Basic honesty is a must. A person must be able and willing to tell the truth. Moreover, they must tell it quickly, uncompromisingly and fully. A simple question must elicit a simple answer. Any defensiveness, any protestations of the question you ask, should raise a red flag and get you ready to pull the chute on the proverbial parachute. A simple question should never result in a crooked answer, and such an answer is an indication that you may even be dealing with a crook. In any event, your life should not be about tolerating excuses.
The prospect of supporting someone, through investments, loans or your patronage, who does not reciprocate the respect you show them or which is customarily in a civilized society should be appalling, even infuriating, to you. In fact, your own business and reputation virtually requires you to dissociate from anyone acting in this manner. Worse, in a world where people are increasingly suspicious and afraid of being unable to detect a good salesman from a fraud, the temptation is to “pull the trigger” quickly on anyone with a dent and misjudge or prejudge people based on nothing but their company.
Some people criticize the injection of politics into economic discussions. But economic historians tell us that economists used to understand and accept that economics is wholly interrelated with politics, and that politics affects our economy. They note that modern economists have artificially tried to somehow separate the two, like Descartes tried to separate the mind from the body. Indeed, the father of modern economics – Adam Smith – talked a lot about politics in relation to economics.
If mainstream (“neoclassical”) economists think that politics is an irrelevant and separate topic, it may be because they are using wholly discredited models or that “it is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”
This nation was founded on the principle of wealth creation. As a young Henry Clay said in the House of Representatives in 1812, “It [wealth creation] is a passion as unconquerable as any with which nature has endowed us.
You may attempt to regulate—you cannot destroy it.” That is supposed to be the federal government’s primary objective. It is supposed to promote the creation of an environment conducive to the creation of wealth—not job creation, not bailouts, not subsidies, not expansion of the federal bureaucracy, and not providing lifetime support to those who choose not to take advantage of the innumerable opportunities that exist in this nation for them to create a better, more productive life for themselves.
If we can turn around the tide at the next Presidential elections, I believe there is a very bright future ahead of us. If not, I am afraid we are in for an even bumpier road.
Ziad K Abdelnour serves on the board of TMax Capital, an investment management and specialty finance group that focuses on commodities secularization, proprietary structured products based on debt and assets, private equity placements, asset management, and other financial ventures that create synergistic value for its partners and portfolio companies
He is also member of the advisory board of DPG Investments, a recognized premier multistrategy global merchant banking, alternative investment, management, and advisory firm; and FlatWorld Capital, a global private equity investment firm led by a team of dynamic investment professionals and entrepreneurs with over seven decades of experience in finding and structuring innovative and creative solutions to the challenges of global private equity investing.
Ziad K Abdelnour is a regular panelist and speaker on private equity and venture capital topics at industry conferences nationwide.