Q: What do the upward mobility of women, low overnight interest rates, and Internet poker have in common?
A: They have all created a brain drain on society, to some degree or another.
Do you see why?
I decided to write this post while watching Michael Moore's newest documentary, Capitalism, A Love Story. While I think the man is by and large a serious blowhard, I do enjoy his films because there is always at least a smidgeon of material that is good food for thought.
There was a segment in the movie where he examines the great discovery of the polio vaccine by Joseph Salk. When asked who owned the patent for it, he replied, "The people do. You wouldn't put a patent on the sun would you?". Moore then proceeded to speak of how often some of the brightest minds nowadays moved on to very lucrative careers in finance where they produce nothing of real value, rather than giving their gifts for the betterment of humankind.
David Sklansky, in his brilliant new book, DUCY?, agrees, though he decides to peel back another layer to answer the question of "why"? In the first decade of this century, interest rates were unnaturally low, making the world of finance much easier to succeed in. Money was cheap and getting loans was easy. This made Wall Street the place where top graduates went after school, hungrier to get rich than to win a Nobel.
Though certainly in a category all by itself, the upward mobility of women has adversely affected the American school system. Just a few decades ago, when career opportunities for women were scarce outside of the home, the brightest minds competed for jobs in education. Now that the glass ceiling has been raised for women, they too, have decided to seek out ways to better their own lives in lieu of others.
Lastly, we have Internet poker. The boom ushered in by Chris Moneymaker's historic WSOP win created yet another selfish diversion for today's youth. Of course, you can't really blame them. Why should you sit around in your engineering class when you could be clicking buttons for $150 an hour in your dorm room?
Naturally, I would never think of casting judgment over any of these people who have chosen these paths, as that would be the height of hypocrisy. However, I often wonder what I would be doing with my life had I not stumbled into poker. I have always wanted to be a writer, first by means of fiction and now, more recently, nonfiction. I had always told myself that I would begin to pursue this other side of myself once I reached a plateau in poker where I no longer feared for money each month. Though I have no intentions of quitting the game, I am very happy to acknowledge that I am finally here.
I plan on creating a new blog that has a unifying theme that is very difficult to pin down. It will contain entertaining discussion pieces that seek out simple truths in life or examine existing contemporary wisdom. I would like to recruit some potential writers from this site, being that poker players get a unique glimpse of life that is often obscured to outsiders. If you are interested, please contact me!