [orange]
D+      you're working aggressively at promotion and growth

C-      product has a run rate that is enough to live in if it continues
C       product reliably brings in enough to live on [yellow]
C+      product reliably brings in enough to live on in luxury

B-      your wealth is sufficient to eke by for the rest of your life
B       your wealth is sufficient to live comfortably for the rest
        of your life [green]
B+      your wealth is sufficient to meet any need your loved ones
        might ever face

A       your wealth is sufficient to invest substantially in causes
        you care about [purple]
A+      your wealth is sufficient to change the course of causes
        you care about

I suspect many smart people are stuck somewhere in E or F. We
have more talent and good ideas than focus and discipline.
(I know I tend to.)

We all will differ in where we draw the lines of need and of loved one.
But, broadly, I mean if someone you'd welcome into your home has a
crisis that can be helped (or avoided to begin with) by money, you
have enough to have the option of helping.

B+ includes nightmare scenarios for the world as well. Your loved ones
might face a pandemic, EMP attack, tyranny, asteroid strike, economic
collapse, etc. (Some extropians give their friends gift certificates for
weapons training courses at Front Sight.)

There are several very rich people who invest heavily in causes,
for the sake of their children or for what they perceive as the long-term
benefit of civilization.

My desire for wealth for luxury is easily sated; just let me buy a few
hundred thousand more books and similar indulgences. But not
having to work for someone else, keeping my loved ones safe, and
summoning the future are very appealing.

-- David.

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