Time Heals All Wounds.. And Then Kills the Patient
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Mon Jun 16 08:49:54 2003
The sweat smell of philosophy

I had a really nice walk to work this morning -- maybe it was the weekend, maybe it was the trip back to Bville, or maybe the recent weather did it, but the trail smelled really fresh and floral. I wasn't yucky at all when I arrived at work, which is nice.

On the way to work, I was thinking about two ideas people gave me, at different times. My first boss McLeod once explained something to me. Financially, I've always had the aim of minimizing debt -- I don't like owing money to people, and I ideally want to be paying as close to zero (dollars, not percent) interest as possible. However, businesses don't work this way -- for them, debt is natural, and it's not even a bad thing, because they're based on the idea that they earn more on their capital (at least in the long run) than however much one could get with a 'safe' investment. For companies where that's not true, it's best not to invest in them at all, instead doing that safe investment. It's thus best, according to this idea, for those companies to borrow as much as they can at rates under what they think they can earn, using that cashflow to improve their effectiveness at pulling in cash.

The other idea was from my friend Tim, who suggested to me that the national debt is not something we should be worried about at all -- the government should consider it a plus that that money is available to it because it uses it (presumably) to keep itself and the economy flowing smoothly, and that increases the tax revenue it gets.

So, I was thinking on the way to work today, is this stuff right? Well, I was starting to chew on the second one, and I realized that I was looking for a different sort of answer than what was driving me to say 'no', so I stopped. No doubt I could find some kind of economic or commonsense argument against the second, but it wouldn't really be honest -- the problem is that I think government should be simple, that it shouldn't be a moneymaking opportunity for investors, and that unneeded entanglement with investors exposes it to vulnerability. There may be other reasons, but they're not touching on what's important to me on this issue.

As for the first, it's probably true, and I'm just too risk-averse to be entirely comfortable with it. I do wonder though -- there may be levels of investment where additional money has a sharp decline in usefulness to the small company -- if you need an engineer to do research for a year on a product before it comes to fruit, or any other case where more money won't help much, then the company would probably be better off not taking the VC funds (beyond perhaps a certain cushion), as it does mean a certain loss of control.

On the trip home, I grabbed a lot more of my stuff I left at home last time. I'm still missing some stuff though.. *sigh* On that note, I've found that I still have some of Debb's stuff that should go back to her. I'll probably stick it in a box on her car or something one of these nights when I'm relatively certain it won't be raining. Hmm.. I probably should wrap it in Saran anyhow.

Oh, as you might've guessed by this, I have my netdiary back in one piece again now, thanks to the USB disk I got the other day. This does NOT mean that I have good, healthy access to my email again. That's still a mess. Gonna call Verizon and nag them again today.

I should probably get to work improving my netdiary code again.