What I Learned from my Ninth Grade Math Tutor

Yes, I was having trouble with Algebra when I was in ninth grade.  And so my dad hired a math wiz from the local college to help me improve my grades.  And, yes, my grades did improve.  And, yes, I did learn how to derive a certain formula.  While I don’t remember which formula it was, I do remember the next day in class.  Half the class was able to derive the formula and the other half couldn’t.  So, the teacher paired us up…one person who could derive the formula with someone who couldn’t derive it.  I got to work with one of the cutest girls in class!  That was an unforgettable lesson.

But that wasn’t the most important thing I learned from the experience.  What I learned was that you can hire someone with special knowledge to help you through a particular task or to reach a specific goal.  Yes, I used that approach to get my black belt in Tae Kwon Do and to get my pilot’s license…specialized instruction for specialized knowledge.

And so it was that many years later I applied that idea again.  It was when I was 35 and my older son was 15 months old.  We hired two baby sitters (tutors) to work with him.  One lady spoke only Chinese with him, the other only Spanish.  By the time he was five, he was fluent in Chinese, Spanish, and, of course, English.  To this day he is fluent in those languages, plus German…somewhere along the line he decided that he should learn German (probably because of his heritage and German-sounding name).

The bottom line is that whenever one is faced with a task that is beyond one’s knowledge or expertise, it is possible to turn to a tutor for help.  Of course, one must be careful to verify that the tutor knows what he/she is talking about (caveat emptor).  If we were to apply this principle to the U.S. government, and history, we might come up with some of the following thoughts:

Central banks print money until their currency becomes worthlessAccording to a study of 775 fiat currencies by, there is no historical precedence for a fiat currency that has succeeded in holding its value. Twenty percent failed through hyperinflation, 21% were destroyed by war, 12% destroyed by independence, 24% were monetarily reformed, and 23% are still in circulation approaching one of the other outcomes.

The average life expectancy for a fiat currency is 27 years, with the shortest life span being one month. Founded in 1694, the British pound Sterling is the oldest fiat currency in existence. At a ripe old age of 317 years it must be considered a highly successful fiat currency. However, success is relative. The British pound was defined as 12 ounces of silver, so it's worth less than 1/200 or 0.5% of its original value. In other words, the most successful long standing currency in existence has lost 99.5% of its value.

Given the undeniable track record of currencies, it is clear that on a long enough timeline the survival rate of all fiat currencies drops to zero. 

How long will it take governments around the world to learn that lesson?

Bottom line: if you hire the wrong tutor/advisors, you get the wrong results…no matter how pretty the girl next to you is.

Robert F. Sennholz

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