Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
No. of Recommendations: 4
would you care to elaborate?
Going further.

Munger talks about multiple mental models. He keeps an inventory of these*.
I think of these as boxes. When someone says "Let's think outside of the box", they are really saying, "We're trapped in a silo of insular thinking. Let's try applying the models of different disciplines and see if that can give us a fresh perspective".

With that in mind, I like to apply the box of the historian rather often. As Twain said, history often rhymes. When you do this, it is easy to feel despair. Humanity has failed far more often than not. Yet its triumphs have been glorious.

New things are very very hard. Take the example of the American Revolution. This has only happened once in all of history. Bolivar broke his heart trying it in South America. The French Revolution is a cautionary tale for the ages. The Arab Spring has harvested nothing but misery. Yet, because the American Revolution happened, the world knows it is possible. Because America continues to strive towards its ideals**, the world knows that it need not be tied to the wheel of history.

Similarly with BRK. Just because the great companies of history were flawed does not mean capitalism itself is doomed, any more than America was doomed by the examples of Rome, Athens and Sparta***. I see what WEB and Charlie have been saying as the equivalent of the Scottish Enlightenment.
I truly believe there is an opportunity to demonstrate something about value creation, with BRK as the shining example****.

Now, consider the ovarian lottery. Merely by being born in the US, one gains tremendous advantage. What advantages might accrue to the owners of an evolution in business? I suspect they would amount to more than wealth. I expect that structurally it will be an oligarchy, and I want to be a part of it.

Yet, history advises caution.
I have a penchant for science fiction. One of my favorite authors is perhaps the most cynical. When you have a chance, you might read Resnick's Birthright: The Book of Man
The story is very obviously inspired by Resnick's personal interest in Africa. Humanity's behavior and motivation is a direct continuation of 16th to 19th century European colonialism and imperialism: ruthless exploitation and domination of other cultures, justified by an ideology of racial superiority. "Birthright" is based on the speculation that this behavior could be a fundamental trait of humans

*You’ve got to use those tools checklist-style, because you’ll miss a lot if you just hope that the right tool is going to pop up unaided whenever you need it. But if you’ve got a full list of tools, and go through them in your mind, checklist-style, you will find a lot of answers that you won’t find any other way.

**The Civil War, Civil Rights, on and on. We are a flawed society, we recognize it, and we strive to do better.

** For those who aren't aware, the US Constitution is based largely on the example of Sparta. The Founding Fathers were very frightened by the mob-rule aspect of the Athenian model.

****I once had a discussion with someone about the difference between task, craft and art, and when an action moves between those forms. I suggested that sport could also become art and gave the example of Michael Jordan. Similarly, I think that WEB and Charlie, if they are able to perpetuate their model, will have achieved art.
Print the post  


What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.