Feb 5th, 2020 | Money Podcast

ARE THINGS ARE BETTER THAN THEY SEEM? Meet Laurence B. Siegel, the author of more than 200 articles on investing and related topics.  He'll tell you why capitalism isn't as evil as Millennials and Gen Zs think. He believes that the world has gotten much better, rather than worse. He even believes that corporations will be the ones to clean up the environment!

Find out why you need to stop hating corporations and start investing in them.

Get a copy of Larry's book, Fewer, Richer, Greener: Prospects for Humanity in an Age of Abundance.

Here's the original piece in the Wall Street Journal that inspired Tom to do this interview.

Agree or disagree? Tell Tom where you stand: tom@blowmeuptom.com.



Submitted by Campbellsoup2013 on

I like your material Tom but the system is completely broken and total joke for young people if you don’t come from a rich family. I was just starting my career when the financial crash occurred and it completely derailed my career and has made it incredibly difficult to pay off my student loans. I am stuck paying off thousands of dollars in loans because I wasn’t ‘lucky’ enough to have rich parents yet the dick bag baby boomers in power got to walk away without any consequences after totally destroying the economy. The very same baby boomers that got cheap affordable housing and educations.

Also, the reason why the cost of education is so high is because of stupid policies the baby boomers set in the first place. Baby boomers are the ones in charge of most of these companies and in all the influential positions of power in government, yet after they totally fuck things up they have the nerve to turn around and lecture the younger generations about fairness, when their the ones that ran the system into the toilet in the first place. Now their surprised the millennials are supporting a socialist candidate. Gee I wonder why?

Submitted by Nobody of note on

You are not a victim of capitalism. So far as I can tell almost everyone touched by capitalism is beneficiary of it. What you are a victim of is short-sighted parents. I have zero student debt, and not because my parents are rich. My parents are comfortably within the middle class. But my parents are smart. They saw the booming economy around them and put hefty portions of their average incomes into education savings accounts for what is still a majority of their adult lives, knowing full well that they would never see a penny of that money ever again. In my case I ended up with a full ride scholarship so my parents actually did get to see that money again but that's beside the point. Many people saw the booming economy of the 80s, 90s, and early 2000's and just wanted to live larger than their parents. They didn't think of the future, or their children's future. In a capitalist society, you have the right to make sacrifices for the sake of your family's future, and you also have the right to be materialistic and short-sighted. Either way, your descendants lie in the bed you make. In a socialist society, nobody gets either opportunity and no matter what you do, your descendants are doomed to an existence much less glamorous than yours.

Submitted by Faithful LIstener on

Your reply reminded me of myself when I was getting started, and wasted a lot of time and energy in situations I had no control over. I did have control over how I chose to define myself in those situations. Seen as a victim, I suffered needlessly, as you are doing. Seen from an empowerment perspective, I was reaping what I had sown in terms of life choices. The business I chose for a career literally went away overnight, forcing me to hit square one. The tragic fact is, we all others to define us to their satisfaction, and we allow them the power to do this. Choosing to be a victim is comfortable, for a season, and self-defeating, over time. You have much more power, the power to be truly effective, than you seem to realize, and this is why the majority of men live lives of quiet desperation. As Tom said in one of his timeless monologues, "I know why you listen to me. You do not want to go home." GOD, how that hit home! You have the power to make a better home for yourself, but it will require facing the illusions that you have allowed to control you. Why not start from scratch, on higher ground, by going to a vocational counseling program - lots of Adult Ed and Community Colleges have them - and do something called "Self-Dirercted Search?" You have chosen the wrong field of endeavor, The right field might be right next to you, but you don't see it as you can't imagine it. Hell, use vocational astrology, if that helps you! Despair leads to a cycle of spiraling down, and you are better than that. Tom's guest spoke of the glorious future, and I can countervail a lot of his more optimistic projections by pointing out the demographics of Brasil - a glorious future for the elite, and Hell for the people in the favelas. Even the STEM jobs he spoke of pay less than they used to, because of competition from China, and, soon, really good AI. I mention this to simply point out that structural changes in the economy are taking place, and a lot of the jobs available today were undreamt of even fifty years ago. Genetic engineer? Webmasters? The list goes on, and that applies to you, as well. Your Self-Directred Search - and, yes, vocational astrologer - might point you in the direction you will find offers peace of mind, and financial security. Don't limit the possible, I beg of you. I see too many men, of all ages, who accepted false definitions of themselves. Do better. Do what works for you. My Scripture tells us the Creator chose a work for each of us before He laid the foundations of the heavens and the earth. Watch the movie "Fight Club" for inspiration. Watch for the scene where they are in a basement and Brad Pitt says, "I look around, I look around..." That's YOU,in the background, one of the extras. Now be one of the stars. Figure out what works, and do it 16 hours a day for the rest of your life. If it's the right choice, you will love it, and nothing will be able to stop you. Remember, this is your first night at Fight Club, so you've got to fight. It'll be worth it. Don't be a victim. Don't be a loser. "First rule of Fight Club..."

Submitted by asdf1234 on

That's a hell of a lot of time devoted to just one thing. There is more to life than just work.

Submitted by Faithful LIstener on

Brother Not is in a hole that he will only get out of by working the functional equivalent of two jobs, it would seem, and taking that entire second paycheck and putting all of it to his student loans. That's why it is important to find a field of endeavor he loves to do. That's why I mentioned Self-Directed Search, and even vocational astrology, because they might not have THE best answer, but they could lead to the door to the best answer. I've worked with very successful men, and they loved their job, seeing it almost as a calling. And yes, Not seems to be young, comparatively speaking, and wastes too much energy in low energy value-added drama. Successful people - TRULY successful people - realize there is more of everything but time available, and time is the one thing they can not get back. If you aren't prepared to work a LOT, you will be run over by the guys who are.

Get on YouTube and watch Alec Baldwin's magnificent speech from the movie "Glengarry Glen Ross." See the Alec Baldwin character? FIt, commanding presence, expensive suit, $75K BMW? 16 hours a day, and - this is the important part - loves it. The guys who are listening to the speech? Out of shape, cheap clothes, ratty cars, miserable lives? 8 hours a day at jobs they hate. LISTEN to that speech; download it and burn it into your mind, because it is the cold, hard truth we go to such great lengths to avoid.The choice is yours, Brother Not; either Alec's 75K BMW, or a job shining his shoes. The choices are pretty much that stark. Stay at home, watching your world get smaller, colder, and crueler - nothing gets better on its own - or building a new life, and helping to build a much better world. The difference is a job that is literally a calling, and eight hours a day. Hey, it's only for five days a week. What are you doing with your time that is any better?

PS If I had it to do over, I would burn that speech into my mind and skip most of my Business courses, except for accounting. But that's me, bemoaning wasted time, when the mindset of achievement is MUCH more important than college. I think everyone working at Starbucks has a least a Bachelor's degree. Many have a Master's. I KNOW this, because they bitch to me about it. They learned the hard way there is ZERO corporate loyalty, and, for all of this talk of the gig economy, you are only employed to the extent you add value to a business process. The Mindset of Alec Baldwin's character, and a Fight Club level of disciplined awareness, will carry you far. Anything less, and "you'll be shining my shoes."

The good news is, you are young enough to drop the bullshit, and drop the hammer on a much better future. You will not always be so fortunate, so 16 hours a day it is.

Start now.

Submitted by Faithful LIstener on

The fiscal crisis that cost you one career was over a decade ago. My guess: you've been holding on to the dream. The dream was an illusion, with you acting out some false role of who you are. That isn't even who you were, not really, as that path would have flourished in the more than a decade since. I'll bet you have a lot more debt than you said. My solution, following the search for a new career, is to file personal bankruptcy if you can, and get rid of all of the debt but the student debt. THEN, work a second full time job - say, third shift custodian in an office building, you get the idea - where you will be so busy working the two jobs you will not have time to spend money.

This is your time to start over, shedding yourself of the illusions, and facing the cold, hard truth that you had the power to create this problem, and you have the power to solve it.

Did I mention that you could make a loaf of bread for as little as a quarter?

Start where you are, but, above all, start now.

Every morning, look at your self in the mirror and recite Alec Baldwin's famous words, "A B C: A Always B Be C Closing."

To paraphrase "ABA: A Always B Be A Achieving."

You must turn inactivity into activity, and then, productive activity, or you will continue to spiral down into despair, and that's a very rough valley to get out of .

Money will do it, though, and there really is no substitute for it.

Especially if you are dealing with student loans.

Incidentally, many times, depression is anger turned inward. If you might be suffering from this anger, and need an outlet, physical exercise: weight training, whatever else fits, is a very useful step on the way to transformation. Every time you feel helpless, and angry, grab the iron and lift.

You ARE transforming your self, right?

You're tired of choosing to be a victim, right?

Submitted by TallTim on

Debt is a hole, and your job is to keep that hole as shallow as possible, or even better -- filled in so you don't have that problem in the first place.

I started out like Tom, made shit pay for the work I was doing, but I knew I had to put my time in. In my experience, blaming others isn't productive. Are you going to change something that you have no control over? Doubtful.

What you CAN do is control what is in your reach, and that means thinking seriously about your future and not succumbing to the consumer knee-jerk reaction of "gotta have it all now."

Those with a delayed time preference know how to save, and understand that spending is only done when its necessary. Then you can build up a buffer and pursue other things because you delayed your gratification. That's all this is about -- discipline.

Yes, there are accidents and life can kick you in the teeth, but at that point you'd have SOME credit to weather it, and you don't make it WORSE by having shitty spending habits to begin with. Again, not playing the part of the victim, or having that mindset is key here.

For some people, life HAPPENS to them. Don't be that guy.

Submitted by Aaron2587@gmail.com on

The speaker is out of touch with reality when he talked about skilled versus unskilled labor. It's not about skills. It's about the demand of your skills. Most people are skilled, its not the skills holding them back. Lots of underemployed accountants, programmers, lawyers, finance, operations management majors out there. Also trades don't have enough workers, and pay more than most college graduate jobs. I know plumbers making 200,000 a year, and electricians making 160,000. Most college graduates make 50k-75k a year. Entrepreneurs make the most. I'm a millennial, and I love capitalism. Most of my peers hate it. I also know that certain parts of the nation (mostly the east coast and west coast) are expensive. A house in most rust belt cities is 50,000-125,000. A house in SF is like 900,000.

Submitted by deweydec on

"They are not engineers or biotech people." While the Greta Thunberg's of the world sit around and find blame other people are developing and executing solutions. Look at Norman Borlaug, a geneticist and plant pathologist who is credited with saving over a billion people from starvation due to his work in agriculture which increased the world food supply. Look at Boyan Slat, an aerospace engineer who is cleaning up plastic in the ocean and using microbes that eat and eliminate such removed plastic. What the world needs is more engineers and scientists and entrepreneurs and savers Aaron Clarey said this in his book "Worthless.". These people adopting socialism are too blind to see that they are too big of consumers themselves and their ideology lacks real world implementation. Do you want freedom of choice and liberty or do you want what F.A. Hayek calls the "road to serfdom?"