It takes two to tango: Creditors are part of the problem

Banks lend money for real estate more easily than other purchased on the basis that the value of the asset securing the loan is greater than the money lent. With a downturn in property values, individuals can end up holding negative equity in their property.

This is a problem. A big problem.

Our current system punishes individual lenders, holding them accountable for the whole amount.

But what if the banks were held accountable?

What if a home owner could settle the debt by simply handing the title back to the mortgagee? Would that more fairly distribute the risk according to the relative capacity of the parties to foresee such risks? Doubtless it would lead to lower property prices – though who would that disadvantage other than opportunistic property developers riding on the back of a pricing bubble?

Here in Shanghai, people talk about becoming a slave to their apartment, reflecting the overinflated property prices here compared with income… perhaps it is time to liberate our slaves.

Self-actualisation 2008

I’ve had a little post-it note sitting beside my desk for a few months now, so it’s about time I actually wrote something about this! Self-actualisation comes down to three words things:

  1. Independence
  2. Non-attachment
  3. Power-ambivalence

Independence means that you think for yourself. It requires an individual to choose their own path rather than choosing the path that is given to them or the one that others would choose for them. Independence demands that an individual take responsibility for their conditioning and their thought processes, and to take responsibility for their experience of life. Sooner or later, great people have to leave the ‘tribe’ that gave them their foundations – that is the only way to start your own tribe.

Non-attachment means that while you can work towards goals and objectives, you do so while remembering that most things that seem to matter don’t. They might act – even ferociously – as if what they were doing mattered, yet when their work is done they retreat in the peace that comes from knowing that it doesn’t. Money, relationships and our reputation are powerful motivators for those who are not living at this level.

Power-ambivalence means that you do not try to control others. Self-actualised people do not live to manipulate or control others, but instead proceed along their personal path, honouring their truth as their truth, rather than trying to impose their beliefs or ideas upon others. While leaders are called upon by communities to provide guidance, self-actualised leaders do so without becoming attached to the perks, privileges or prestige attendant thereto.

Some ideas that I’ve been developing…

Separation of Powers in Education, Cognitive Competencies, Selective Reinforcement of Spontaneous Behaviour and Open-Hearted Relationships of Unconditional Love… they’re all “hobby horses” that I have ranted on about from time to time, yet I haven’t always explored them as much or taken them as far as I could. Continue reading “Some ideas that I’ve been developing…” »

Who is John Galt?

The New York Times has just published an article acknowledging the role played by Ayn Rand in the thinking of modern capitalists. My Grandfather gave me The Fountainhead when I was an arrogant 13-year-old with a warning that the first half was boring but the second half made it worthwhile. He was right on both counts.

While “the virtue of selfishness” might be very unpopular as a phrase, I was transformed by this book and still have it together with my Grandfather’s copy of Atlas Shrugged in a special place in my bookcase at home.

It’s not a complete philosophy. Assumptions arrogantly taken for “axioms” are adopted by ignorant idealogues undermine the intellectual integrity that Objectivists purport to uphold. However, as James M. Kilts is quoted as noting in the NYT article, Ayn Rand’s works uphold a very important value that has few other sources:

“that excellence should be your goal”

Spiritual masters, NLPers and psychologists are largely and unusually in agreement (though they won’t let you know!): Self-actualisers, prime mover geniuses and happy “ordinary” people everywhere live in accordance with the vision that Rand had for the world… rather than being the victim of what other people want for you or think of you, may we all take personal responsibilty for how you feel, what you think and the life that you live.

Be excellent.