The Trillion Dollar Lies
by James Altucher: How
I Would Unschool My Kids
I feel bad.
I feel like a sucker. Like one by one I fell for every lie. I talk
about dont do this, dont do that,
and yet I fell for all of them. Ive been in everything from
a cult to the cult of homeownership, the cult of college, the cult
of sex, the cult of drugs, every cult imaginable, the cult of corporate
safety, the cult of money. Why couldnt I just be smart from
the beginning? Why does it take stupidity to become smart? Or maybe
Im still stupid. Who knows?
do one of those psychology tests where I ask you something and you
say the first word that comes to mind. Heres the usual responses
I get after years of doing this:
Me: Home ownership.
Me: College: Other: Good job
Me: Good war. Other: World War II
Me: Success. Other: Fame and money
Me: Iran. Other: They want to kill all the jews.
Me: Voting. Other: Doing something for your country.
think about why you want to own a home. Just really take
a step back and forget about all your biases. You think renting
is flushing money down the toilet. You might think home
ownership is roots for your family. Why do you
think these things? Isnt it suspicious to you that everyone
else says the same slogans? That I just wrote down the exact things
that are you in your head when you try to justify buying a home?
Does it make
sense at all that there is a trillion dollar industry (over 20 trillion
to be exact when you add in mortgages plus the part of the economy
that is dependent on home building) that wants you to own a home?
Banks, the government, home builders, furniture makers, real estate
agents, etc are all the priests and ministers of that religion.
Dont you think a small part of that 20 trillion goes into
hammering again and again the marketing message that you need to
own a home?
Just do the
basic math on home ownership. It does not work. It will NEVER
work. Maybe if home prices go down another 80% but thats
But this isnt
about home ownership. Ive bought and sold two homes. And I
lost money on both. So maybe Im just bitter. Who knows.
This is about
hypnosis. Why we believe, at the bottom of our hearts, the things
that are told to us that have such obvious trillion dollar agendas.
Here is what everyone says: You wont get a good job
if you dont go to college. Ive proved countless
times how this is a lie. Yes, you wont get a 90 hour a week
job at Goldman Sachs if you dont go to college. And yes, there
is no chance in hell you can be a proctologist (although I have
known people to start a private practice in this without any degree
at all) if you dont have a medical degree. Ok, you win. On
you think this trillion dollar industry (where costs have gone up
ten times faster than inflation, three times faster than the scam
healthcare industry) might have an agenda when they put out these
What else happens
in college? Well, one in four women are raped in college.
But because college campuses are one of the few places in the country
(Indian reservations maybe being the only other) that provide their
own security, you never hear about this. Campus security is not
there to protect you. Its there to hide things from you.
So you can
get a job at Goldman Sachs, but youre more likely to be raped.
Or, I guess, be the raper. You choose.
you learn how to think in college? I dont know, do you?
Did you really learn how to think there? Does it really cost $200,000
to think? And what is so great about thinking. Since 1950, when
college started becoming almost a pre-requirement for success, incidence
of depression has gone up 50 times. How come colleges dont
report on this statistic?
yourself where you got these slogans. Even my ten year old repeats
the slogans. They are marketing slogans created by, again, a trillion
Everyone must be insured. Insurance companies
cant deny you because of pre-existing conditions. Everyone
says this. Again, why does everyone say the exact same thing. Again,
this is a trillion dollar industry. They are telling you what to
think about this for a second. Lets say you have a pre-existing
condition. Do you really think they are going to charge you the
same amount that someone without a pre-existing condition is charged?
Of course not. Your prices are going to go up. A lot! And everyones
prices are going to go up. Do you think the insurance companies
are going to lose money? Of course not. And if you dont
sign up, you have to now pay a fine (a tax) to the government.
So who wins in this? Do you win? And then the other side tries to
go to the other extreme. Death panels. Oh my god! Someones
going to decide who lives or dies?
Of course not.
The other side of a lie is not the truth. Its just another
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© 2012 The
Best of James Altucher