Blog description.

Accentuating the Liberal in Classical Liberal: Advocating Ascendency of the Individual & a Politick & Literature to Fight the Rise & Rise of the Tax Surveillance State. 'Illigitum non carborundum'.

Liberty and freedom are two proud words that have been executed from the political lexicon: they were frog marched and stood before a wall of blank minds, then forcibly blindfolded, and shot, with the whimpering staccato of ‘equality’ and ‘fairness’ resounding over and over. And not only did this atrocity go unreported by journalists in the mainstream media, they were in the firing squad.

The premise of this blog is simple: the Soviets thought they had equality, and welfare from cradle to grave, until the illusory free lunch of redistribution took its inevitable course, and cost them everything they had. First to go was their privacy, after that their freedom, then on being ground down to an equality of poverty only, for many of them their lives as they tried to escape a life behind the Iron Curtain. In the state-enforced common good, was found only slavery to the prison of each other's mind; instead of the caring state, they had imposed the surveillance state to keep them in line. So why are we accumulating a national debt to build the slave state again in the West? Where is the contrarian, uncomfortable literature to put the state experiment finally to rest?

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Trekking Toward Literary Ramble IV: Patronising Email to Young Share Milking Couple. Goals, Books and the Farm Budget.

My coming disquisition – I was aiming for critique but failed - on our modern literature is now past thirteen thousand words, and no matter how much I tinker, it’ll still go down like cold sick. So while I work on that, this email to a young share milking couple on why, amongst other priorities, they should read literary fiction, (noting for the wise, literary fiction is not a literature, per se, it’s part of a literature, but I would love over my career to wean one farmer – if they read fiction at all, and I ask them, most don’t - off a staple diet of airport bestsellers.)

I have learned over the years that the wealthiest self-made clients, who are often the most innovative, laugh on mention of formalised business plans and five year budgets – perhaps don’t tell [name of bank manager] this. Formal financial planning is not ‘huge’ within the psyche of an entrepreneurial spirit. One of the world’s richest businessmen, Richard Branson, of Virgin Airlines, admits he’s never been able to learn the difference between gross margin and net profit, and can’t read a set of financial statements. (I’ve done okay, yet have never in the twenty three year life of my practice ever done a financial budget or written business plan. Time spent on that would've been a waste of time for me, in my specific circumstances. ) I believe the important characteristic of these people, and individuals such as Branson, is they tend to work on a conceptual, goal driven level, as well as a life-is-fun, glass-half full, ethic, plus they’re interested in everything, not just the specific fields in which they work: particularly they read and travel widely, which educates and broadens their minds to new and differing opportunities.

By read widely, I mean within your industry, in order to understand the drivers of the economics of dairy in New Zealand, changes in technology, staff management, farm management, etc. Especially staff relations: that's huge in dairy. When the Dairy Exporter enters your mail box, actually make time to sit down and read it, for it’s part of your job. But also read widely outside farming, including general news – NZ Herald, Stuff, NBR, BBC, CNN (Internet great for this) – read and have opinions about politics, economics, and most certainly, shock, horror, read literary fiction novels to understand what life is, and the experiences of others – it’s a cheap way of travelling through other cultures, other countries, in other lives.  (If for no other reason, reading widely as well as broadening your minds to new opportunities and developing interests in other fields, including artistic, means when you’re out socially with non-dairy farmers you won’t bore them witless. Truly, I’ve been out with dairy farmers, I know what I’m talking about, as I've been bored witless. I've been at nights where if I heard the words, payout, heifer, rotary, conversion, tax, income equalisation, et al, one more time, I would have self-immolated.)

I love the courses your bank runs, one of which you’ve done. Albeit I think their value is not so much the content, as forcing you off the farm and talking to each other about your aspirations and your lives together. When stuck in the often stressful, hum drum routine of the farm, on-farm, it's very easy to 'drift into' automatic pilot and not talk to each other at all until your relationship ends up on auto-pilot, as with your farm management. The only reason I've ever seen farmers on my client base leave farming- outside retirement and carking it - is over relationship breakdowns: I've not had a single one go broke, or forced off for lack of a five year budget. At least four times a year arrange, if nothing else, long weekends to get away by yourselves. Surround yourselves in ‘difference’ as much as you can, so you don’t end up old in your forties, thinking in straight lines. Always have a part of your mind off the farm, looking for other skills, no matter how unrelated they seem.

So, go through the exercise of the five year plan, and we’ll have a look, remembering my own opinion that you really mostly need a detailed cashflow for year one to negotiate the current facility and which can be revised as you go through the year; a near detailed plan for year two, but year three and beyond is really broad strokes only at this stage, and capital budgeting set by your goals for your lives. The year one and two detailed budgeting will have (hopefully) come from earlier goals you were striving for. My point being it’s the goals that are important, and budgeting doesn’t give you those, rather, it’s based on them. My challenge for you, outside of that, is get away at least once a quarter, and by this time next year have read  three literary fiction novels: if you want to know what, off the top of my head, a New Zealand great, Maurice Gee, perhaps his novel Going West; Milas Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being; and Elizabeth Knox, another Kiwi, Glamour and The Sea. (I can see your faces from here.) If not that, then take up painting, or something, anything, just not directly related to farming. If you must, sport, but mixing with a different crowd to what you normally would - ie not all farmers - I particularly like solitary pursuits, as they force you to live and cogitate inside your own head.

Will ring soon to tee up time for me to come out. Regards Mark.

PS: You’ve got a shitload of tax coming up, luckily you’d planned well for that in your two year budget, though understand, I feel your grief.


  1. A business plan is not for you. Its what you tell your (son, daughter, ...) to prepare when they want to borrow money off you for something you just know aint gonna work.