Attempted Thoughts believes in improving the human condition. Progress is possible. Change is possible. And we can make it so.
Our opinions matter because they can change the world. We are voters, citizens, and inhabitants of this world. As we convince people of reasoned stances, this can be carried through to tangible action. Consider voting behaviour, policy advocacy, and direct protest (even in authoritarian regimes). We have an impact if we only but reach out.
Beyond politics, capital markets matter too. While these two spheres are related, the stock market has offered distinct opportunities to act through. Consider the sheer strength of modern-day corporations. Activist shareholders, corporate governance campaigns, and outright hostile takeovers can influence the lives of so many. If large companies were brought to heel, the sheer weight of the world would shift. And so we hope that many more people's lives would be improved.
This means that we are not apolitical. But neither are we slaves to any one political party or following. A well-reasoned lens is what we should start with, always. Perhaps we can follow Tyler Cowen and claim to be two-thirds utilitarian.
There are two main ways I will research opportunities. They serve as a guide on where to start and how to frame issues:
First, to understand whatever it is that underlies the engines of economic growth, and in doing so position ourselves to build a better world. To bring tangible change that improves peoples lives, we often look to power. Too often, political power is simply taken for granted to be the ultimate source of change. Institutions and democracy are simply assumed to function.
Yet perhaps an underlying force beyond nominal political power is economic power. Since we live in a largely capitalistic world, it makes sense to that capital surely exerts undue influence. And we know this is true intuitively - but intellectually we are too accepting of certain constructs as natural law.
By identifying the fundamental forces of economic growth, we may hope to identify the means by which power can be devolved to the people. Forget mere nominal political representation, where is the representation in the markets that dominate our lives?
Second, to understand how culture informs political economy. Beyond hard economic growth, such as the internet or semiconductors, perhaps there are undue inequalities in how we choose to structure ourselves. This involves a judgement claim that our current system is not just. People do not fully rise to the 'top' on their own accord. Even if we accept that capital accumulation is a valid pursuit, the means by which capital is allocated is not clearly just.
Consider the exemptions of a corporation in being given strong legal privileges. A limited liability corporation acts freely in ways that individuals cannot. Certainly, there are routes to capital accumulation that are easier than others. Contrast being a real estate magnate with working a high income job. Even if you are worth the same amount, the means by which you got there is surely different.
By identifying the structures of class and culture, we hope to open up the routes in which people might 'rise'. It is not good to that certain knowledge is locked away from different demographics. While it is not ideal to have a hierarchy to 'climb', it is hoped that we dismantle arbitrary rules that withhold capital.
My dream then is to have an activist fund. With sufficient capital, we may have enough power to effectively improve the structures of our lives. Imagine building sustainable housing, functional co-operatives with respect for the worker, and self-sufficient means of living - in order to create good art and more. With enough people, we may use the rules of the game to our own advantage. Let us make our own firm, protect our own capital, and in the process improve our lot in life.