Since I started coming to Bangkok I have learned a lot about socialism. I had never given it much thought before. A movement has started, I am told. Others have called it a revolution. I took the time to listen and learn. It’s harder than it sounds. In addition, many people, including some prominent authors from around the globe have either implied or I have inferred, (perhaps incorrectly) about the evils of capitalism. The reaction to these cautionary tales of greedy capitalism depends a lot on the audience. I liken it to talking about the sins and devastation of gambling. Certainly, hard evidence exists about the down side to gambling. But you are going to have a harder time convincing the guy riding a lucky streak, with a winning lottery ticket in his pocket, than you might with the gambling addict who has lost his home, wife and life savings. In 2009 I was playing at the $5.00 Blackjack table at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas when an apparent homeless man came and sat down two chairs from me. He proceeded to throw three wadded up bills and a handful of change, which he pulled out of his cargo pants pockets, onto the green felt. The dealer informed him that he had $4.93. He was 7 cents short from being able to place a minimum bet. A bet which, by all appearances, would either double his net worth or wipe him out completely. Truth be told, I was tempted to spare the brother a dime, out of curiosity more than altruism, but contained that temptation and he eventually gathered up his liquid assets and headed out into the hot Nevada sun, hopefully to buy a milkshake. I ended up winning $140.00 at the same table. So is gambling good or bad? For me, it was good, on that day. For the homeless man, the downside was evident. .
A corollary between gambling and capitalism can be made. Greed will be the downfall in either instance. My first experience with capitalism was in 1961, when I was seven years old. We were living in Corona del Mar, CA. John F. Kennedy was the President – the Camelot era and it was summer time; I decided to set up a lemonade stand. Made with real lemons, water that came out of the tap and a 5 lb bag of Spreckles Sugar. The venture capitalist was my Mom. She also encouraged me to give it a go. At the end of the day I had a pocket full of Indian head nickles and Mercury dimes. The neighborhood price for the lemonade was 5 cents a glass.
My initial experience with capitalism was a good one. The venture capitalist was friendly, trustworthy and usually tucked me into bed at night. And I had made a profit, on day 1. It seemed pretty clear what I had to do next, I doubled down and went out and sold lemonade to anyone that had a nickle on day 2. The results were even better that day. You may call me a capitalist anytime, just not a greedy one, please.
So where am I going with this post, those of you who got this far are wondering? Well, it’s over 50 years later and the urge to set up a lemonade stand has hit me again like a pair of aces at the blackjack table. Only this time instead of lemonade I will be selling T-shirts:
Go to Bangkok Beat – The Store for more information. The page is in the menu of pages above.
The Gop T-shirt
SUMMARY – CUT TO THE CHASE
Gop T-shirts are available now for readers with discerning taste at bt 400 or $12.00 USA. Questions? Send me an email or Google Bangkok Beat – The Store.
Oh, and a thank-you to my Mom. I still miss her. She was the only venture capitalist I ever used. VC’s ain’t what they used to be.