The Three Laws of Money

Poster: The Three Laws of Money. 1. MORE money is better than LESS money. 2. Money NOW is better than money LATER. 3. REAL money is better than FAKE money.
Tap to view the Laws at full size.

I remember hearing The Three Laws of Money from OpenCola’s cofounder John Henson when I worked there — 2000 through 2002 — during those high-flying days at the end of the dot-com bubble. He said he heard it from someone else, but I can’t remember whom.

In light of everything that’s happened with cryptocurrency this year, I thought I’d post this and remind everyone of rule three.

Once again, the Three Laws of Money are:

  1. MORE money is better than LESS money. Obvious, but sometimes we need to be reminded of the obvious. More money means you can buy more goods and services, have more influence, and invest more to increase your money supply.
  2. Money NOW is better than money LATER. This is a greatly simplified summary of the time value of money: a dollar (or pick your favorite currency) today is worth more than the same dollar in the future.
  3. REAL money is better than FAKE money. And real vs. fake isn’t an either-or thing, but two ends of a spectrum. The more people that accept a kind of money, the more “real” it is. As the de facto world reserve currency, the U.S. dollar is very real. The Iranian Rial, the cheapest currency in the world at the time of writing, is less “real”. I will leave determining the “reality” of cryptocurrencies as an exercise for the reader.
Geek Money Satire

“White-collar Spirit Costume” is now a meme theme

First, there was the Spirit Venture Capitalist costume, and now there’s this one: “Freelance Recruiter Who Ghosted You.” I see more of these coming.

Geek Money Satire

Halloween costume of the moment

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Thanks to Ken Nickerson for the find!

Money The Current Situation

Someone’s sitting pretty in this economy

Some noteworthy facts from a recent post in Jordan Uhl’s newsletter, I Hate It Here And Never Want To Leave:

  • I’ll open with a direct quote from the newsletter: 75% of middle-income families say their wages are falling behind inflation, according to a new report from Primerica and Change Research. 77% say they’re expecting and preparing for a recession, with 71% already cutting back on spending to help make ends meet.
  • Corporate profits are at 70-year record highs. Since 2020, the after-tax profits made by corporations who aren’t in the business of finance have grown by a trillion dollars:

    Chart: FRED’s “Nonfinancial Corporate Business: Profits After Tax (without IVA and CCAdj)” chart, showing corporate profits since 1970, with the big leap in the years 2020 - 2022 highlighted.
    Tap to view at full size. You can also see this graph at its source.
  • There was a record level of stock buybacks: $882 billion! A stock buyback is the act of a publicly traded company (one that issues stock to the public) using cash to buy its own stock on the open market. This reduces the supply of the company’s available stock, raising its price, which is what shareholders like.
  • The rise in global food prices…
    …has created 62 new “food billionaires” in the past two years.
    If you combine the energy-for-biologicals industry (food) with the energy-for-machines industry (what we call “energy”), they’ve grown their fortune by nearly half a trillion dollars in the past two years.
  • I’ll close with another direct quote from the newsletter: “The average S&P 500 CEO received $18.3 million in total compensation in 2021, an increase of 18% in one year. During that same period, average hourly earnings for workers fell 2.4%.

At the same time, you’ve got the hue and cry from the executive class, with that same old “nobody wants to work” refrain. It’s nothing new, and suggests that the current situation isn’t a labor shortage, but a wages and worker treatment shortage:

Money The Current Situation

Also: You can’t make guacamole or toast with Bitcoin.

Tweet: “Turns out avocados were the real inflation hedge all along.” with chrat showing an overlay of 2020 to 2022 price trends for Bitcoin and avocados.
Tap to view at full size.

Here’s Tracy Alloway’s original tweet.

Money Stranger than Fiction

There’s risk tolerance, and then there’s RISK TOLERANCE

In this video posted on Reddit’s “WallStreetBets” subreddit, you can see a cabbie who knows how to make the most of every moment. While at a red light, he’s on a tablet trading Bitcoin.

Consider the risks involved:

  • Using a tablet while driving…
  • in Montreal (the street signs and billboard with “A LOUER” — which means “FOR RENT” — and a 415 area code)…
  • and trading Bitcoin…

…this cabbie loves to live dangerously! I wish him lots of luck.

Watch the video here.


Business Insider’s Global Editor-In-Chief wants to know your salary, but won’t reveal his

Nicholas Carlson, Global Editor-in-Chief of Business Insider, announced on Twitter that they were doing a series of articles that “demystifies people’s salaries” and asked people to report theirs.

Someone asked the inevitable question, and got a sadly unsurprising answer…

…and they’ve been roasting him ever since then:

The article does say at the beginning that they’re asking for people to anonymously submit their salary history, but if you get to the instructions, you’ll see that they’re using the term “anonymously” to mean something different:

If you are interested in sharing your salary journey, please send an email to Chris Weller at with your name, age, occupation, and a description of your salary journey. (This will remain 100% confidential. No information will ever be shared publicly.)

They are asking you to submit your salary history along with information that identifies you. That’s not anonymous. If they follow through on the promise not to share the information publicly — a promise not backed by any kind of legal agreement, by the way — the information will be confidential. But it will not be anonymous. And it will be confidential only for as long as whoever manages Business Insider chooses to keep that non-legally-binding promise.

The Twitter thread is still going strong as I write this, and if you’re looking for an amusing diversion this fine Thursday, I heartily recommend this one.