Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Creating Wealth

I have been reading a number of interesting articles over at Paul Graham's website about wealth creation. For me, the most new point that I picked up is that wealth is created. Many, along with me consider the point of view wanting to make money. But rather then consider making money, the point of view is of creating wealth. Since wealth is a more general view, and money is just a medium of exchange.

When you consider it from the point of view of creating wealth, then the idea of money being limited and only having so much to go around, goes out the window. To create a wealthier society, the society needs to be creating more wealth then it is consuming.

One of the main components of this is being able to have enough intrinsic reward to what you are doing that you are being satisfied by the process of wealth creation. Not only that, but the person who is being driven by a love of what they are doing will far outperform another person who is just doing it as a job, even if they are of comparable skills and ability.

Of course, the ability of someone to be rewarded based on their performance varies from profession to profession. Because for one to be rewarded based on performance, the performance needs to be measurable. Trying to reward excellent teachers is hard. How does one identify excellent teachers? It would have to be related to the students and having a positive impact on their lives. Even if one is created, how do you prevent teachers from gaming the system.

This pattern can be repeated from job to job. I think that any solution would require at least two parts. A way to measure and link performance and reward, and a policing type mechanism to reduce or discourage gaming of the system.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The way things are

The world does not need to be that way that it is. Much of how it is, we just take for granted and assume that is the way it should be. We have this basic template of going to school when we are young, graduating from high school, then moving onto college, getting a job, getting married and then having kids.

Yet at every step along the way, we lose people. Not everyone finished high school, not everyone finishes college, not everyone gets a steady job and not everyone gets married and has children. At every step of the one, on needs to wonder is this actually the best way to be doing this in general and is this the best thing for me.

On of the strongest clocks in our society is the school schedule. We all feel the ebb and flow of the school season, with or with out any direct connection to the schools. During the summer, the commutes are easier with out all of the school buses, and as the school season starts the traffic increases. Parents and children alike are transitioning from the lazy days of summer back to the hectic days of school.

The parents are governed by their daily work schedule and the children theirs. This is not unreasonable given the basic idea of central control. The only way to organize the movement and scheduling of people, parents and teachers is to have a strongly regulated schedule.

I wonder how much of it has to be this way. We have built up this concept of the hugely central schools with a massive number of children that need to be governed and monitored. If we were to some how decentralize this, could we alleviate some of the problems of having so many kids together.

Why do we as adults need to be on such a regulated schedule. I know that I find that my productivity and motivation can vary from day to day and week to week. Right now it is evening and I am feeling motivated to write and do this, yet during the afternoon I was mostly not wanting to much of everything.

So much of the way we currently live our lives runs against the way we are currently built to work. I would not go so far as to say unnatural, because that implies that there is a certain way we have to be. But rather that the environment that we are currently living in is different from the environment we as humans developed in, that we have created a number of inefficiency's where we are having to constantly fight ourselves and who we are, with little benefit and great costs.