October 21, 2008
A Few Modest Proposals from a Former Hedge Fund Manager.

We are talking here about the non-Swiftian style of modest proposals, but Andrew Lahbe has decided to call it quits from the hedge fund industry and retire on what he says in his business is a modest sum. If you read the Financial Times, you will quite often find in it many insane proposals that their creators regard as groundbreaking proposals,

Andrew Lahbe offers up a modest proposal that seems to me to be entirely sensible, or mostly so. Since I don’t smoke pot and don’t find any benefit in it personally from a medical perspective - although I understand that others vehemently disagree, I am thus an agnostic and libertarian on this part of his article. Although I am suffering from chronic back pain right now and haven’t tried it for that purpose. In the past the weed just tended to make me dull and lazy.

By all means go read the whole thing. I only post a few interesting tidbits that I have edited modestly to whet your appetite for an article that appears in a place that for many who read this blog, no reasonable man dares to go. Some appetite whetters appear below. The whole thing appears here. I invite others to critique the proposal and find any flaws they find in it. I’ve done my part by critiquing the marijuana portion of the proposal.

I was in this game for the money. The low hanging fruit, i.e. idiots whose parents paid for prep school, Yale, and then the Harvard MBA, was there for the taking. These people who were (often) truly not worthy of the education they received (or supposedly received) rose to the top of companies such as AIG, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers and all levels of our government. All of this behavior supporting the Aristocracy only ended up making it easier for me to find people stupid enough to take the other side of my trades. God bless America.

Some people, who think they have arrived at a reasonable estimate of my net worth, might be surprised that I would call it quits with such a small war chest. That is fine; I am content with my rewards. Moreover, I will let others try to amass nine, ten or eleven figure net worths. Meanwhile, their lives suck. Appointments back to back, booked solid for the next three months, they look forward to their two week vacation in January during which they will likely be glued to their Blackberries or other such devices. What is the point? They will all be forgotten in fifty years anyway. Steve Balmer, Steven Cohen, and Larry Ellison will all be forgotten. I do not understand the legacy thing. Nearly everyone will be forgotten. Give up on leaving your mark. Throw the Blackberry away and enjoy life.

On the issue of the U.S. Government, I would like to make a modest proposal. First, I point out the obvious flaws, whereby legislation was repeatedly brought forth to Congress over the past eight years, which would have reigned in the predatory lending practices of now mostly defunct institutions. These institutions regularly filled the coffers of both parties in return for voting down all of this legislation designed to protect the common citizen. This is an outrage, yet no one seems to know or care about it. Since Thomas Jefferson and Adam Smith passed, I would argue that there has been a dearth of worthy philosophers in this country, at least ones focused on improving government.


Capitalism worked for two hundred years, but times change, and systems become corrupt. George Soros, a man of staggering wealth, has stated that he would like to be remembered as a philosopher. My suggestion is that this great man start and sponsor a forum for great minds to come together to create a new system of government that truly represents the common manís interest, while at the same time creating rewards great enough to attract the best and brightest minds to serve in government roles without having to rely on corruption to further their interests or lifestyles. This forum could be similar to the one used to create the operating system, Linux, which competes with Microsoft’s near monopoly. I believe there is an answer, but for now the system is clearly broken.

Hemp has been used for at least 5,000 years for cloth and food, as well as just about everything that is produced from petroleum products. Hemp is not marijuana and vice versa. Hemp is the male plant and it grows like a weed, hence the slang term. The original American flag was made of hemp fiber and our Constitution was printed on paper made of hemp. It was used as recently as World War II by the U.S. Government, and then promptly made illegal after the war was won. At a time when rhetoric is flying about becoming more self-sufficient in terms of energy, why is it illegal to grow this plant in this country? Ah, the female.

The evil female plant — marijuana. It gets you high, it makes you laugh, it does not produce a hangover. Unlike alcohol, it does not result in bar fights or wife beating. So, why is this innocuous plant illegal? Is it a gateway drug? No, that would be alcohol, which is so heavily advertised in this country. My only conclusion as to why it is illegal, is that Corporate America, which owns Congress, would rather sell you Paxil, Zoloft, Xanax and other addictive drugs, than allow you to grow a plant in your home without some of the profits going into their coffers. This policy is ludicrous.


Posted by Buck Batard at October 21, 2008 08:21 AM
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You might find a sativa more beneficial than an indica strain, the latter can make you feel more slowed down and sleepy, whereas the former may cause you to feel more aware. Both can help at different times of day. I prefer an indica in the evening or before bedtime, but sativa or hybrids are best in the earlier part of the day. Certainly it may help with back pain.

Posted by: Mahakal on October 21, 2008 2:44 PM

You'd have to break that down into 70's era marijuana language for me so I'd have a clue about what you're talking about. I go back to the days of five finger bags of Mexican for $20.00 an a couple of years after that. Beyond that, you've lost me on the lingo as that is one subject that I haven't remained current on.

Posted by: Buck on October 21, 2008 6:10 PM

Yeah, sorry, I don't really speak the street lingo even now. Erowid is always a good starting point.

Posted by: Mahakal on October 24, 2008 5:40 PM
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