Pulling metaphors from The Matrix to the life we have now, we can see the parallels of how we have been built into systems that ultimately stop us from seeing the opportunities beyond. As the second season kicks off, Patrick introduces us to a new topic we’ll sink our teeth into. We depart from capitalism towards entrepreneurship – specifically the entrepreneur and intrapreneur and the difference between the two. Prepare yourself for a new season that will question your assumptions on life, career, finances, and investments.
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Entrepreneurship: The Season 2 Kickoff
“The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. When you’re inside, you look around. What do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters, the very minds of the people we are trying to save. Until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand most of these people are not ready to be unplugged, and many of them are so inert, so hopelessly dependent on the system that they will fight to protect it. Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself. The Matrix is the world that had been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth. The Matrix is a computer-generated dream world built to keep us under control in order to change a human being into this.”
I’ve always loved the parallel of our experience of life to the movie, The Matrix. As you and I begin a new season together, our focus is on a topic that is individual in nature. You’re going to question your assumptions about your life, your career, your finances and your investments. If you’ve read the previous four seasons, I believe you’re ready. It’s funny I used a Matrix quote in the book that I released. One of the editors actually made a note in their copy not understanding the reference associated with the red pill and the blue pill. That brings me to my next point. If you haven’t seen The Matrix, go see it because it’s a pretty cool movie. It’s definitely applicable to what we’re going to cover this season.
Our system of education from elementary school to middle school to college specifically, and how that creates this system of expectations when it comes to what we’re supposed to do after that, which is go to grad school or get a job and pursue a career. That career with its benefits, the desire to stop working and contributing one day, hoping that the financial markets and the 401(k) retirement plans will make us millions and be our retirement savior is this system that we are experiencing daily. Is that what you really want? Is that system giving you the fulfillment, joy and excitement that is possible? The Wall Street Journal had a piece about those who retire before the age of 62. I think it’s as applicable to those that retire after 62 or 65, but it made reference to the decline in longevity. Dying sooner than expected, having to do with the symptoms associated with unplugging from the opportunity to contribute and to provide value to others. Hopefully, you have gathered over the last few years and for those of you who have read the book, that I truly believe that whatever suppresses the human spirit to continually grow and expand through experience is one of the greatest thefts in history.
On the other side of this system, that wall that prevents us from seeing what’s possible is literally infinite possibilities to give our life a constantly renewing sense of purpose from what we discover about ourselves and what we individually can bring in value to others, how that makes us feel, the financial remuneration that it gives us. That from what I’ve experienced, that red, is what makes us feel alive. This season we are shifting from the ideal environment of growth, which is capitalism. It’s the ideal environment of growth and expansion to what the individual can do in that environment. The theme specifically is the entrepreneur and intrapreneur. Let me talk about the difference between the two. The history of the entrepreneur is pretty fascinating. This is the definition that I like most. It’s the capacity and willingness to develop, organize and manage of venture with taking risks in order to be successful and turn a profit.
There was another term that when the idea of an entrepreneur or the word entrepreneur was used, it also referred to an adventure. I did an episode about the principle of uncertainty. Uncertainty is one of those human needs that we all crave. It’s the feeling of being alive, whether that’s riding a roller coaster or going to a movie or traveling to a foreign land. It’s something we all crave. That adventure spirit is within all human beings. I believe understanding, for yourself that is, because there are different degrees of it and it applies differently to different individuals. Understanding that sense of adventure and experience is part of what gives life its meaning. There is an economist, his name is Jean-Baptiste Say. He’s famous for Say’s Law when it comes to understanding the demand side economics or demand-driven economics. He identifies entrepreneurs as the driver for economic development, emphasizing the role as one of the collecting factors of production where they’re able to allocate resources from less to fields that are more productive.
I find entrepreneurship fascinating because if you think about it, what we experience in life on a daily basis, I think we often take for granted. Hundreds of years ago, what exists was merely a possibility. It was dirt. It was natural resources. Look at what we’ve taken as humanity and made into whether it’s television, video, lighting or the internet. Step back and put yourself in the position of a time traveler and travel from 500 years ago to now, it’s unbelievable to think about. It all started with a human being and another human being then another human being, being able to take our potential and apply that to the resources of life that we all have access to.
Individuals In Nature: There are opportunities to be entrepreneurial, to take risks and buck the status quo, to question authority, to question assumptions, and to question the system.
What does that have to do with you? The TV has been invented, the camera has been invented and the internet’s been invented. How does that apply to you? It’s not so much the actual application of entrepreneurial principles or the idea of entrepreneurship, but it’s adopting the mindset of solving problems, of making things better, of making things more efficient by looking at something and figuring out a way to make it better, to create more value. I believe this comes differently based on the individual. This is where I dive into entrepreneurship. Looking at entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship, this is where you fit in. You fit in because you have individual strengths, you have individual talents and abilities that you’ve been gifted with. It’s different for all individuals. You’ve had experiences up to this point that has given you an idea of what life is about. I think most of you are driven and you’ve discovered things that you’re good at based on how you feel, based on receiving some reward or achievement, or based on what others have said about you.
I believe that right there is one of those seeds of opportunity to be nurtured. With that nurturing, come incredible opportunities for your life but also for the level of satisfaction and the level of wealth that you achieved. This season, we’re going to get into a lot of topics that have to do with the changing environment, not from capitalism standpoint but the change in that system that Morpheus in The Matrix refers to. The system of education is changing rapidly. The system of business is changing rapidly. One of the guests I’m going to have on is going to talk to you about the majority of companies in ten years will have a majority of their workforce, 70% or more, as either working remote, as contractors or freelancers, pretty bold claims. In my experience, what I’m seeing out there is incredible.
I’m actually going to release an eBook that I’ve been working on for a while that is speaking to this future of work, the gig economy and all of the jobs that exist. The employment opportunities that exist that are either a contract, freelance or remote and what that allows is unprecedented. What that allows is for you to discover what are the details and job requirements of those specific opportunities and what can I do? What can you do to invest in yourself to obtain the certifications, obtain the experience and obtain the attributes in order to have one of those positions? What that allows you to do is work 15, 25 hours a week maybe less, do it on your own terms and mix in the lifestyle that you enjoy.
It’s not the typical way in which people think about their future. It’s the sacrifice of now for a better future. It’s putting money away into a 401(k), an IRA or the markets in hopes that one day they’ll be enough where you don’t have to work. I’m going to break it to you that working is a part of life but working in something that you don’t like doing and that you want to escape from through retirement, that’s your choice. Your choice is to do something you don’t like and you’re doing it by sacrificing enjoyment, achievement, pleasure and happiness for money. Because of where we’re going as a society, I believe that you can take very little money over the course of the next four months and you can learn more about yourself, learn more about what you’re good at.
We’re going to have some guests on here that represent some of the personality tests that are out there, Myers-Briggs, Kolbe, DISC, StrengthsFinder, so that you can start to discover where do you feel the most alive? Where do you receive the most fulfillment? What are the strengths that you have that you may not be aware of? How do you apply that to specific job opportunities, employment opportunities, whether it’s within the company you currently work for or outside of it or on your own? I’m not saying that entrepreneurship is for everyone. It has been an incredible journey from a positive standpoint, but I’ve equally experienced the other side of the spectrum where I had self-doubt, where I had relationship issues, where I had financial failures. Believe me, it is something that I know is not possible for everyone. It almost wasn’t possible for me and I’m still experiencing it.
Sometimes people can’t work for someone else. That’s where I categorize myself, I look at what’s right for you and that’s a question you have to ask yourself. You may have to ask it more than once. The idea of an entrepreneur is thrown out. There are entrepreneurship classes in school, there’s entrepreneur thrown through social media. I think the definition of entrepreneur definitely needs to be questioned, but that there are opportunities to be entrepreneurial, to take risks and to buck the status quo, to question authority, to question assumptions and to question the system. I believe that’s your responsibility. It’s my responsibility. That’s why the world exists the way that it does is because someone questioned why. Why does it have to be that way? Why do we have to communicate through just phone? Why can’t we communicate better?
Henry Ford said that if he was to ask people what they want, it would be a faster horse. An entrepreneur or a Henry Ford or whomever, the Wright brothers, they looked at what would make life easier, and they came up with ideas to make life easier. That’s where Say’s Law comes from. I believe that there’s an entrepreneurial spirit in all of us. I believe that there are ways in which we can grow, expand and achieve a better future for ourselves first and our family then our community, those we serve those who we provide value to.
The season is around this topic. We have those that are very reputable economists. We have authors, representatives from these different personality tests. We have a family of some of the most famed economists that are out there and the impact that their father specifically had made on them and have allowed them to see the world from a different standpoint. We are facing a lot of turmoil in society right now. There’s so much communication out there, sometimes it’s hard to know what to believe. I look at issues, whether it’s in Venezuela, issues that are in China or in Russia. I also look at issues that are in the United States where you have these political influences that are very compelling. They speak well, they’re good marketers. Their narrative is compelling. At the same time, I believe that politicians will always be politicians. There’s always an agenda behind the scenes. Understanding principles, understanding what life is about is going to allow you to ask better questions. It’s going to allow you to support those people that align with your values.
In the end, what I’ve discovered in meeting with thousands of people and doing business with thousands of people interacting with authors, reading hundreds of books, is that most humans, if not all, have something very similar in common. They want a feeling of achievement, happiness and satisfaction that does not come from a job with benefits. It does not come from a 401(k) or putting money in the stock market. It does not come from retiring. I believe that it comes from you discovering what you’re about, what your strengths are, your abilities are and taking that and applying it in a way that allows you to live a lifestyle that you love.
I’m excited to have some of these interviews. I’ve already had a few and I think you are going to love them. I’m also going to try to be more interactive. Check out the YouTube channel and also on social media. Make sure you’re sharing this stuff. If you like what you hear or see, we want to get the word out. If you haven’t already, read the book that I released, Heads I Win, Tails You Lose. You can get a free couple of chapters. I can’t wait for you to experience that book. A lot of the principles I’m going to be talking about and I talked about last season, the theme of capitalism. The seasons in 2018 were Life, Liberty and Property. These are things I’m passionate about and I want to hear from you. I want to make sure that you understand the material and you’re getting something from it. Make sure you start interacting, make sure you’re giving me feedback through the different channels. I can’t wait to experience your journey just as much as I can’t wait to experience mine. Thank you and we will be back soon.
We all aim for personal and universal freedom. In today’s economy, this freedom is protected by capitalism where the people own and run businesses as opposed to the government. Founder of Capitalism.com, Ryan Moran goes in-depth with the idea of capitalism and Even Stevens’ bankruptcy, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s political phenomenon, and Andrew Yang’s philosophy. The host of The One Percent podcast, Ryan gives his take on opening up to the ideas of freedom in entrepreneurship and the opportunities that exist in the current era and more.
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Applying Capitalism In Today’s Market with Ryan Moran
My guest is Ryan Daniel Moran. He is the Founder of Capitalism.com and host of The One Percent podcast. He’s a father, a Browns fan and a future owner of the Cleveland Indians. This is going to be an awesome show. I’m stoked because you’re the owner of Capitalism.com. I’m sure there’s a cool story to that in addition to having that site. There’s a big responsibility if you’re branding that domain and how you’ve come to understand capitalism. I’d like to start with how you are defining capitalism.
My favorite definition of the word capitalism was from Hayek. He says, “It’s an increasing system of strangers serving one another.” It’s a system through which we are incentivized to serve one another. I had an economics professor in college. His name was Dr. Ivan Pongracic and he had escaped Soviet Russia. He was almost caught smuggling Elvis records and Fender guitars across the borders. They made it punishable by death if you did that. He said, “You know what I did? I raised the price.” He used to talk about capitalism was the system through which we practiced freedom.
In order for us to get ahead, we have to serve one another. It’s where we are incentivized to do so. That’s also why we see such a pushback on the left against capitalism is because we’ve forgotten that it’s simply the way we exercise freedom. When we go in and try to fix freedom or force freedom or try to allocate freedom to be more “responsible,” we distort it. We all agree that personal freedom and freedom is a high aim. When we can put capitalism as the protector of freedom, the system through which we have freedom, it’s a universal principle that no one can disagree with.
It seems everyone would agree with you on this notion of freedom, so why is there such disdain for capitalism?
It’s because of short-term desires. If your reference point was several years ago, then you are naturally going to look ahead only for the next few years. If your reference point is 100, 200, 500 or 1,000 years, the path forward is obvious. It’s like trading stocks versus being an investor. It’s like flipping houses versus being an income investor. It’s like trying to make money on the internet versus building an internet business. Capitalism is the same. If a twenty-year-old is looking at the state of the world compared to when he or she was eight, there’s not a good reference point for how the world acts.
All that person is going to see is problems. They’re going to see who doesn’t have healthcare. They have no reference point for who had healthcare 100 years ago. They’re going to look at the way they think the world should be through the lens of problems rather than looking at the trend of the world over the last hundred years. If you have never traveled, if you haven’t lived a few decades, if you haven’t studied history, you would have a short-term view of the world in which you only saw problems. Our job is to paint a different picture and to be relentless defenders of that freedom so that the loud voices don’t get a foothold in what we know the world needs to do.
If you were in a debate contest and stood on the other side, how would you defend that, “We’re not 1750, Ryan. We don’t trade wine and bread and potatoes. We’re in a civilized modern society where healthcare should be a right.” How do you take that stance and defend it against capitalism?
The way we defend that stance is by coming back to the fundamental agreement that we want the same things. I have a high percentage of liberals converted because most of them have the perspective that a conservative or a libertarian doesn’t want poor people to have healthcare. We have to dispel that myth. We have to say, “I have the same goal as you of ensuring that the least of those around us have access to quality and affordable healthcare. Let me tell you why my plan is a better way to get that than somebody else.
I heard Naval Ravikant talk about Universal Basic Income. He was talking with Scott Adams. When Scott Adams asked him what he thought of Universal Basic Income and Naval said, “We’re going to have it. It’s going to come from the private sector. We’re going to have phones be so cheap that Google will give them out so that you use their apps and their platform.” You’ll basically have a universal standard of living. We don’t need it to come from the government. That type of argument is how I persuade the other side to come to our side of the argument. You say, “We’re after the same goal.” Your way of getting there is to trust Trump and all of his friends to come up with a plan. How confident are you in that happening? My plan is this and I have a high percentage rate of getting people to convert after that.
Challenges will always occur, but there are always people looking to solve challenges. It’s like an instinct in us. We see the challenge where we will look for opportunities. I always look at The Jungle Book where Mowgli is this character that’s different from the rest of the forest because they’re to survive and he has this instinct to come up with solutions for this and solutions for that. That’s human nature. Even though we have challenges, when you do create that environment of freedom, people are able to exercise and are able to try things. Ultimately, there are solutions that create the betterment of everyone. At the same time, there’s a little time involved there. Whereas writing a check to somebody is the easiest thing to do and typically people want that short term solution. That’s where they tend to go and to gripe about.
Our brains are wired to produce happiness as a byproduct to increases in survival chances. Happiness is an illusion. Happiness is chemicals that fire when our brains think we have a higher chance of surviving. The only way we do that is by solving problems. We solve the threats that we have to our own survival. We unlock happiness by solving problems. Biologically, we are wired to solve problems. Unfortunately, we tend to fire short-term versus long-term if we’re in a threat situation and most people have the perception of threat, even though our livelihoods and our survival is as good as it has ever been.
Ray Dalio was talking about this whole idea of Universal Basic Income and the threat of artificial intelligence and people are going to be displaced by jobs. There are many solutions that the government can come up with, but there’s something about humans where there has to be a fulfillment side of their life. If there’s not, then life becomes the opposite. It’s unhappy. When you’re not able to solve those problems, it robs people of the opportunity to find fulfillment or find happiness.
Applying Capitalism: Happiness is a chemical that fires up when our brains think we have a higher chance of surviving, and the only way that we do that is by solving problems.
I think those of us who identify as Capitalists or Libertarian should be disappointed in Ray Dalio. I don’t know where his tune changed of seeing the pie that he created and started to feel guilty about it. His entire thesis on this speaking tour that he’s been going on is that we need a better way to allocate pieces of the pie. What Dalio mistakes and seems to overlook is there is no pie. There is no limited amount of value. He should know, he created a big one. He helped a lot of people along the way.
He aggregated a lot of capital.
That’s a good distinction. Based on his background when he’s raising capital from a lot of places, there’s a fixed amount versus it being a creation. Overall as a community, I think we should be disappointed in the message that he’s starting to spread.
I want to dive into your story around Capitalism.com because it’s one of those things that you buy and you can monetize. At the same time, if you have a philosophy around what it means and what you want the world to understand what it means, that’s a big responsibility. What’s the story behind your intrigue and interest in the idea of capitalism? Maybe your parents were these staunch-like Libertarian F.A. Hayek followers and you went to Mises University when you were little.
I went to college to be a pastor and I did not go that route. I had an economics professor who basically gave a talk that changed my life where he was talking about how the greatest way we can find nods or find our greatest purpose or find our maximum dollar amount. However you divide that up, our highest calling is by using the marketplace. Seeing price as an indication of where there was a need or where there was a value or where there were opportunities to create something. That completely changed my brain and altered the course of my life and my career. Add that in with some doubts that I had about my faith, it was a perfect time for me to make a switch. I ended up going to school and studying economics while building my first business, while the 2008 crash and the election were all going on at the same time.
Those were my formative years and the opportunity to acquire the name that represented all of my biggest interests was presented to me and it was to acquire Capitalism.com. Since then we’ve been building out events and a platform for entrepreneurs because I believe ultimately we only change minds and we change direction by changing individuals. I don’t think that debate on a grand scale is how we ultimately change people’s mind, we lead by example. At Capitalism.com, we help entrepreneurs build businesses and invest the profits and I’m playing the long game. The more millionaires you create, the more kids you have with those financially-educated individuals as parents. That’s ultimately how we change perspectives.
Let’s talk about applied capitalism. There are a lot of ways to approach this, but business has changed significantly as far as how capital is raised. In some cases, profitability doesn’t even matter. A right to raise capital is an idea matter. How are you applying what you’ve learned about capitalism in that philosophy to what you teach others about businesses and maybe how you treat your own businesses?
Your basic capitalist theory, things get easier over time. Resources get freed up. You have more access to opportunity. That is your point about things changing so much in the few years. Capital is abundant. The opportunities for advertising are cheaper than ever, at a higher scale than ever. Any message can go viral at any time. Things continue to get easier. I don’t buy into this narrative that it’s somehow getting harder. It’s getting easier and there are more opportunities. However, it’s changing faster. You have more creative destruction than ever before. We all love it until it happens to us, but if we’re going to be consistent with our argument then we have to either adapt or go find a business. We see capitalism in action. We see lots of new opportunities be liberated. We see a lot of resources become available. These are things that didn’t exist for us as a society.
Joseph Schumpeter and the whole creative destruction principle is powerful, but it goes to more of the long game than the short game where a lot of the lessons are learned after a lot of the chaos ensues. Hence 2008, 2009 where there are some incredible lessons learned by people. We’ve become stronger because of that not weaker. You are looking at what you discovered as more of a philosophical approach to capitalism based on the economics people of the past, which are not all obviously pro-capitalism. You started to apply that to business, but it sounds like you experienced some of that creative destruction like a business going under, a business becoming obsolete or you hired the wrong team. Did you go through some challenges to learn that principle?
Haven’t we all? If you’re not failing more often than you are succeeding, you probably aren’t a real entrepreneur. I was journaling about the fact that it only takes one big breakthrough in order to pay for all of your failures. Thankfully, we live in this world in which basically all of our needs are met for almost no money. We’re close to having a universal basic living standard. Unfortunately, we’re all comparing ourselves in terms of status, which is why there’s this myth of wealth and equality, which we all know is a myth. Since we have our basic needs met, you can pretty much fail at scale until you win. We all love it until it happens to us, but if you can develop that muscle of being comfortable swinging and missing, then one at-bat is all it’s going to take in order for you to have the impact that you want to have.
I have stopped measuring progress in dollars because dollars are a commodity. Wealth is a way to make things happen faster. The more dialed in you are to the type of life you want and the things you want to do, money becomes a byproduct of doing that well. It becomes gasoline for you to make it happen faster. I have changed my tune a little bit where I became an entrepreneur because I wanted money, then you realize all money is a tool to make change happen. If you identify the change you want to have, you can swing and miss all you want, eventually pay dirt happens and that justifies your failures and allows your successes to happen that much faster. It’s the purpose of money and capital in the first place to fuel the distribution of goods and services, to fuel the distribution of good work. That’s what it’s there to do.
What do you use as your primary measurements of whether or not your business is successful?
Applying Capitalism: If you’re not failing more often than are succeeding, you probably aren’t a real entrepreneur.
Part of it is am I happy? Part of it is, do I like doing what I’m doing? Another is client happiness and scale. Are people voluntarily sharing what it is we’re doing? I had a professor in college who was supposedly an expert in this idea of the diffusion curve of distribution. If you get those loud early adopters, they bring them to the rest of the world. If you have a core group of raving fans, they bring your message or your market, they bring your product and service to the rest of the world. Part of how I’m evaluating on it is, “Are people talking about it? Are people diffusing it for me?” If that’s the case, I know I’ve done something well in the world.
Let me break into that a little bit. There was a restaurant chain called Even Stevens. Have you ever heard that before?
I’ve heard of them.
They’re in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but they had this culture of doing well and impacting people. Their business model was set up where if someone bought a sandwich, one sandwich was donated to the poor. From a profitability standpoint, how do you reconcile wanting to do good and wanting to impact people, yet at the same time bringing in more than there’s going out.
When I was in high school, my first real job is I worked at Dunkin’ Donuts. At the end of the night, we had hundreds of extra donuts. A lot of them went to waste. We threw them away. A lot of them we donated to food shelters. There was so much waste we could give some to shelters. I could take some to school the next day and I did. We could throw away a bunch. There are a lot of wasted donuts. The only way that you can have that type of good waste is if you’re running a profitable enterprise. The people who talk about the TOMS Shoes model and they have their own financial problems with the idea of we’re going to give first. It’s a great idea, but you can give a lot more when you’re running a profitable enterprise. Profit is excess. Profit is extra.
It is a reflection of a gap in the marketplace. That’s a good thing. You are doing well by making a profit. Profit is a reflection of doing well. It’s not like the bad thing you get. Profit is the reflection of you doing well. With that, you can do whatever you want. You already paid your debt to society by doing the good thing in the first place and you have profit as a byproduct. If you want to take that and have a more additional impact, go for it. You’re under no requirement to do so, but you will do more good in putting all of those sandwich profits into more sandwiches and you’ll probably have excess that you can then sustainably giveaway. The idea of doing something that matters and getting paid for it is self-perpetuating and self-rewarding on its own and then you can do what you’d like with the profits.
The reconciliation then what I’m assuming is obviously you want to be benefiting customers. You want to have a good time, be happy and feel fulfilled in what you’re doing, but at the same time dollars are important from a measurement standpoint to ensure there’s more coming in than going out.
The reconciliation is Even Stevens would have done a lot more good in the world if they were running a profitable enterprise.
As much as we would think there are more supporters of the free market and laissez-faire capitalism and allow people in the markets to solve problems. There is a growing philosophy that has existed for a while using the narrative of social good and that the capitalists and money hoarders are these fat guys that live in big mansions. Let’s talk about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who is an interesting political phenomenon and Andrew Yang. Maybe we’ll start with AOC. What’s your pulse on her? How do you view the attraction to what she is saying and why she’s gained much ground from building a big audience in the inner circles of the Democratic Party but also in society as well?
My pulse on her is that she is extremely smart. She is one of the smartest politicians ever. The idea that she is a stupid 29-year-old Millennial is a false narrative. If you think that, you’ve played right into her hand. If she was not 29-years-old, she would be the Democratic front-runner for President. A waitress turned social media celebrity is already leading the direction of the Democratic Party. You do not do that being an idiot. The only person in politics smarter than AOC is Donald J. Trump.
How do you see the parallel between her and Donald Trump? It was the same way with him, it still is.
They are the two smartest people in Washington, DC.
Applying Capitalism: Universal Basic Income is socialism with lipstick. It’s not an enhanced form of capitalism. It’s just a different way to redistribute from the government.
Do you think she got to that point overnight? She came onto the scenes in a short period of time. Is that a natural ability to be that persuasive? Maybe she was a waitress at an incredible restaurant in New York City, but where did it come from?
It came from a combination of talent. She’s incredibly intuitive in terms of what she needs to say in order to get attention. It’s a talent with what she looks like. If she was a white ugly dude, she wouldn’t have the following that she did. We have to be real about it. We can’t ignore that. We all have natural privileges and what she looks like is one of hers and the other was timing. She’s perfectly well-timed. Her message for her talent stack in this state that the Democratic Party is in where it’s essentially a leaderless party. She walks in and has the benefit of applying that talent stack to this timing. It’s been a combination of all of those things like Donald Trump was a combination of all those things, although he had a much longer game than she did. She’s the benefit of social media and she’s got a good social media strategy. She entered into the conversation when it needed a polarizing figure to counter the President.
You’re taking the stance and this is a deep stake in the ground and a flash in the pan.
I am curious to see what she does. If you look at her overall strategy, she’s already effective in the way that she wants to be effective. The Green New Deal is her wall. I know there are people who disagree with me, but I’m confident, the wall is not a real thing. The wall was a marketing tool. Donald Trump knew there was never going to be a wall across the border. He knew this and because he knew this, he knew he would always have a rallying cry to point at the enemy. If his supporters didn’t get their wall, they could always say, “It’s going to happen. The Democrats are standing in the way.” There’s never going to be a wall. It’s a marketing ploy.
It’s the same thing with the Green New Deal. AOC comes out with this ridiculous plan that we’re all talking about and she has changed the narrative to be about which pieces of the Green New Deal are feasible and which ones aren’t. Based on that, we’re going to calculate it, discuss it and argue about it. That’s exactly what she wants. She’ll get pieces of it over time and she’ll always be able to look across the aisle and say, “They said no.” It was a brilliant move to make the Democrats vote on it. That was painting them to a quarter. It was smart to the Republicans to do.
I would say that whole Mike Lee velociraptor thing totally played into her hands. I understood where he was coming from, but I’m like, “How do you think that’s going to make you look any better?”
I do think that she is here at least for the next few election cycles. I’m curious to see how her message changes. Once Donald Trump is reelected and many years go by and you will basically have two leaderless parties because Mike Pence isn’t the incumbent. He will never be president. The Democrats will have no leader. Pete Buttigieg could have been that, but he blew his shot. As a result, I’m curious to see where AOC is. She’ll miss the cutoff to run again. She could play kingmaker. If that’s the case then she’s around to stay.
Some of this stuff she says is like, “Nobody says that.” There’s an agenda behind it. What does your crystal ball say her agenda is? What is she trying to accomplish? Political career or do you think there’s something more nefarious behind the scenes like socialism and communism?
I think back to the Occupy Wall Street movement. I don’t know if you ever visited any of the Occupy. I had much fun going and debating those. Eventually what happened, the movement died. It went away and then became Bernie Sanders supporters. They gave way to another failed movement. Socialism is such a tired idea. I don’t fear the noise that it has in the world because no one wants it. The movement of capitalism, the movement of freedom is too powerful. That will prevent a socialist uprising from taking old. My crystal ball says that AOC will continue to point her finger at enemies. She’ll continue to have a wave of followers. She’ll continue to be impactful on the left, but her message will change unless we have another economic meltdown and then all bets are off. At that point, I have no opinion. I have no idea what would happen.
Let’s go to your next hot button, which is Andrew Yang.
He was on your show before he was running for president.
He was officially running for president when he was on. It’s interesting to see what he’s done. He’s not taking abrasive a stance as AOC, but still he’s between the whole hologram. He’s going to show up to debates in a hologram. He’s doing a good job marketing it. How do you look at Andrew Yang’s philosophy, which I would say is definitely part socialism, part progressive, part accommodating the rising Y Generation?
Applying Capitalism: You become libertarian real quick when you’re an entrepreneur because you realize you want to keep what you earn and you only get to earn what is made on your own merit.
First of all, Andrew Yang says that Universal Basic Income is capitalism starting from not zero. I say no, Universal Basic Income is socialism with lipstick. It’s not an enhanced form of capitalism. It’s a different way to redistribute from the government. I don’t care for Andrew’s policies one bit, but he’s running a flawless campaign. I have to give him credit for doing an amazing job at running for president, but I don’t care for him one bit. He knows he’s misleading people. He knows that he’s making up problems that don’t exist. If you watched his Joe Rogan interview, he sat there and talked about problems that are not real like truckers being replaced. Their wages are going up. There’s a shortage of truckers because there are many other unskilled opportunities. There are many low-skilled jobs and many opportunities for low-skilled people that there’s a shortage of truck drivers because nobody wants to work those long hours driving a truck. What has happened? Truck driver’s salaries have gone up. There’s recruiting happening to get people to become truck drivers. No, we don’t have a problem in all the truck drivers going away. We have an increased demand, prices going up. He makes up problems where there are no problems to address, but he’s getting a lot of attention for it.
He’s the only one that’s on that bandwagon. There are a lot of the Silicon Valley elites that tend to feel the same way. When you do have that insight into technology and the speed at which things are becoming automated. The argument I would say has some merit to it when you think as far as the automation of certain unskilled things. Are you saying the transition to that is going to take longer than people think? Where are you coming from?
The Universal Basic Income, if it replaced all other government programs, would be a step in the right direction, but that’s not what Yang argues for. Yang is arguing for doling out checks to everyone. Not only is it not appropriate, but it’s also not needed. We talked about how the standard of living continues to rise and real prices continue to decline. The trend is going only to continue as we talked about in the example of Google giving out free phones. That is going to continue to happen and it’s happening at a faster rate. Look how the idea of a grocery store is in our society. We take it for granted, but a grocery store has only existed for this much of our history and we talk about food prices. Food prices are at an all-time low. I can go to the grocery store and get goji berries from China for $8. It’s the whole idea of “I, Pencil,” that famous piece that go into the pencil. I’m not of the opinion that Universal Basic Income is even necessary because we continue to have fallen-prices and increasing set of living.
It’s one of those things where it’s hard sometimes to distinguish, unless you’re a professional marketer like yourself, what’s really being said. It makes total sense to me and from Donald Trump’s standpoint. A lot of his tactics whether it was the debate tactics or his tweets or his punch lines, the amazing nature in which he marketed himself and won. I look at AOC and some of the same things. I would say that you have some insight than most don’t because you can read between the lines and I can see that with Andrew Yang. I don’t think he’s as conspicuous. He’s using somebody where there is a stronghold behind his theory because of Silicon elites. They have all of this concern with artificial intelligence, Moore’s Law and how this is all happening and it’s getting out of control. We’re going to have to provide for people’s well-being. You’re basically saying he doesn’t necessarily believe in it. It’s a narrative for him to run on.
If you look at how our brains are wired, we are influenced by momentum and direction more than anything else. The projection of where things are going in the future. You and I and everyone reading know that the trend of the world on a macro level is impressive. The things we’re about to invent and create are that much more impressive. In order to get attention, Andrew has to stand there and say, “There’s this thing going on that is going to replace all of the jobs.” He has to set the trend for how things are going. He talks about suicide rates going up. He doesn’t mention that they are higher in the fluent than they are among those at the bottom. He talks about the correlation between suicide rates and economic hardship. Economic hardship is at an all-time low. He is going to talk about the paint a picture of a trend that is happening because you are likely to pay attention if the future is a coming trend that is dangerous. He has a terrible solution of giving out free money to people, which is why he’s capturing attention. He’s doing a wonderful job at it, but he is doing it intentionally misleading.
The society, in general, has been highly influenced by movies and TV and what we’ve been told to future is. We’re always looking to the future. I’ve never made the connection that there are these short-term spikes and interest and intrigue on purpose to gain attention and popularity based on how we’ve been programmed in the sense of society.
It’s the first time that a message can be delivered at scale like in a click of a button. It’s because of that, we are incentivized to do whatever gets attention on a mass scale, especially when you’re doing something like running for President. This is new in our evolution for that to even be possible. That’s why it’s a battle with the truth and a battle with reality.
Let’s do this because this has been an awesome conversation. Thank you for sharing your insight. Hopefully, this was valuable to the audience. Why don’t you talk about maybe some something that’s more a little more positive? You obviously are getting negative feedback on ideas of capitalism, which is understandable, but what do you see as the positive things? How are you seeing people open up to the ideas of freedom, entrepreneurship and the opportunities that exist and are open to while we live in such an amazing time? Talk about your pulse there and if you see that growing in popularity to that perspective.
If we remove the labels, if we remove the way we define it, freedom and capitalism are more popular than ever. If you look at your average college graduate who is faced with the decision of, “Do I get a job or do I start my own thing?” Look at young people where the most popular desired job is to be a YouTuber. I look at some of my peers who were saying, “Do you know what I want to do for a living is playing video games on Twitch.” These were absurd ideas, but because we have many new opportunities, the opportunities for entrepreneurship are greater than they had ever been. Entrepreneurship requires personal responsibility. You become libertarian quick when you’re an entrepreneur because you realize you want to keep what you earn and you only get to earn what is made on your own merit.
Based on that, I’m bullish and optimistic about the trend of young people, yes, a loud core is following AOC. All of their peers are making $1,000 a month from YouTube and they don’t need Andrew Yang to dole out cash to them. “Do any of them want to give up those opportunities?” “No.” It’s why I don’t fear when Elizabeth Warren says she wants to break up Google. It’s not going to happen. They’re creating too many opportunities for people. I’m incredibly optimistic. I see the political theater going on is entertaining but not a threat at all. The trend of capitalism, the trend of freedom is way too strong. I can see that trend accelerate if we look at a macro view, if we look at 100, 50 years ago. Technology is only going to accelerate that because only half the world has internet access. There is still an entire half of the world just coming online and having access to information and having access to opportunities. The global marketplace is about to double.
One of SpaceX’s big projects is the satellite internet and bringing that to Africa, India and parts where they don’t have the infrastructure.
When that happens, you’re going to see a boom that we have never seen before. That requires markets, freedom and capital. We are still on the up and up and that is only going to continue.
Applying Capitalism: Capitalism is the only system in which bad ideas fail.
That’s where the optimism part and part of me is excited about the future, my future, my kids’ future. At the same time, I look at things that have happened that have put the world in a tough spot. Whether it’s the unfunded obligations we have with the amount of debt that’s out there with Social Security and pensions having major issues. I also look at where you have a big percentage of the Nasdaq who is on the brink of junk status, looking at how capital is being raised to fund companies that aren’t necessarily making a profit. The only way they can be payroll is to continue to get rounds of funding. How do you reconcile your optimism with some of the real things we’re facing?
It’s for those reasons that sometimes I do look at certain companies. I do think we are right for that to adjust, but I think we can look squarely in the face of government policy specifically interest rates as dictated by the Federal Reserve. I know they’re independent, but they’re the fourth branch of government. They’re manipulating interest rates. We all agree that has been a problem and it’s the reason why we have the asset prices that we have. Those things have to adjust. I am bullish on the fact that when we get punched in the mouth and if we have an economic collapse, all of those opportunities get funded into the new things that have already been opened up.
The number one job among children under twelve, they want to be YouTubers. I’m not suggesting that all the coders are going to become YouTube stars. That would be a boring channel. The reality is we’re on the cusp of new waves of opportunities starting to hit mass. When we have a reset or if we have a transition, it’s simply going to be one era to the next era. It’s what happens after every meltdown is you open up industries that didn’t exist before. Contrary to what Andrew Yang would like you to believe, that will happen.
I have a theory that the greater the hardship, the more you expand the possibility on the other side of the spectrum. That’s in personal life and that’s in business too. The wounds hurt in the short-term, but the process in which you heal builds a stronger muscle to do more and be more. We have some pain. There’s a lot of pain, but the lessons that are going to be learned from society are going to be incredible. It may not feel like that when you’re the one that’s not getting your pension check, your social security check or the cost of things have gone up or however, the economy responds to it. At the same time, you look at what good is going to come from it because people are hardwired to solve problems and to help others overcome challenges. They didn’t necessarily have the word Capitalism back then. People observe the marketplace and they intuitively figure out, “I’m going to go do this because that’ll benefit that, but it’ll also benefit me.” It’s weird how we operate, but it’s going to be as you put it at scale.
No one grows when times are good, you grow from pain. It’s why the bailouts were damaging. Not because of the misallocation of resources, not because of taxpayer cost. It was dangerous because we deprived ourselves of the beauty of pain. Pain makes us grow. It makes us better and it makes us solve bigger problems and as a result, we’ve gotten soft. We are afraid of getting punched that we don’t even enter the ring. We don’t even have a chance of victory anymore. By the time we get punched in the mouth, you’re going to have a lot of scared people running around who will have to learn how life works, which is exactly what should happen. I get the benefit of working with a lot of entrepreneurs and I did a little bit of a podcast interview tour where I interviewed in person Gary Vaynerchuk, Brian Lee who has $3 billion companies at 47 and Bedros Keuilian the Founder of Fit Body Boot Camp.
All three of them are the children of immigrants. I saw this as a trend come up. I asked them about it. The universal feedback among those three was, “I came here with nothing. I had to learn how to create and solve problems and work hard. People who were born here, people have had it good since they were born, they don’t have that hustle. They don’t have that ability. If I go to Ukraine and speak to entrepreneurs who are first generation capitalists, they’re hungry. Any sniff of freedom they cherish, hung onto, cling to and fight for. Any advancement they have from where they grew up, where their parents were oppressed by the government, where they had to escape tyranny, they are ready for opportunities. Here we want to go back to government control. We accomplished what everybody else wants and we’re getting soft. We could use a good punch in the mouth and it will be welcome refreshment when it happens.”
It’s long overdue, but everything you’re saying I would echo that. I see it in my kids. My wife grew up in the hood of Mexico. Her brothers have moved here and sometimes when there’s a safety net, it’s amazing what people will do not to learn the lesson. That’s the other part of human nature, even though we’re compelled to create value and to solve problems, we’re also compelled to be lazy sometimes or find shortcuts. It’s one of those other attributes of humankind that you need been to be leery up because kids these days are soft at the same time they’re meant to understand how efficiency plays into solutions. When those times get difficult, I have a good feeling they’ll have the wherewithal to learn technology, understand the technology and how that applies to whatever the challenge is at hand.
They will have to. There’s no choice in the matter of capitalism. One final piece on this is I’ve made the argument that the way we can convert people who disagree with us, who ask about converting people to our side of the argument is if you remind them that capitalism is the only system in which bad ideas fail. When things collapse, a lot of bad ideas will go with it. A lot of companies that raised money and can only make payrolls by raising another round, they will fail because they didn’t have value in the marketplace. You can’t say capitalism is the only system in which good ideas succeed. Theoretically, you could have a government create a great solution. The chance of that happening is low, but it’s possible. Capitalism is the only system where bad ideas go away and we will see that in the next crash unless the government gets involved, which is antithetical to capitalism.
This has become a calling for you. At least that’s what it sounds like. I know it’s a big responsibility, but thanks for all you’re doing to advocate these ideas. How can people learn more about you and follow you? I know you’re active on social media. What are the best ways?
My handle is @RyanDanielMoran on Instagram. My podcast is Capitalism.com. There’s a generation of young people out there who need an outlet for entrepreneurship and this the only way we’re going to convert them to our side of the aisle. If Robert Kiyosaki had a rich son, it might be me taking the torch to this generation that is polarized on capitalism versus socialism.
Ryan Daniel Moran, it’s been a pleasure. Thank you much for taking the time. You are putting up some amazing content. What I also love about you is you’re bold, you speak your mind and you’re a seeker of truth. It’s inspiring. Thank you.
Ryan Daniel Moran is a serial entrepreneur, author, speaker, and investor. He is driven by the belief that entrepreneurs solve problems, and that the world needs more empowered entrepreneurs.
As the founder of Capitalism.com, his mission is to champion and serve entrepreneurs, because entrepreneurs drive change, create jobs, influence the economy, and uplift their families and communities to create a better world.
Through his training and podcast at Capitalism.com, Ryan is responsible for creating more than 100 millionaires, many in 12 months or less! He is passionate about sharing the knowledge he has gained from founding, running, and investing in a number of e-commerce, and physical products businesses.
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Capitalism has too often become the word most people do not really understand. Many tend to regard it simply as taking advantage of others for personal gain when it is so much more than that. As we went on to discover the deeper meaning of capitalism, we have encountered great nuggets of wisdom from a number of people who have felt a passion in defining what this misunderstood word is. In this episode, we gather all of the great ideas that have come up in this season as we bid the topic goodbye. Patrick wraps this season up by providing a summary of the accumulated content on capitalism. With this end comes a new beginning of the next season, and Patrick gears us up as he introduces the next topic. Step into this world one last time and relive the moments that changed the way you think of capitalism forever.
Watch the episode here:
Listen to the podcast here:
Capitalism: The Season Wrap-Up
It’s hard to believe that we are at the end of yet another season. This season, we are focusing on capitalism. It’s been fun. We have one more guest which I think is going to end the season with a bang. It’s probably the most excitement I felt in regards to interviewing a guest in a long time. I’ve had some pretty amazing guests but this individual and I have only had a couple of conversations. The one that we did have was at an incredibly high level with some very high-level people. I can’t wait to talk to him again about the principle of capitalism to summarize the season in a sense and then transition us to the next season. If you haven’t read all of the episodes or didn’t know that we were focused this particular season, the first four months of 2019 on capitalism, go back and check out those old episodes. You can go to TheWealthStandard.com or obviously check it out on Spotify or iTunes whichever you’re using to listen.
I want to transition to the topic for next season. I want to summarize the episodes that I’ve done, the content that we’ve covered, the interviews that I’ve had, what I’ve learned and some of the topics and the main points that have stuck with me. I want to make a request of you. I want to hear from you guys and I haven’t done this before. I’m going to give out my personal podcast’s email because I want to hear about what you’ve learned. I want to hear about what’s been enlightening for you. I want to hear what you didn’t like too, whatever. I just want to hear from you. If you guys would reach out, it’s Patrick@PatrickDonohoe.com. In this episode, I’m also going to talk about the next season and my ideas there. I’m going to introduce that topic and so hearing what you guys think about it is important to me. If you have ideas or you like or dislike something or you want to have a specific guest, I’d love to hear that feedback.
Capitalism is one of those words throughout the season that gets the hair on people’s necks to go up. They get ticked off. It leads to very high emotional debates and battles. What I’ve concluded is the following. I believe that most people, and I would include myself in it, don’t understand the true nature of capitalism, what that system does to the human experience and to life. I’ve realized that the definition is important. Understand that word because many believe that capitalism is exploiting the lives of others and sacrificing them for personal gain. I think that’s very propaganda-ish and that is not the definition of it and that happens. People sacrifice others, they cheat, they steal and they exploit. I don’t define capitalism as that. I’m not sure what the definition of that is but I understand that people do that. I understand that big business has received a branding of sorts when it comes to that.
There’s always going to be human nature involved. I realized that people are going to take advantage of others for their own gain. I’m not looking at capitalism like that. The system of a free-market, laissez-faire capitalism, I truly believe is the framework to achieve the highest degree of happiness in life. I’m going to try to make that argument in this episode. I look at the past shows and I talk specifically about Italy, some of the things I’ve learned there. I’ve looked at the world slightly differently as I’ve done this season. I look at how amazing is the life we’re all a part of. The technology that exists, the things we’re able to experience, I realize that it’s not necessarily the life that some people want. I look at as much as technology and as much as the progress that we’ve made have helped us. It’s also made people somewhat lazy, spoiled, complacent and I put myself into that category.
I don’t know if I’d be able to survive if I was in the 1800s, raise crops, not have heating and air conditioning or electricity. At the same time, I look at how our lives, as much as they seem easier, they’re much harder. The connection I’ve made to what I see as the framework or the system to bring about the achievement of the highest level of happiness in life, it comes down to us being able to discover what our strengths are, what our natural abilities and talents are. We apply those in a way that helps others but it’s not a one-sided help.
It helps others but yet it also provides an exchange where we also receive. I look at what I’ve discovered in 2019 with some different business coaches that I’ve changed to. One of them has taught me something that seems common sense, but it’s been incredible how it’s reframed my perspective of those people that I work with. There are 60 some odd people that I work with and it’s changed everything. I think it applies to this very principle. What I’ve learned is when somebody is doing less than 80% of their work outside of their core strengths, abilities and successful experience, then they’re not going to be happy. If they are, it’s for a very short period of time.
I’ve learned that the equation to a high level of engagement, participation and excitement with regards to work has to do with working 80% more in what you’re strong at, coupled with meaningful targets or goals, as well as the appropriate incentives and a good level of accountability. I’m going to get into that as we transition to next season’s themes. What this does is it allows me to see a person’s strengths, have them work and do things within those strengths. I delegate whatever else that may have been their responsibility but ultimately, they’re weaknesses to somebody else. It’s been remarkable to see the difference so far and we’re instituting a few other things when it comes to projects and so forth. I believe that everybody has strengths, talents and abilities. In large part, they’re always evolving. The discovery process isn’t this you wake up one morning and suddenly you know what’s strong about you. You are in an environment and in that environment, you exercise whatever that strength is whether you’re conscious of it or not. You receive that fulfillment, you receive that degree of achievement because you know that you’re good at something.
That’s why I’m saying that capitalism, that type of system, allows for the free discovery of that. If someone has to figure things out, if someone has to work with others, if someone has to get an outcome as it relates to work, then they’re either going to do it or they’re not going to do it. If they’re given clear direction, clear outcomes as far as what they’re supposed to achieve and then they’re given the environment that it’s free for them to figure it out, they’re either going to do it or they’re not going to do it. That’s the discovery of weakness and the discovery of strength. If they figure it out, there’s an enjoyment and a sense of satisfaction that comes from that. It has been phenomenal to understand that perspective of things. I believe that that system of capitalism, whether it’s on an individual level or on a group level, human beings want to figure things out. They want to solve a problem. We’re hard-wired to pursue that. That’s why when you look at a centrally planned government where the government is solving problems. They’re creating jobs, they’re creating solutions for this and solutions for that. That is not the same incentive.
That’s where I believe that a lot of the horrible examples, whether it’s Venezuela or the former Soviet Union, why those societies end up in poverty, disarray and war. It’s because of the wrong incentives that the environment does not have the structure where it’s incentivizing people to discover what’s good about themselves and apply that to a meaningful solution to a specific challenge. I think it goes globally with those huge examples but it also goes down to the workplace. The individual examples as far as achieving satisfaction, happiness and growth. That’s where I’ve settled and I did have a thesis or an idea of what capitalism was to be. I went into my interviews with that opinion although trying to retain an open mind. I had conversations with Jason Rink, Yaron Brook and Larry Reed, the President of FEE, Foundation for Economic Education. Hopefully, those opened your mind to the notion of the human spirit. It’s the notion of what a human being is capable of, what they can do to create miracles. You look at lighting, you look at electricity, you look at computers and technology. It continues to evolve that is the expression of what talents and strengths are within people.
It’s only gotten better, and even though we don’t have a purely capitalistic society, it’s not a completely free market and laissez-faire which means hands off. It’s not 100%. It’s not absolute, yet just some of it. What that does to create these miracle inventions and innovations that are making all of our lives easier, came from the idea of a person. That’s what people are driven to do. I believe that the more they’re allowed to do that, the more solutions, the better solutions and the more efficiency you’re going to have. I went to Tony Robbins, his Platinum Partner Finance Event and I put some of the summary videos and talked a little bit about it on the podcast. You can go to YouTube and look at those summaries because I did a summary video for every day of that event. One of the things that go through my mind is the presentation by Peter Diamandis and specifically the XPRIZE. The XPRIZE is a prize for whoever wants to participate and they get a prize. I think it’s a $10 million for the one that he is proposing with Tony Robbins but it provides the challenge. Peter Diamandis is an insanely intelligent individual.
Capitalism: The more people are allowed to innovate, the more better solutions we have and more efficiency.
He doesn’t have the talents and he also does not have the resources to accomplish what his XPRIZE is awarding. The one that they’re working on is to figure out a way to take the stem cells of a cattle and grow beef. I think it’s wagyu or Kobe beef with those stem cells and do it for a $1 a pound. The thing is they’ve already figured out how to do it. It started at $3,000 a pound then it went to $300 a pound. They’re trying to get it to a dollar a pound. He doesn’t know how to do it even though he’s a brilliant person. He realizes that inside a group of human beings exists the knowledge to do that. He has created that award and that incentive. It goes back to what I was saying before about the workplace. If you help a person discover their strengths, acknowledge them and put them in a position where they’re able to accomplish something you want to be done. Have an incentive to do it and some accountability associated with it. That is where the ultimate satisfaction of the workplace exists. I know that there’s a lot of details behind that but generally speaking, that’s what I’ve discovered, read about and actually seen outside of my company, the success of that.
Looking at the XPRIZE, I think it’s $10 million, the XPRIZE for Tony Robbins and Peter Diamandis are putting together. It’s to essentially figure out a way to get stem cells out of cattle and grow beef for $1 a pound. There are probably other weirder XPRIZEs as well but I know that one is very important because the emerging market’s demand for beef is making our environment worse. The demand for water, the emissions that cattle produce and the fact that they’re taking up 30% of the landmass, it doesn’t seem sustainable. I won’t go down that path any longer. The idea from what I’m saying is that within a human being is the ability to achieve. Achieving with alignment to their strengths and their abilities that they’re born with and cultivate over time what is going to create solutions to all the challenges that we have as well as the challenges that we foresee in the future. As much as it seems like a centrally-planned government, they have this altruism about them where they have the best interest of people in mind.
I think there’s some truth to that. However, it doesn’t produce the environment in which people are incentivized to take who they are, what they’ve learned and to receive the remuneration, receive the actual compensation, the results by them providing a solution. Those are the different criteria that exist in order for humans to feel alive, to feel that they’re achieving things. I’ll bring up an example that, it’s interesting. In 2018, I interviewed Andrew Yang. Andrew Yang is running for President of the United States. He is probably the foremost technologist if that’s even a word, but he’s campaigning with hologram technology. He also is younger and has a pretty good sense for marketing. I believe he is making waves. He was on the Joe Rogan Podcast. He has been interviewed on a number of other forums. He’s gotten his word out there and his tune is the same as what existed on the interview that I had with him. He just hadn’t made the waves but Andrew Yang is on to something with regard to how fast technology is evolving.
Lessons From The Guests
At the same time, he’s using the same notion that essentially planned governments have used in the past, which is taking care of people in providing a solution. What that does, I believe is it discounts the millions and millions of people that have the potential seed in their mind to come up with a way better solution that he’s going to come up with. Giving people money robs them of the ability to go out and discover what is best about themselves, what their strengths are and how that applies to the well-being of others. What’s interesting is that those environments sometimes have to be very difficult. With the rock bottom scenario, sometimes people wake up and they’re like, “I’ve got to do something. I’m going to die or I’m going to live and sometimes that’s what it takes.” Let’s dive into a few other things in relation to what I’ve learned from some of the guests and then let’s make the transition. Larry Reed and G. Edward Griffin have been an inspiration to me. The things that he discovered over the years, how he’s come to believe in human nature and what he’s driven by aligns with some of the things that I’m saying and much of which I’ve learned from him.
I look at just the experience that he’s had writing The Creature from Jekyll Island. We didn’t touch much on a central bank and how that also impacts everything that we’re talking about the market, not being able to find a solution. People not being able to find that solution or any paper over it with money created out of nothing. I won’t go down that path, but I believe that if you google G. Edward Griffin, you can learn about his principles and learn about his philosophy. It’s in line with laissez-faire, free market and capitalism. I do believe that is one of the reasons why he wrote his book and also why he continues at his mid-80s age, to continue to push forward the principles that he believes in by the documentaries that he’s a part of also but also does the events that he puts on. The newsletter that he does is because he’s driven to allow others to understand what these free market, I would say libertarian sense of principles, how they apply to the individual.
David Stockman, that was also an awesome interview. He’s obviously been a contrarian for so many years and has pushed against intervention by the government when it comes to markets, when it comes to the signals that get a person to figure out a problem are manipulated. It confuses them and they’re not able to exercise their strengths, their abilities and their experience to figure out a solution. You have all sorts of intervention that misprices and then also creates false signals. That was a fascinating interview. Andy Tanner, we talked a lot about Greg Lukianoff’s book, The Coddling of the American Mind and it’s always a pleasure to talk with Andy. We mentioned it on the podcast but we spoke for more than six hours that day because these are things that we love to talk about. They’re things we believe, they’re principles that we know will make a difference if they’re understood by more people.
I know that the whole free speech thing has been in the headlines quite a bit. I look at just the ability for people not to speak their mind, not talk about their opinion and have the fear associated with doing that is a slippery slope. When you have an environment of youth, they’re in this transitionary stage of life where they’ve grown up with the philosophy of their hometown and their parents typically. They go to a school system where it has multiple people and multiple experiences. There’s this ideology in the sense that people have to think a certain way. If they don’t, then there’s fear associated with saying things differently or expressing yourself in a different way. It’s polarizing and that is a slippery slope because you don’t allow for the experience of multiple perspectives because those multiple perspectives helped to reinforce certain beliefs and principles or maybe call into question those beliefs and principles that may not be principles.
It was pretty fascinating talking to Andy about that and then of course, David Morgan. I would say they’re very in alignment with David Stockman in relation to how commodities work and paying attention to that as far as investment is concerned. David Collum, that was such an enjoyable interview. You can sense his passion for understanding markets and understanding where we’re at in cycles and talking about it, even though his specialty is chemistry at Cornell. That was a fascinating interview and I enjoyed reading through his year-end review from 2018. A lot of what he said and mentioned, I’ve thought about and it actually made me think a little bit differently. It gave me more detail about what’s going on, whether it’s the pension crisis, whether it’s central banks, whether it’s market returns. There’s so much information packed into that.
Finally, the last two interviews, Connor Boyack and Josh Lannon. I believe that he practices what he preaches. That book that he wrote, The Social Capitalist, he’s trying essentially to take the principles that I’ve been mentioning here and mentioning throughout the entire season. It solves the social problems that exist. Here in Utah, we’re battling a major epidemic with opioid addiction. It’s used by young adults and youth as well as suicide. Youth and teen suicide are incredibly high. When you start to have these types of problems, nobody wants those problems. People want solutions but when you go down the road of having governments institute this and governments institute that, it’s going to come up with the same result. Even though the intentions may be so genuine, there are people out there that have ideas in their mind strengths and their mind talents that are waiting to be expressed. There are solutions to a lot of these challenges and a lot of these issues. I think that’s what Josh and my conversation, and the mission that he’s on.
Application Of Capitalism
Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: A Financial Strategy to Reignite the American Dream
The mission of conscious capitalism or social capitalism is to identify these epidemic issues, these challenges that exist and will exist. It will essentially allow people to rise to the challenge and provide solutions as opposed to leaning on the government to do it for us. If you guys want to email me and give me your feedback at Patrick@PatrickDonohoe.com, it would be huge for me to hear what your thoughts are, where you disagree with me, where you agree or maybe some epiphanies that you had. What aspect of the conversation was most intriguing to you. The transition, when I wrote my book, Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: A Financial Strategy to Reignite the American Dream. This is why I did the season in 2018 focusing on life, liberty and property. I believe that those three variables create the dynamic for a person to truly experience the American dream.
I define the American dream differently than most define it, not owning a home or, getting a job with benefits, putting money into your 401(k) and retiring. To me, that is not the American dream. The American dream is to come to an environment where there’s freedom in order to discover what is best about you and how you can essentially bring that to the world. You bring that to others and receive the remuneration, receive the compensation for that. I believe that truly is one of the purposes of our lives. In the book, I went down that path of calling into question our school system and where it originated, which is from a Prussian framework. It was to train military and factory workers. We still follow it and that’s not necessarily the path for most. I’ve mentioned Robert Kiyosaki’s book, Why ‘A’ Students Work for ‘C’ Students and ‘B’ Students Work for the Government or something like that. It’s pretty funny.
It’s true because ‘A’ student mentality is following orders correctly but innovation and creativity, it’s not following orders. It’s actually doing quite the opposite. I think that’s why ‘C’ students below are the ones that create such amazing things. Anyway, I won’t get on that path but I don’t believe our school system functions that way. I don’t believe our workforce and workplace is set up to function that way. It’s set up to have people take orders. I don’t believe that’s a way in which innovation occurs. It’s frustrating when you have that system in place. I ventured off and had a researcher look into all of the jobs that she could find that pay more than $50,000 a year that you can do either as a contractor, a freelancer or do it from home, some W2 jobs.
I was flabbergasted as to how many jobs are out there. I took the next step and started to investigate the gig economy. The statistics, you have to take them in stride. Some have an agenda behind them. Some are accurate, some don’t have the sample size that you need but it’s pretty interesting to see. Some of the studies that are being done, where companies are essentially transitioning to a lot of their workforce being freelance, being 1099 contract workers or work from home. There are big companies out there that have their entire workforce offsite or remote. It’s fascinating. I look at that statistic, but I also realized that part of this American dream, part of a fulfilling life, a life of achievement is not to stop working which is the definition of retirement but it’s to continue to provide value.
That doesn’t mean that you worked for the rest of your life. What it does mean is that you take your strengths, the successful experience, the things that make you feel alive and do that forever. It maybe ten hours a week and maybe six months out of the year. It might be twenty hours a week or it might be longer but it’s essentially continuing to exercise those talents, those abilities that you have and will have as you continue to discover them because it’s an evolution. It is necessary for a fulfilling lifestyle. With this research that I had, a researcher dived into it and she’s actually helping me to write a white paper about it. It’s the future of work and how you can live a fulfilling lifestyle without having to retire and much sooner than retirement age. It’s very difficult to chew on this. That’s what I’m going for this season. It’s to discover the individual application of capitalism.
It can be defined by entrepreneurship or entrepreneurialism. It can be defined as discovering a side hustle. Essentially, it’s the future of work and it’s discovering ways in which you can understand the definition of your ideal lifestyle. Where do you want to live? What do you want to do? It’s figuring out how to do it, how to discover what your strengths are, how to maximize those. The success and happiness in the workplace are when somebody spends 80% or more of their time working in something that is their strength and their experience. It’s coupled with goals and initiatives as well as the right incentives. It does not always have to be monetary incentives. That right there is the equation for success in the workplace. Obviously, there’re other variables but those are the primary. That’s where we’re going to transition. In the book, I talked a lot about the human life value statement and creating that. The human life value statement is the assets or strengths, talents and abilities.
The liabilities are your weaknesses, the stuff that you don’t like doing. You have income which is the result of your assets. How much of your income is coming from those strengths and those abilities? How much income is coming from liabilities? What you want to do is increase your expenses, when it comes to your weaknesses and the stuff you don’t like to do. You can maximize the time associated with not only spending it, doing your strengths and abilities but also maximizing those, refining those, discovering more about them. That’s where we’re going to focus on. There’re some guests at that I’m thinking about. The founders of Upwork.com and Freelancer.com, there are some individuals I’ve interviewed in the past that talked about taking your company and making it remote or you working remote. There’re a couple of other guests that talked about The Boomer Revolution, John Tarnoff.
We may have him on as well but this is the angle. It’s to basically take these very philosophical principles of laissez-faire free market capitalism and applying those to the individual. That’s why I’m going to do this go round. Let me know what you think. Thank you so much for reading. I do this because I love talking about this stuff. It’s what lights me up. It’s why I’m staying super late doing it. I’ve seen people benefit, whether it’s the inspiration they receive from it, whether it’s taking the practical advice from what they’ve learned here. I’ve also experienced many people that have been able to make a transition to a life that they never dreamed of by understanding some of these principles. That’s possible for you. I’m excited to talk about some of the things that I believe will make a difference in your life. Thank you for your support. For those of you who are clients of Paradigm, thank you. Thank you for continuing to read the blog and I can’t wait to hear and I haven’t asked much of the audience in the past.
I haven’t said, “Go download this or go seek this out.” I’m excited to hear from you guys. I’m excited to hear what’s going on in your life. I’m excited to hear what you like about the podcast, what you like about some of the guests and things that you’re learning. I’m also excited to hear about what you don’t like. I don’t want to be providing things that piss you off and worsen the experience of your life. That’s not the intention by any stretch. I’m excited to hear about what’s going well, where you’re coming from, what your goals are and where you’re trying to achieve. Patrick@PatrickDonohoe.com is my personal podcast email. I’m going to respond to it. It may take me a little bit. It may take time to do it but I’m going to respond to all of them. I hope you enjoyed it. One of the best guests to round out the season, this guy is young but he understands these principles at a deeper level than I do. I’m excited for him to express some of the things that he feels about the principles of capitalism, how they have to do with our society as a whole. I’ll be with you next time.
Doing good and making money does not have to be mutually exclusive. The world economy needs entrepreneurs to take a stand, create jobs, and solve problems. One such entrepreneur is Josh Lannon, a social entrepreneur committed to building businesses that focus on the development of people and creating positive change. Josh, along with his wife, Lisa, is a Rich Dad Advisors on Social Entrepreneurism and Behavioral Change. They are the Founders of Journey Healing Centers, which was later on acquired by Elements Behavior Health in late 2013. Their current venture is called Warriors Heart, a private drug and alcohol treatment center that focuses on serving the men and women in uniform – both active and veterans – and other warriors. In this interview, Josh defines social capitalism, how he understands it, and why it’s important in our day and age where the amount of social problems continues to grow.
Listen to the podcast here:
Understanding Social Capitalism with Josh Lannon
The individual that we have on, Josh Lannon is a dear friend of mine and we’ve had some incredible conversations over the years. With what he’s doing now as a business and as a social capitalist is changing so many lives. Josh is the co-author of The Social Capitalist book which is part of the Rich Dad Advisor’s series. He is the President and Founder at Warriors Heart which is in Bandera, Texas, a healing center for first responders and veterans. Josh is one of the most committed and hardworking guys I know. He’s a social entrepreneur committed to building businesses that focus on the development of people and creating positive change. Josh, thanks for taking the time to talk about capitalism from your vantage point.
We had an interview a few years ago when your book came out. Instead of getting into the breadth of your story which goes deep, take a minute to define what social capitalism is as far as how you understand it. Why is that important especially in our day and age where the amount of social problems continues to grow?
I’ll frame up a little bit of personal story because it connects in the why. Any social entrepreneur and social capitalist is driven by a why, a mission. Many years ago, I quit drinking. I got sober, I went through a program. I quit drinking. I made a declaration to God, to the universe. I said, “Nothing’s ever going to control me like that ever again.” I’m not going to let this alcohol control me again. I’m going to jump into my recovery, my sobriety and reclaim the power back in my life. There’s a saying, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” Robert Kiyosaki came into my life many years ago. The message I got was, “You’re addicted to money.” That hit me at my core. Here I am freshly in sobriety, I make this declaration and then Robert’s teaching me and I’m learning that I’m dependent upon money. When I think about it, the average person, you take away their paycheck for two weeks, there’s a major detox that’s going to happen. There’s fear, there’s all that stuff that’s going to happen where it’s like, “How am I going to pay my bills? How am I going to take care of my family?”
It’s like you take a drug away from someone. He’d go into the relapse or you go into detox. It was like, “I’m going to learn how to master money. I’m going to study money. I want to become a student of money. I want money to serve me and not for me to serve money.” With that, since I’m not going to allow money to control me, what’s my drive if it’s not money? Money’s never been enough. You make good money then you get bigger toys and it’s this drug that’s always going and going. It is a mission. What’s your purpose in life? What’s your mission in life? What’s your why? To me, that’s what social capitalism is. Yes, money is important because it keeps the whole thing afloat and going but it’s not the main purpose. The main purpose is your passion. It’s your why. It happens to be serving those fellow alcoholics, addicts that are struggling with chemical dependency. I knew that on a personal and intimate level. My business, my passion became helping other guys get sober and we built a multimillion-dollar business out of it.
It’s amazing because what you’re saying is rarely dissected. In the end, what is money? Money is a tool of exchange, but it’s the medium for different aspects of value. If you look at what we exchange for our electricity, food, house or rent, the value isn’t in the money. The value is in what its exchanged for. I would also say the creation of money also comes from you being valuable in some aspect. What I’ve discovered over the years is when you align a higher purpose to the value you’re providing, it multiplies.
I’m a capitalist. I want to create value. I want to create products and services that improve people’s lives. I’m also a socialist that I want to take care of people when they’re down and they’re hurting to be there as, “I got your back. I got you covered.” It’s not one’s right, one’s wrong. It’s how can we blend the two together where our businesses have a higher calling than money. Our businesses add value to our lives, to our communities, to our nation and to the world. That is a higher calling than money.
What I found this season is that everybody defines capitalism differently. There are many ways to define it. Some are accurate, some are rhetoric and opinion but in the end that’s what people believe that’s their truth. I looked at the consensus. What I’ve looked at is the definition of capitalism dating back to when the actual term was created. There is accountability that there’s more produced with the resources expended. If you look at that especially when it comes to a social challenge whether its poverty or what you’ve specialized in for years which is substance addiction typically is to throw money at the problem essentially, not necessarily have care for profit or accountability. How I describe profit is that you have more output than you have input. Talk to that as far as how you’ve come to understand capitalism and its role in the accountability over expending certain resources for a given issue.
It’s interesting because there’s such a polarity now of thoughts and confusion of definition of what is socialism? What is capitalism? You see it as this underlying anger out there. The truth of the matter is I want to increase or improve the value of people’s lives. I do that using business as a source for good. It’s a power to do that. I’m not going to use capitalism to create cigarettes. I don’t believe in it. It harms the body. People get addicted to it. On the other hand, it’s like someone else says, “You have freedom of choice. You can smoke if you want. I don’t care.” I’m not going to have my energy, my focus, my resources invest into something I don’t believe in. That’s what I love about entrepreneurs and capitalism because we have freedom of choice to create something we want to that adds value to people’s lives.
Typically, the value you bring to the marketplace was Journey Healing Centers previously, now it’s Warriors Heart. These are challenges that seem to be increasing where individuals are relying on substances and essentially becoming addicted to them which ultimately negatively impact their lives. This challenge is approached with a government as the body which takes on the challenge. You’re approaching it from a different standpoint. Talk about why you’ve decided to go that route and then what you see as the difference between your approach and what would be essentially a government approach.
With Journey, we sold that business several years ago and we refocused. Warriors Heart is our main operation now. Warriors Heart is on a 543-acre ranch outside San Antonio, Texas. We serve active military veterans and first responders. What we found is that where do our military go if they need help? On the private sector, they go to a facility that has a mixed population. They’re mixed with civilian, if you will. Civilians, they’re curious on, “What was it like over there? How many people did you kill?” They have amateur questions and guys don’t want to hear that. They don’t want to go through that. There’s definitely a difference between a civilian and a military guy. It’s the same thing with our police officers who work. The VA is another option for our military which is a major institution. They’re not prepared and have been able to handle this flow of guys we have coming back and they’re overwhelmed. There’s no anything good on that side for the military.
On the police and law enforcement, it’s the same thing. What are you going to do, mix them in a population with guys that they may have arrested? They get it as like, “We’re both struggling but we’re on opposite sides of the fence.” The solution was why not a private organization like Warriors Heart step forward and say, “We’re only going to serve this warrior class population, a niche market exclusively.” What we’ve done is we’ve gone through all of our licensing accreditations and TRICARE approved so we can take government insurance. We’ve got contracts with the VA and they are paying for our guys, for our warriors to go through our program. The modality is we can move faster, leaner and use technology for the treatment for PTSD, treatment for chemical dependencies in this holistic model that is more effective than what’s happening in the big institutions.
You look at the issue and you’re hitting on some things. I often think that throwing money at problems should be the last resort. I know some of the challenges you faced in being able to get the sign-off, whether it’s the VA or insurance for what you guys do. In the end, what’s driving you to get that because you understand potentially a better way to create some true healing and lasting healing in those that experienced trauma in a unique way compared to most people is the level of accountability because they’re giving you to sign off on insurance, giving to sign off on funding from the VA. If you don’t create a high-level experience with good success, then that’s essentially going to get cut. Whereas, I would say a lot of government programs don’t operate exactly like that. Maybe talk to that. What have you had to do generally speaking to make this business work?
It goes back to the why because that’s the core that drives everything else. I’m in recovery, I got sober 2001. My wife was a police officer in Vegas. Our partner in Warriors Heart was many years in the military, retired out a tier one operator. He was in Delta. We get it on a personal level. The population we’re serving and the struggles they have. We built it from the end user’s point of view and walked through the front doors of a program. I get it how scared to death one is. I don’t want to eat crappy food and talk to crappy counselors that they’re there because they don’t want to be there but they’re just collecting a paycheck. We built a team of professionals that get it on a human level and they’re mission-driven. One of the major deciding factors in why we’re doing things better is because we’ve lived it.
You guys were featured on The Today Show. It was an inspiring testimonial for the change that can occur. It’s a change of heart for people that experience things that most of us can’t even begin to empathize with. Talk to us about the difference you’re seeing in the lives of those who have put their life on the line for the protection of the country or for a community if it’s a local first responder.
The Today Show was a great exposure on who we are and what we’re doing. We partner with incredible companies like Grunt Style and Black Rifle Coffee. We’ve been featured in a number of television shows. The word is getting out. Teddy goes on The Today Show. He’s a great human being. It got to him, war and trauma. What he used was alcohol to medicate. He’s sober now and he’s given back and he wants to talk to people. He’s like, “Brother, my battle hasn’t stopped. It’s refocused now because I want to help other guys get sober.” That’s the fight. I get it. Even now they gave a hug to a young ranger battalion guy that was in our program. He’s on active duty. He’s extremely grateful. He’s like, “Thank you for what you guys are doing and how you’ve built this program. There’s nothing like this out there anywhere.” The fuel that feeds the spirit is talking to the guys on the frontline, going through the program and seeing it in their eyes. It’s like, “It’s working. Keep moving forward.”
It’s not just your why and what you’re driven to do. Talk about how that mission and why it impacts your company.
It should impact any social entrepreneur or anyone that says, “I want to do more in this world than make a bunch of money.” It’s to find your purpose, find your passion or find your tribe that is doing what you want to do and join that team. That will be the fuel to keep you going. That’s extremely important.
These are experiences that most don’t have and are challenging. If it’s a normal 9 to 5 person that’s hired and shows up for a paycheck, they handle things differently than a culture that is driven by purpose. I know there’s a form of social capitalism which is called conscious capitalism which was popularized by John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods. Talk about how the culture approaches these difficult challenges and how that might be different than how a person shows up to a typical 9 to 5 job?
It goes back to mission, purpose and passion. You see it with the teachers at school. If they’re protected by a union that they can’t get fired on, they’re not performing and they’re miserable. They’re horrible to be around. Every business, unfortunately, has those that probably should move on but they’re stuck there because of the paycheck. They’re scared to death to leave but they’re miserable. It’s like “Why are you here?” They say, “I need to get paid.” You’re making everyone else’s life miserable too. Why should we live like that? Life’s too short for that. Let’s move on. It’s not always easy but it’s worth it.
I interviewed a guy and he wrote the book of Free to Learn. He’s a professor at Boston College. He’s a former professor at Boston College. He’s retired now but he talked about the school system in general and learning in general. He advocates in his book a program called the Sudbury school. It’s a theory or philosophy about how they run now. Teachers are essentially on a one-year contract and are voted democratically by students and parents to renew their contract. It creates a dynamic of accountability that typically does not exist in the traditional school system. You look at those who would sign up for that type of position. If it’s a tenured professor, there’s no way they would ever do that. Most of them wouldn’t. We look at the teachers that are there, they understand what that means but still decide to face the challenge anyway. Their drive is going to be different and the stigma out there has been to continue to throw money at school hoping that things get better. In the end, that goes right back to the money issue as opposed to the mission and the driven facilitation of education or any other endeavor.
Structured governance function, so the structure is fundamentally flawed. It doesn’t matter how much you add to it, add money, add fuel. The structure can only handle what it can handle. You’d have to redesign the system.
There was a successful Ray Dalio who runs Bridgewater Associates. It’s the biggest hedge fund that’s out there. I heard him speak and he was talking on this specific topic. It resonated with me because he lives in Connecticut and his wife does a lot of volunteer work in Hartford. I grew up right outside of Hartford, Connecticut. He talked about the growing danger that exists on the streets of Hartford. He was talking through what he has been pushing, which is taking successful business people, entrepreneurs and figuring out solutions to improve situations like that because it was specifically referencing kids weren’t able to get to school because of how dangerous it was to walk there or take the bus system.
The statistics showed that if a child could get to 10th grade, then they would have this X% of success once when they were an adult. How they do that came down to figuring out the resources that are being allocated and having metrics-driven accountability which ultimately is like profit, where’d you have a resource and is to produce a better result. I look at how challenges are part of human nature. We’re always going to have challenges as a society but the way in which it’s approached from a capitalistic standpoint isn’t profited which people are mostly confused with. The rage that people have with capitalism comes down to businessmen being greedy and wanting more money and profit.
As I’ve looked at it and discovered what the underlying theory has been since the beginning, it’s essential to take certain resources and to improve whatever situation which is enhancing efficiency or output. It’s to take stewardship, be a good steward over the resources available and make a difference with those at a higher level. When I first started to learn this, I thought about you and Lisa. What you guys have been advocating for so long which is the idea that there are lots of social issues out there. Being approached from a purely socialistic standpoint is going to have a waste of resources with little accountability and not much output. As opposed to a capitalistic perspective where you’re able to make those resources more efficient and increase output and have higher levels of accountability.
You need to be an exchange. Create a system that you’re an exchange because if it’s one side, I’d say socialism, you give and the other person’s taking. It creates a sense of entitlement. That’s not what it’s about at all. It’s not about giving away everything for free. It’s being an exchange. That’s what keeps a healthy country, community going. We’re an exchange, it’s like my kids, they got to do chores. Am I paying them for it? No, that’s part of living in our house and part of them getting food, fuel, electricity and all that stuff. That’s part of being a member of our family here. I’m not going to pay you to take out the trash.
I have a laissez-faire way with my kids where we don’t have tasks they’re responsible for. I try to use principles. I talk about our home. Our home is where we come home and we rest, we have great memories and it’s where we feel safe and where we can re-energize. The way in which we treat it has to reflect what we believe its purpose of being. It’s not like they understand what that principle is but I try to govern through that principle and value of respecting your home, acknowledging its role in your life and treating it with respect as opposed to the task of picking this up and picking that up. I look at following orders and what happens when people are operating through being told what to do as opposed to being the operation having to do with following a set of principles and values. As we conclude our interview, how have you found your mission, your principles, your values, and your code, which I know is often used in the Rich Dad world? How is your code allowed that heightened level of accountability for you guys, but also maybe your family and your team?
I’ll frame that around the family. It’s interesting in business we write business plans. We have regular meetings from daily huddles to weekly meetings, quarterly meetings or annual meetings. We have values, we have a mission, we have vision, purpose and all that stuff we understand and that’s how we were taught and trained to build a business. Why not take those principles into family life? What’s the mission statement for our family? What are our family values that should guide our decisions? Do we have family meetings every week? Do we have annual retreats that we get together and we spend time with our family? What’s the vision? What are our goals? What are the objectives? How are you doing with your goals? What bottlenecks are getting in the way? How’d you do in a track meet this week? How was the football practice? What are your goals?
We know how to do this. Why not incorporate it into the family? Why not incorporate it into a social enterprise that we are passionate about and we want to improve the quality of or solve this social problem. We have the fundamentals. It’s principally driven. They can be applied in all aspects. I love what you said about with your family and using values and principles because it’s true. It rings to me and that’s how we run our family. Is it perfect? No. We do our best but it helps guide the decisions and creates a rhythm within our family because if you look at any culture that survived a long period of time. There are rituals to it. Rituals are what helps keep the bonds together. That’s what we do. We create rituals in our family and in our businesses.
People in general, in whatever unit, whatever capacity, we’re volatile, we’re emotional, we react to certain things. We perceive certain things in a certain way. Principles and mission are like the compass. It’s your true north. Principals don’t change values. It can’t be something and something else. This is a value and it can’t necessarily be argued. It sets this compass as to how you behave and if you’re not getting certain results, it could be because of the environment. It could be because of other people but typically you go to, “Am I aligned with principles? Am I aligned with my values?” If not, then that’s the starting place as opposed to blaming other circumstances.
I look at kids and that’s the thing. With business, I would also say with family, understanding this helps to solidify a paradigm and perspective of those that are within our stewardship to look at the world. It’s that pay it forward thing or the compound effect where you make a difference. Somebody understands what mission-driven means or they understand what the principle of creating value is. We versus me, that right there is not for a singular purpose, but the application is most endeavors that we partake in as humans.
That’s part of the problem. In Robert’s book, FAKE, he talks about that. We’re taught by fake teachers. In other words, we’re taught by people that are not doing it themselves. As a financial planner, most of them are broke. They’re just salespeople or a personal trainer that’s overweight or a marriage counselor that’s been divorced three times. It’s like, “Why not hone integrity with what you teach? I’m not saying it’s right or wrong, I’m saying if you’re going to teach people, then be in integrity with those values all the way through. How I am at work is how I am at home. I don’t shift. It’s me. I want to be in integrity. I have to act one way in this environment. When I’m around my guy friends, I act another way. It’s like, “No. I love my wife, so I’m going to be consistent with that value no matter where I’m at or whatever it is.”
It’s humanity. It’s life. We have different groups and experiences but the principles apply to every aspect of it. It’s one of those things which has helped me in the different roles and hats that I wear where if you’re out of integrity in one area, it’s going to affect all areas. That’s where you’ll be clear about what your principles are and what your purpose is. It becomes that true north and it allows you to realign because we all get off-course and we’re all going to get off-course, but realigning there has to be some sort of standardization there to come back to equilibrium. Josh, this has been awesome. What are other ways in which people can follow you or learn more about you and about social capitalism?
The main thing is WarriorsHeart.com and then we’re also on Facebook. That’s most of my activity and focus. The last thing I would like to say though with that and social entrepreneurism purpose and mission is to look back in your past. For all of us who go, “What should I be doing? What’s my mission?” Look back in the past and a lot of times the answers are found in the past. All that crap I went through as a kid and drinking, I didn’t want to tell people that I’m an alcoholic and in recovery and all that stuff, that’s the past and say maybe I went through that for a reason. It made me stronger and it gave me the right to teach it moving forward. That could be where you find your answers.
I love the quote, “Life happens for you, not to you.” You look at the experience as they’re unique to you in the lessons that you’ve learned and what you’ve become because of it. That has shaped you into who you are, embracing that and appreciating that is empowering as opposed to being ashamed or embarrassed by it.
Our past is a gift and it can help guide our future if we take it, study it and look for the purpose behind it.
Josh, thanks so much for being on. I hope our readers have gotten a lot out of the interview. WarriorsHeart.com is a way to follow what Josh and his wife, Lisa and their team are up to and the difference they’re making in our warriors now. Follow them on social media. Josh, any final words?
Thank you. Patrick, we’ve known each other for years. I love you like a brother and I’ve been honored to be part of this journey with you. Your family is incredible and I appreciate that you’re in integrity with what you teach.
Josh, I echo everything you said right back to you and times a few multiples. We’ll have you on soon again.
The world economy is crying out for entrepreneurs to take a stand, create jobs, and solve problems. Doing good and making money does not have to be mutually exclusive. With an inspiring story, Josh and Lisa Lannon, both of whom are Rich Dad Advisors on Social Entrepreneurism and Behavioral Change, turned a problem into a solution, built a passion driven organization, and have envisioned the coming megatrend of social entrepreneurialism. A global trend of individuals demanding more from their life’s work, the Lannon’s advise on building organizations and investing with purpose, focusing on a triple bottom-line: People, Planet and Profit.
They are the Founders of Journey Healing Centers, an accredited drug and alcohol treatment center with 6 locations in multiple states and successfully treating thousands. In late 2013, JHC was acquired by Elements Behavior Health, a leading nationwide provider. The Lannon’s current venture is called Warrior’s Heart. A private drug and alcohol treatment center that focuses on serving the men and women who are Veterans, Military, Law Enforcement, First Responders and other Warriors. Both, Josh and Lisa Lannon, are known for their personal story how they overcame life’s obstacles, applied the Rich Dad Principles and moved onto the fast track.
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Lawmakers oftentimes don’t understand the principles of capitalism. Connor Boyack, president of Libertas Institute – a Utah-based organization whose mission is to clear the path of opportunity for each Utahn by removing obstacles that limit freedom – talks about capitalism, protecting free market principles, and fostering an environment in which people can innovate. He explains why lawmakers should be comfortable with innovation and shares the factors that create the desire for regulation in our society. Connor also expounds on the importance of playing defense and offense against the forces that are trying to undermine what we’ve built and protected.
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Capitalism, Free Markets And Innovation with Connor Boyack
I’m here with Connor Boyack. We are going to get an interesting perspective on the theme that we’ve been discussing all season, which is capitalism. For those of you who are new, Connor is the President of the Libertas Institute, which is a Utah-based organization whose mission is to clear the path of opportunity for each Utahn by removing obstacles that limit freedom. They do a lot of legal research, public advocacy and advertising. They also do lawsuits against government events, publications and more. Connor is also the author of a popular series called The Tuttle Twins Series, which are children’s books that teach the principles of liberty in a variety of different contexts. You had surpassed the half-a-million mark in books?
We’re approaching half-a-million and it’s amazing.
You’re the publisher. You’re the writer. I know you have an illustrator as well.
It’s been a labor of love and it’s awesome.
I hear about it all the time in speaking to people that know you and know those books.
You sat next to Ron Paul once. That was your in to get them to liven up in the conversation.
This was late at night and we were at dinner. He was pretty tired and he beamed when I talked about you and what you were doing. You struck a chord a number of different ways. You got off a legislative session, which is one of your busiest times in Utah. It’s going to be interesting this interview around capitalism because the perspective that you have creates a unique way to look at some of the principles we’ve been discussing. Number one, you’re in front of lawmakers which oftentimes don’t understand the principles of capitalism and vote to protect people, but at the same time violate individual freedoms. You also write at a children’s level about principles that most adults don’t understand. It’s unique because the way you would speak about it is different than how others speak about it. I want to express my appreciation for what you do. You face lots of adversity standing for principles of freedom. I know it’s not easy sometimes, but you’ve taken a huge responsibility and you’re making a difference.
I think about it this way for your topic, we’ve got capitalism and we can write books about it and we can read books about it. There’s capitalism in theory and there’s capitalism in the trenches. It’s one thing to read Sun Tzu’s The Art of War and be like, “I would totally do that strategy and I would do this.” When you actually get in the war you’re like, “How does this work?” Capitalism is a lot that way at a high level. They are very important principles that I subscribe to. By no means am I saying the theory is bad, it’s spot on. The problem is the real world is messy and you have to interact with people who have political power or economic power and don’t necessarily subscribe to the same principles. How do you do that in a way that preserves capitalism, free markets and liberty and all that stuff? That’s where the rubber meets the road and it’s tough to see how it plays out.
I liked the way you approach things is when certain things inhibit individual rights, that tends to be where you go on the attack, on the offensive.
That’s important because often we’re on the defense. I’m always trying to figure out like, “What are the ways we can strategically pivot?” An example is when Uber and Lyft came to town. People have heard the story play out all over the country. Taxi’s fighting and so forth. We found a single mom who was driving with Lyft in Salt Lake City. She was cited with $6,500 ticket for picking someone up at the airport. It’s insane. You’re going to speed 100 miles an hour over the limit and not get a ticket that much. Here she was doing this consensual whatever thing. She can play defense or Uber and Lyft, on behalf of their clients can play defense and try and fight the ticket, get it stopped. We can use that as leverage to go on the offense and shame the airport, use the court of public opinion and use lawsuits. With us, it’s always, “What are those stories that we can find where the free market is being undermined? Where people are trying to do business and the government is standing in the way. How can we proactively try and fight it?” The benefit with a lot of these cases that we might dig into is there are a lot of sympathies for Uber, Lyft, Airbnb or for food trucks. We did this event called the Rally for Food Truck Freedom. We had about 2,000 people come up in the rain and a dozen food trucks.
Capitalism: Fear and laziness are what creates the desire for regulation.
The whole thing happening was in our state, food trucks were being heavily regulated. Many were going out of business because here in Utah, we have this valley where all the cities are clustered together and 80% of our state’s population is within that valley. There are all these cities pegged together rather than being separate. The food trucks catering to the market are going everywhere in between. They’ve got lunch here, dinner here and the next day they’ll be in another city. What was happening before is that the government was requiring inspection in every city. Fees in every city governments. You had to do these redundant regulations, inspections and costs.
The costs alone, if you’re selling food, you’re on a razor-thin profit margin. If you have to pay all this money to the government for permission to go operate, it was ridiculous. These guys were going out of business. We do this big food truck event. We had all the media coming. We had all these TV crews come out and these reporters were eating food on cameras and saying how much they love food trucks and leveraging that public opinion to shame these cities. When we went to the legislature to fix the law, there was no question. That law passed super easy because we had got on the offense in a way that built public support and pressure to get the law changed.
Let’s talk about why they wanted to impose those regulations, having to do inspections, get licenses or whatever. What’s the driving force behind that?
It’s fear and laziness. Let me break those down. I’ve answered the question like this a time or two because we deal with this problem all the time. With fear it’s, “We don’t know. Are they going to sell unhealthy food? We’ve got to inspect it. We’ll get it regulated.” That’s the fear-based approach to regulation in the mind of the elected officials and the bureaucrats justify as all these regulatory issues. To some extent, we can agree. We want certification and we want an inspection. Maybe the market can do that rather than the government, but that’s a separate question. On the surface level, we all want healthy food only to be sold. We’re fine there at that superficial level.
Fear is what creates the desire for the regulation, and laziness is the other one. What I mean by that is it’s not within the past few years when food trucks exploded, all these cities said, “We need to regulate these things. We need to make this redundant patchwork.” No, that didn’t happen. This was decades-old laws on the books that weren’t dynamic enough to apply to this new business model. That’s what we see time and again with Tesla trying to do business and Airbnb. You’ve got these regulations and you have inertia in the system that does not respond. It’s not agile enough. You’ve got these new innovative business models that are being crammed down these regulatory frameworks and mazes that were built for a totally different system.
Laziness plays a big part when we go in and shine a big spotlight at this arcane maze and say, “Why are we making these entrepreneurs go through there?” It’s a bit easier for elected officials to be like, “That looks awful. I wouldn’t want to do that.” There’s a lot of inertia and unless you have people stepping forward and making the case and raising an opportunity to say, “Let’s fix that.” It doesn’t get fixed because these food truck owners didn’t know how to change the law. They didn’t know what to do. When we came on the scene and said, “We’re going to help shine the spotlight,” they were immensely grateful. I eat free at every food truck I go to because I say, “We’re the group that did that.” They’re like, “Let me serve you.” They’re happy. The layperson doesn’t know how to do this stuff, so you get this inertia and silos where this business is regulated this way. This entrepreneur slogs through the system because they don’t know how to change it and very few politicians are enterprising enough to find those problems and then come up with a solution.
What would you say the general consensus is of lawmakers with these issues? It’s interesting you have new businesses, entrepreneurs that are disrupting and finding better ways to do things, which oftentimes may not be perfectly in line with the existing laws. You also have a big business or established businesses that they believe they’re operating in a free market. That’s how they were created, but maybe they haven’t innovated and they’re starting to get disrupted and then use political influence to block certain businesses from competing with them. Where do you see the general consensus of lawmakers when it comes down to those two opposing forces?
This is such a relevant, compelling question because it happens over and over again. We have a problem that is the average lawmaker is ignorant. I don’t mean that in a pejorative way, especially in a citizen legislature that meets part-time. They’ve got jobs. They’ve got families. They’ve got hobbies. Now within a 45-day session, a 60-day session, they’re bombarded with information. You’re talking to elected officials in bullet points. The most effective way to get someone to pay attention, change your mind or go the way you want is a one-pager little summary with bullet points. That’s the level to which the average lawmaker can go on any issue.
Then the problem to your question becomes when they get confused. I’ll give you a very precise example that we’ve dealt with this session. There’s a newer company called Turo. You rent cars. It’s car sharing between you and the person. You want to do Tesla. You want to get a Hummer. You want to get a Lamborghini for a day. People in your area who have that car can share it with you. Who doesn’t like that? The rental car companies have a ton of influence and a ton of money. They hire lobbyists and this happened in Utah. We had a bill that was trying to deregulate and protect the ability of Turo and companies like them to innovate because they’re getting shut down. Like Uber and Lyft where you have Turo drivers being criminally charged and prosecuted for picking people up at the airport.
Permissionless Innovation: The Continuing Case for Comprehensive Technological Freedom
What happens then is the rental car companies get their lobbyists to go up to the capitol where these superficial, ignorant voters are that can only understand things in bullet points by and large because there’s so much information to absorb about every bill. You get them going to a committee or going to talk to a legislator and say, “We’re the free market approach and all we want is fairness. We want a fair playing field.” They’re not paying all these taxes that we are and they’re not doing all these other things that we are. It’s unfair. That’s persuasive to a lawmaker. I believe in a fair playing field. It’s because the lobbyists for the big companies know well how to spin things in a way that sounds good to an ignorant lawmaker who can’t dedicate a lot of time. When you have the ability to go in there and counter and say, “They’re claiming they want a fair playing field,” what they didn’t tell you are all the cars that they buy for their fleet, they don’t pay sales tax on. They get a sales tax exemption saving a profound amount of money.
We’re totally fine to talk fair playing field if they’re willing to give up that exemption or give it to our group. That’s the problem is there are not a lot of great opportunities for lawmakers to dig in and say, “What do you say to that? Let’s try and get into.” It’s talking points. It’s superficial one-pagers and bullet points. The average lawmaker can’t simply by virtue of how the process works dedicate the amount of time to fully understand the issues. That’s when you get these big companies who are protected by the status quo being able to divert lawmakers into saying, “We want a fair playing field so we’re not going to pass this bill that helps Turo.” Turo and freedom fighters like us on the sidelines are like, “That’s not how it works.” By then the bill’s dead and they have a year head start to keep doing whatever they’re doing.
What ended up happening with Turo, with that bill?
What the bill did that we said by and large is, “If you’re a government and you want to regulate a company like Turo or any other peer-to-peer company, you have to treat them differently than the type of business they’re disrupting.” For example, you have to treat the company Turo differently than you treat Enterprise, Hertz, or rental car companies that own vehicles, own parking lots and buildings because peer-to-peer apps like Turo are a matchmaking service. It matched you with the model X guy. That’s all they are. They don’t have inventory. The same thing, Airbnb is not a hotel. Uber’s not a taxi service. We have this model framework saying, “Treat them differently. We’re not telling you how.” What we’re saying is you can’t go to Turo or whatever new peer-to-peer app comes online and say, “You have to abide by these old regulations.” We’re trying to say in law, create a separate path because they’re different. Everyone freaks out, loses their mind, they narrowed the bill, amended it down to nothing and then it ended up not passing. In a free market, a pro-business state no less.
As societies, as the world continues to innovate, Turo is like you rent your car out to somebody else. It’s not this revolutionary life-changing idea. When those are presented, how have you been able to think through that as far as how you would approach some life-changing treatment? I know stem cells and that type of therapy is getting big, but yet it freaks a lot of people out. It could be revolutionary for health purposes. How do you reconcile your ability to have conversations with legislators who can’t necessarily understand the principles of a simple service like Turo?
It’s tough and to the latter point you bring out with stem cells, I’ve got a friend who’s flying down to Mexico because that’s where you’ve got to go to get this innovative therapy. We have a choice in America as a once in theory or to some larger degree free market capitalist society that embraced innovation that has veered far more towards socialist, redistribution and pro-regulation. We have to make a decision. There’s a fantastic book called Permissionless Innovation. This is by Adam Thierer at the Mercatus Institute. It’s all about documenting how our society has been improved, especially through internet technologies where you had a bit of this Wild Wild West. The lack of regulation stimulated this innovation where people could experiment, fail and succeed that have benefited all our lives collectively.
There’s been some pain. There’s been some loss. No one can argue that we haven’t benefited as a society by the profound innovation that’s been able to happen. His argument is that rather than a presumption of regulation, which is what our society has adopted collectively speaking, we should have a presumption of innovation. We should have permissionless innovation where you don’t as an entrepreneur have first to go and fill out form 1093X and then you have to go over here and get a permission slip. Dot your I’s and cross your T’s. Just go innovate. As long as you’re not hurting anyone and everything’s fine, you pass some simple little check and then go innovate.
The problem to your question is lawmakers need to become comfortable with that. What we’re trying to figure out in our state, but then more broadly the message to this is how do you get lawmakers to embrace permissionless innovation? How do you get them to abandon the two issues, fear and laziness? How do you get them to care? How do you get them to have faith rather than fear? I think part of that is storytelling by say, “Show me that phone in your pocket.” That’s a result of permissionless innovation.
Imagine if the government had said that before coming up with a new cell phone, you must do all these things. Would Apple have done that? Would their competitors have done that? Would that have sparked all the race of innovation that has accelerated new technologies and new things that we take for granted? Using stories and examples to get lawmakers comfortable with a presumption of innovation is where we need to get to. We’re internal with our organization trying to figure out how do you give them that comfort so when enterprise, when the hotels or when the protectionist incumbents come to them and say, “We need protection. We need regulation,” you can have a lawmaker say, “No, I support capitalism. I support free markets. I understand you may not like it, but we’re going to go this path instead.”
When I look at where we’re at as a society, especially with the fiscal situation we’re in as a country, as well as how our monetary system operates. The issues with government, mostly federal government deficits and how much debt is on the books. The debt they’re in with other countries as well as us, the Federal Reserve. You also look at the unfunded obligations, Social Security and Medicare. There are a lot of issues out there. I look at the future and without innovation, if things slowly sputtered along, there are going to be a lot of heartaches. Technology is where innovation occurrence because the idea of technology is to be more efficient.
In a free market, if you don’t have a technology that makes a person’s life better or reduces the amount of time or reduces the amount of money, it’s going to fail quickly. When you start to stifle innovation, that’s when the future is going to get rocky. I never heard of that book before, but it makes sense because if you’re having a hard time with Turo, what about a life-changing medical procedure? What about the medical marijuana that you’ve been dealing with? It’s one of those things where life is happening quickly, and if the government starts to put their foot on the brakes, it can be bad for everyone.
One of the challenges is that because economics and politics are inherently intertwined, you got all these regulations and laws that are encumbering the market. We’ve never had a truly free market. We can talk about wanting one and how they’re great, but we’ve always had this regulated market and politicians respond to pressure. Whether that’s angry mob pressure or people demanding things and saying, “We want this,” and looking at the polls. Part of our challenge, to be frank, is a lot of people are a climatized to the status quo. It’s hard to quantify. The unfunded liabilities and the college debt bubble, all these things are on the horizon. The numbers are so big we can’t even comprehend them anymore. The layperson, there’s no demand for change. Consequently, there’s no pressure being applied to lawmakers. If anything, it’s the opposite. I don’t want to think about that. I don’t want to touch it. I want my easy credit. I want the ability to get a loan to finance my house, put the burden on someone else, and that’s where the demand is.
Capitalism: Global warming is itself a bit of political bread. It’s the hip thing to be excited about and it’s what everyone wants to chatter about.
You have that perverse incentive for lawmakers to ease the burden on the people who are directly in their ear and the people who can’t advocate and the rising generation who would keep kicking the can down to. That’s part of the problem is when we had the food truck owners rallied together, when we had the Uber and Lyft drivers rallied together, we can go work together to create the right pressure to get things changed. Create a freer market to get these bad regulations out the way. When it comes to the big financial problems you’ve listed, where’s the mob? Where’re the pitchforks? Where’s the pressure? If anything, there’s almost the opposite incentive and that’s to our collected detriment because it’s creating a big problem.
I was in Italy and we were in a city where there were this massive protest and kids apparently left school and they were protesting global warming. In Italy, I don’t know if you know much about what’s going on there, they’re horribly in debt and they’re in a recession. A lot of it has to do with their government and the lack of accountability that’s existed there, but yet they’re protesting global warming. That’s something I think you’re right. Worldwide, we’ve been polarized with status quo and how things should be and it’s been exploited.
Part of it is the bread and circuses mentality of Rome. There are political bread and circuses. Global warming is itself a bit of political bread. It’s the hip thing to be excited about and it’s what everyone wants to chatter about. Why don’t they funnel that same political energy to go tackle the real problems that are actually threatening people? It’s almost a convenient distraction for politicians to look cool and say, “I care about saving the world.” Save your country. Save your budget. It’s like the Jordan Peterson, “Clean your bedroom first and then go worry about other stuff.”
Accountability is a huge piece of capitalism and it also seems it’s a huge piece based on your success. With capitalism, the accountability is if you produce a bad product, people are not going to buy it. Therefore, you have the incentive to produce something of value. When it comes to lawmakers, what you’ve done is you’ve created a similar environment so that they operate in a different environment of accountability. Talk about what you’ve done with creating lawmaker index.
In our state, other groups do this too, but we’ve created it to the point where it’s effective. The very night that the legislative session ends, we already have done and finalized our index scoring of how they did. There’s immediacy. We’re not waiting a few weeks when everyone’s back in their lives. We get it out quickly. Ranking all the best and the worst votes and the benefit in doing this is we’re first to market. Everyone’s looking at our index. It’s the thing coming out the gate to see how everyone did. We get a lot of attention and because we get a lot of attention on the index, that creates an incentive for lawmakers to want to do well so that they perform good.
All throughout the session, we’ll have different lawmakers coming up to us and say, “How am I doing?” We get little bonus points when they sponsor our bills because they’re good free-market bills. We say, “If you run one of these bills, you’ll get some extra points. If you run a bad bill, you’ll get negative points.” We’ll get lawmakers like, “I only did one bill of yours. Do you have a couple more that we could do?” I have a puppy and I can use the treat to do good behavior. You don’t want them to pee on the couch. We have all these politicians doing bad things, you’ve got to wave the little incentive in front of them. By no means is it like the answer. A lot of them don’t care. Some of them live in districts where they’re liberal or progressive and they’re not all fans of the free market. They want these big socialist policies.
Those politicians in true representative form don’t care about our index because they feel they’re representing their constituency well. It’s not the answer across the board, but accountability is essential. When you go on Amazon to buy this laptop, you’re going to see the ratings. You see what everyone thinks about it, what experience they’ve had with it. You can have confidence in your decision to acquire that commodity. Why shouldn’t the same thing happen with elected officials? Why can’t we see their voting record conveniently? How they’ve done on the best and worst? How many times did they raise taxes? How many bills have they sponsored that protect the free market? That type of information leads to an informed consumer, in the case of a commodity or an informed voter. I’m sure you get this too.
You get to Election Day. I get all these texts coming in from people saying, “I haven’t looked at anything. Who should I vote for? I didn’t have time to study, tell me what to vote for. I think like you.” I’m like, “Don’t vote.” The concern is we need to have informed voting, informed consumers in the same way. I took an Uber drive and you can see the star rating from all the other drivers, and I have one too. It’s a self-policing system, a great example where the market is taken care of itself to weed out any bad actors. Why can’t we have that in politics? We need more of it.
Fundamentally, isn’t government about protecting free market principles and protecting individual rights. They’re not there to solve problems. If you look at the innovation that I think is the key to the future, inhibiting that is going to be catastrophic. I also look at it essentially technology replacing the government in a sense. We have the tools of accountability that government creates in the first place, whether it’s permits for restaurants or even drivers’ licenses. There are a number of different things that are governed to protect people, but at the same time, there are a lot of free-market tools that would most likely do a better job.
The issue is there’s always going to be those forces trying to dissuade the adoption of new technologies that are going to disrupt. I’ll give you an example. I was in the House of Representatives this session and I leaned over to my policy director. I made a comment to the effect that there’s this woman, a clerk whose job it is to read the name of every bill when it’s time to vote. That’s her job. You can automate that. Everything’s digital and yet this woman is still required to read. Run that through a Google voice transcription thing. It’s super easy, super effective and it saves $60,000 or whatever it costs to pay her. Yet everyone in charge of the budget and on the staff loves that woman of, “Why would we want to let her go? She’s great.” You have those perverse incentives always trying to inhibit the ability to progress.
Capitalism: Figure out how to make a difference with your unique skill sets.
That’s the nature of governments, the Ronald Reagan, the closest thing to eternity is a government program or a government job. This has been great. I didn’t have all the time in the world, but we appreciate it because hearing from you is a different perspective on reality. I look at it completely different. I don’t see things as you see them because of your experience, especially with lawmaking in general in that process, but also understanding free market principles at the level that you do. Capitalism is interesting because we’ve never had pure free market capitalism in anything.
There’s always been in our modern society some element of government and policing to an extent and not protecting human rights. At the same time, you look at the capitalism principles, creating an environment in which people can innovate and not have this oversight or scrutiny and what they’re trying to do. It’s beautiful to see all the things that have happened in our lives, whether it’s the technology in our cars, our phones or in our computers. The more freedom we advocate, the better the innovation is going to be and the better our lives are going to be. To end with this, talk about what you see is the future of just lawmaking, markets, and society. How do you feel things are going in general?
Anyone who cares about capitalism has to care about politics. You have to care about human psychology. They’re inherently connected. You can’t succeed in life financially if you don’t understand how the system works. It’s like getting out the chessboard and all the pieces are laid out and you think it’s a checkers game. You have to understand the rules of the game. As sad as it is, politics inherently as connected to the system of capitalism that we have or the partial capitalism or whatever you want to call it. That’s the downside and the opportunity I see that a lot of people disconnect the two. They don’t realize if we’re going to be successful and have a true market economy or whatever degree that we can, we have to get involved politically.
At a minimum, we have to be aware politically to know where the currents are going and what to do. Either get involved, support someone else who is effective in your state or the national level. As great as it is to go try and make money and grow our businesses and that’s all important, we also have to be playing defense and offense against the forces that are trying to undermine what we’ve protected and what we’ve built. You look at the rise of AOC and it’s still burning to these days. The popularity of the rise of democratic socialism from people who don’t even understand the implications of what that term even means.
There’s a good reason to be a little fearful of the future from a capitalist perspective and what that means. We can’t care, ignore it and think it will go away. We have to confront the fact that the market and the government are joined at the hip. We need to know what to do about it. That’s the pitch I would make to your audience is to figure out in their path of life what their unique skill sets and interests, how to get involved and how to make a difference because we need all the manpower we can get. Whatever state your dear audience is in, I would invite you to go to SPN.org. That stands for the State Policy Network, and it’s like an umbrella association for all the different free-market think tanks across the country. Every state has at least one, some have more than one. Whatever state you’re in, if you want to see who’s in your back yard working in the trenches, and I promise you they’re having more success than any of the national groups that are doing. It’s hard to get national reform, but there’s so much opportunity at a local level where the rubber meets the road and these are the guys in the trenches working on free-market stuff in your community. SPN.org is where you can find them.
That’s the thing even doing interviews like this. You have been influential outside of Utah, The Tuttle Twins, but I know you’ve written a bunch of op-eds for nationwide newspapers. Plus, you’ve gotten a lot of press with some of the things in Utah. The digital privacy is one I remember where Utah was one of the first states to pass them. It’s one of those things where with Connor, whether it’s me following them on social media or it’s sharing some of his thoughts because I oftentimes talk with people and mentioned The Tuttle Twins books and give them away. You can have a similar impact, whether it’s through following these organizations, supporting them financially, but also sharing thoughts and sharing ideas. I’d also say Tuttle Twins is an incredible way to learn about free market principles from a number of different angles because teaching your children about it through those children’s books is incredible.
Breaking it down to that fundamental level solidifies that theory and that principle in your mind. I know that you’re making a huge difference here, but as our society continues to progress or grow at a quick rate. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, you have some radical ideas that are manifesting and because of good marketing, because of good influential tactics are gaining steam. Understanding what those things mean as it relates to our future is important. I understand that I don’t have time during the day to write the way you do or to do videos or to lobby legislative sessions, but there are organizations out there that are passionate.
It’s a division of labor. We can’t all do the same thing so we can support one another on our different paths.
What are the best ways to follow your organizations?
Our website is LibertasUtah.org. The Tuttle Twins books are a combo deal with all the discounts and workbooks we throw in is at TuttleTwins.com. If any of your audience wants to follow me or find out about me, google Connor Boyack and I’m easily discoverable.
Connor, thanks. I appreciate it.
Thanks for having me.
Thanks, everyone for reading. We’ll see you next time.
Connor Boyack is president of Libertas Institute, a public policy think tank in Utah. He is also president of The Association for Teaching Kids Economics, a national organization helping teachers educate their students about the free market.
Connor is the author of several books on politics and religion, along with hundreds of columns and articles championing individual liberty. His work has been featured on international, national, and local TV, radio, and other forms of media. A California native, Connor currently resides in Utah with his wife and two children.
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Patrick is the President and CEO and started Paradigm Life in 2007 after learning from his mentor Kim Butler about financial strategies outside of Wall Street.
With a background in economics and marketing, Patrick immediately realized the opportunity to teach investors, business owners, professionals and families on a large scale using modern digital media and communication technology. Since 2007 Paradigm Life has worked with thousands of individuals in all 50 states.