Thursday, April 23, 2009

Financial Points Pondered...

Financial Points Pondered...

A business that makes nothing but money is a poor kind of business. Henry Ford

It is a paradox that Ford's own innovation, the assembly line process of production, has been replicated the world over while consistently improved and with the balanced score card approach (remarkably similar to Shewart's and W. Edwards Deming's PDCA Cycle) has not been actively implemented into the present at Ford, Chrysler or GM.

After a certain point money is meaningless. It ceases to be the goal. The game is what counts. Aristotle Onassis

It would be nice to be so meaninglessly rich? Imagine the games being played in the ghettos and barrios of any of the world's poorest cities and one might wonder if the game is only affordable if you are rich already? The year after I completed my MIB I spent reading and idyling in the salmon rich riverside village of Yang Yang (while paying for it) on Korea's east coast where I happened to pick up a few copies of Herando De Soto's books on the role of governmental regulatory growth impediments and the continued poverty of the world's urban poor.

He claims that most poor people can be described as entrepreneurs without the capital to start their own businesses. You can read a summary of his thoughts in this interview. Mainly he claims extralegal businesses exist on an outrageously huge scale due to exceedingly rapid growth in urban populations where multinational foreign direct investments themselves 15 to 20 times higher in the last twenty years than over the last century do not even begin to compare to the untaxed, off the books unregulated business growth concurrent and present in every developing country but not enclosed regulated or calculated in world trade.

So financial considerations may be considered a luxury of a well regulated business environment. De Soto's books The Other Path and The Mystery of Capital still make good reading twenty years on and are perhaps highly applicable discussions on this topic of finance drivers.

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery. Charles Dickens

Are poorer people happier people? My grandmother used to say, "If you can pay your bills you are rich." She had grown up through The Great Depression in a subsistence farming village in rural New Brunswick, Canada. Other villages not so very far away were given pet names like "Stove Pipe City" where entire farm labourer families would cower around a wood stove in one room shacks through the winters.

If ever again our nation stumbles upon unfunded paper, it shall surely be like death to our body politic. This country will crash. George Washington

This reminds me of Devil Take the Hindmost by Edward Chancellor, a well written history of financial speculation up to the bubble which reminds a reader that the current financial crisis is one in a long line however its greatest/greater scale is in line with Tom Friedman's claims in Lexus and the Olive Tree that globalization would inflict greater and more frequent financial crises on the world.

If you can grasp the idea that money is not real, you will grow rich faster. Robert T. Kiyosaki

Well, it is an intangible asset to be sure highly affected by perceived value.

Money never starts an idea; it is the idea that starts the money. W. J. Cameron

I would agree a good idea should sell itself.

The absolute fundamental aim is to make money out of satisfying customers. Sir John Egan

This agrees with the balanced score card approach.

The buck stops with the guy who signs the cheques. Rupert Murdoch

In that case it doesn't matter how good your idea is if you displease the latest Chinese Communist Party leader your cable or satellite TV stations might just get blocked.

Price is what you pay. Value is what you get. Warren Buffett

One man's trash is another man's treasure? GM was a cash cow up to a couple of years ago. Milked dry of value. Wonder if Coca Cola will be next?

Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted. Albert Einstein

I agree with this as far as quarks, quanta, dark matter, and the stars in the night sky. However I believe entrepreneurs find a niche and exploit it much as in Schumpeter's theory of creative destruction one product's life cycle is heavily influenced by its ability to be replicated, replaced or reduced in value by other products.

There is one and only one responsibility of business - to use its resources and engage in activities designed to increase its profits so long as it stays within the rules of the game. Milton Friedman

This liberal free market laissez-faire approach is well known at present. However I tend to think creative destruction plays a larger role than competitive advantage and as far as satisfying share holder values there are quite a number of irrate and disillusioned shareholders in the world right now who might question the responsibility of derivatives markets managers at this time.

In a knowledge economy, a good business is a community with a purpose, not a piece of property. Charles Handy

Is this man a Communist?

Although gold dust is precious, when it gets in your eyes it obstructs your vision. Hsi-Tang Chih Tsang

Don't let greed blind you. Money is not everything.

The chief value of money lies in the fact that one lives in a world in which it is overestimated. Henry Louis Mencken

All I could think of here is: "In the four decades of philanthropy that have paralleled my business career, I’ve found that the same principles apply whether you’re providing access to capital to grow a business, creating a new paradigm for medical research, or pioneering innovative approaches to education: Empower the most talented people in each field and encourage them to pursue their passions." Michael Milken (Infamous Junk Bondsman turned Philanthropist)

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