Previous posts in this discussion:
PostWAIS Wednesday Advice from Ric Mauricio (John Eipper, USA, 12/01/21 2:31 am)
Ric Mauricio writes:
In celebration of WAIS Wednesday, the US law now permits taxpayers to claim a limited deduction on their 2021 federal income tax returns for cash contributions they made to certain qualifying charitable organizations, even if they don't itemize their deductions. Taxpayers, including married individuals filing separate returns, can claim a deduction of up to $300 for cash contributions to qualifying charities during 2021. The maximum deduction is $600 for married individuals filing joint returns.
I truly appreciate the responses in my open-ended question on Marx's philosophy. John E stated that "if you don't produce more value than what you get paid, then nobody will hire you, ever." That's quite an interesting statement. I know of many government employees that do not produce more value than what they are getting paid, yet, because the government system rewards longevity more than production and does not allow letting go of such employees, it leads to ineptitude in the governmental ranks. Ah, yes, bureaucracy. I know thee well, especially in dealing with the IRS.
And does that include our politicians as well?
Now, keep in mind, that in history, there are many cases that Marx can draw upon to illustrate the exploitation of the workers. The extreme, of course, are the slaves of the plantations, or building of the pyramids, and probably in the building of the Great Wall. There are the examples of the Chinese railroad workers, as well as the indentured servants in Colonial America. Don't forget the Medieval lords and their serfs. In more recent history, we have Henry Frick and his anti-unionist history with Andrew Carnegie's steel empire. So yes, from Karl Marx's perspective, there are those who do exploit the workers.
Fast-forward to today (or at least going back a few decades), and we have companies where the workers are actually owners of the companies, either through stock options or stock purchase plans. The lines between the corporate hierarchies become a little blurred. In corporate America, one definitely must produce or risk dismissal. I've actually had to ask employees to resign because they just couldn't/wouldn't produce.
But returning to Marxism, I find that there has never been a true application of his philosophy. Why? Because it is impractical. It is opposite human nature of innovation, working hard and the motivation of being rewarded. In China, under Mao, and in Cuba, under Castro, it resulted, in my estimate (there are no numbers available because the governments will not share any statistics that show it in a bad light) in 1% of the population having 99% of the wealth and 99% having 1% of the wealth. In today's China, at least, there is the capitalist system operating under a autocracy. I once blurted out, when our tour bus was met with a vendor, "wow, they're more capitalistic than we are!!" In Russia, the oligarchs have most of the wealth. In the US, it is a little better, with 20% of the population having 80% of the wealth. And reaching that 20 percentile is quite attainable.
Francisco Wong Díaz, bless his soul (yes, there is a measurable life force that exits the body when we die), mentions Divine Intervention. Ah, does that mean that the Mormon story of the lending of the Book of Mormon to Joseph Smith by the angel Moroni is true? Does that mean that the passing of teachings from the angel Gabriel to Muhammad are true? And why are Dead Sea Scrolls that the Jewish and Christian bibles are based upon in such bad shape? Wouldn't Divine Intervention have taught the writers/keepers of the scrolls to safely conserve their writings in containers kept in cool caves? Then of course, you have the Human Intervention of the creation of today's version of the Bible. The writings were from many different sects and some writings were removed. They did not like doubting Thomas. His Gnostic gospel was more introspective, more like Buddhism. No, the Catholic Church couldn't have that. They have to control what you think and Thomas' teachings would have made that challenging for them. They also did not include the Gospel of Mary Magdalene. Seems that there were misogynists that just couldn't have her as a disciple with a voice. In fact, when the Protestants took over, they also deleted some books from the Bible. There is so much Human Intervention that Divine Intervention gets a little lost in the process.
By the way, two thirds of the New Testament is attributed to the apostle Paul and his wingman, Timothy. Interestingly, many of his ideas mimic the Pharisee thinking. Ah, yes, he was a Pharisee. Perhaps seeing that he couldn't compete with the teachings of Jesus, he decided to just hijack it. And the Church, which found his ideas to more closely align with their quest for power, decided to include many of his letters in the New Testament. Tsk, tsk. I would argue that the teachings of the Church included more Human Intervention than Divine Intervention. Or perhaps one cannot separate Divine and Human, that they are really one and the same. After all, Siddhartha taught that the Buddha is within us. The only teachings I embrace are those of the man himself: Jesus. There is a reason why his teachings are taught by four gospels. Like in a courtroom (ah yes, the law professors amongst the WAISers would understand how important this is), each gospel corroborates each other. It is the only time in the Bible that you have that.
Changing gears here, I found Jordi Molins' Critical Height Theory to be quite interesting. It does indeed seem that there is a perception that tallness equals better. In some cases, height is an advantage in many positions in sports. But running backs in football are, because of their lower center of gravity, often shorter than their fellow players. Yes, I was always chosen first or second because of that. Basketball was not my sport of choice, because I didn't want to get hit in the face by a LeBron elbow. Don't even mention the time that the taller football players were picking on a smaller (5-4) high school cohort before I stepped in and told them to pick on someone their own size, like me (at 5-7, probably a little shorter as I grow older).
I personally have not felt my height was a deterrent to success. After all, some of the greatest men in history were around my height. Napoleon 5-6 to 5-7, Alexander the Great 5-6, Genghis Khan 5-1, T.E. Lawrence 5-5, F. Scott Fitzgerald 5-5, Aristotle 5-5 and Sir Isaac Newton 5-6. Fast forward to modern times, we have soccer great Lionel Messi (who just was awarded his 7th Balon d'Or) 5-7, John Stewart 5-6, Elton John 5-7, Mario Andretti 5-7, Yogi Berra 5-7, Henry Winkler 5-6, Martin Scorsese 5-3, Manny Pacquiao 5-7, Salvador Dali 5-7, Bob Dylan 5-6, Alfred Hitchcock 5-6, Spike Lee 5-5, Ralph Lauren 5-6, Daymond John 5-7, bodybuilder and Mr. Olympia Franco Columbu 5-5, Jet Li 5-6, Bruce Lee 5-8, and George Lucas 5-7. In my favorite sport, Formula One racing, we have four world champions on the list: Lewis Hamilton 5-7, Fernando Alonso 5-6, Kimi Raikkonen 5-8, and Sebastian Vettel 5-8. Would I fit right in? You betcha. Impressive list, wouldn't you say?
But besides Critical Race Theory, there is one theory that seems very true, especially here in Silicon Valley. It is the Critical Age Theory. Back in 2007, Mark Zuckerberg said that "young people are just smarter." Yes, my opinion of Zuck is that he is an arrogant a***ole. I especially abhor his trying to "screw" my accounting cohort, the original CFO of Facebook, Eduardo Saverin. Being a consultant to companies in which the median age is 31, makes a quite interesting environment to work in. Once, I had to replace a consultant who could not quite meet the job requirements. The talk was he was an "old" guy who just didn't fit in. What was interesting was I was older than him, by several years. Yet, I received accolades for fitting in with my much younger co-workers. My goal, as a consultant, was to always make my young co-workers the best that they can be. And they were quite receptive to that.
It all boils down to self-perception. If you are concerned that because you are shorter than most, then you will short-change yourself. If you are concerned that because you are of an inferior race than others, then you will be treated as if you are inferior. I always told myself that because I am different from others, I am unique and special. If you are concerned that you are "old" man compared to others, others will view you as an "old" man. And yet you have valuable experience that you can share with these young energetic workers. Their energy becomes your energy.
JE comments: WAIS Wednesday kicks off with reflections on theology, finance, success, and overcoming human prejudice. Ric, this is a fine compendium of Mauricioist thought. Out of pure self-interest, I'll underscore your first point: you can deduct up to $300 this year for charitable donations. Why fork it over to Uncle Joe when you can give it to WAIS?
(A hearty arigato gozaimasu to our colleague in Tokyo, Eddie Mears, who wired in his PayPal donation yesterday.)
Forgot our address? Here we go: email@example.com...or via check c/o John Eipper, Goldsmith Hall, Adrian College, Adrian Michigan 49221 USA.
Ric, have a joyful WAIS Wednesday, and bless you for your relentless optimism, wisdom and good cheer.
A Case Study in Critical Height Theory
(Francisco Ramirez, USA
12/03/21 3:40 AM)
C'mon Ric Mauricio. There is pretend short--you--and there is real short--me.
Amidst the visiting Nordic scholars stands their fearless leader, Chiqui the Viking.
JE comments: Chiqui, do not forget the old adage: It's not the size of the Viking in the Raid, but the size of the Raid in the Viking. See below, on the breathtaking campus of Stanford University.
(For those who don't know him, Chiqui is the gentleman in the light blue shirt, with the distinctive aura of leadership.)