torstai 31. heinäkuuta 2014

The DAO Of Capital - Austrian Investing In a Distorted World

Tuli luettua The DAO of Capital – Austrian Investing in a Distorted World, jossa amerikkalainen entinen meklari ja hedge fund sijoittaja Mark Spitznagel pyrkii kertomaan, miten sijoittaa itävaltalaisen koulukunnan opein. Lähtökohtaisesti siis varsin kiinnostava aihe.
 
Mark Spitznagel: The DAO of Capital - Austrian Investing in a Distorted World
Kirja esittelee Carl Mengeria, Eugen von Böhm-Bawerkia, Ludwig von Misesia, Murray N. Rothbardia ja Friedrich A von Hayekia eli itävaltalaisia avainhenkilöitä ja heidän ajatuksiaan, mutta kyky esittää näistä teorioista pohjautuvaa sijoitusfilosofiaa jää valitettavan vajanaiseksi. Jää tunne, että itävaltalaisuus on kirjassa päälle liimattua. Kirjassa ollaan lähes koko ajan ikään kuin hukassa. Itävaltalaisuuden osalta herää epäilys siitä, kuinka syvällisesti kirjoittaja on itävaltalaiset teoksensa lukenut ja sisäistänyt. Ainakaan tätä kirjaa ei kannata käyttää välineenä aitoihin ajatuksiin tutustuessa.
 
Jos ja kun tavoitteena on kirjoittaa sijoituskirja, sorrutaan kirjassa kertomaan liiallisesti epäolennaisuuksia. Kirjan 290 tekstisivua olisi voinut käyttää paljon fiksummin. Vielä enemmän hukassa ollaan yrityksessä liittää entisajan itämaiset viisaudet (DAO) yhteen itävaltalaisen teorian kanssa ja vielä sijoittamisen viitekehyksessä. Se nyt vain ei toimi. Siis koko kirjan nimi, The DAO of Capital, ja sitä myötä sen markkinoima sijoitustyyli jää epäselväksi ja siten tylsäksi. Ihan hirveästi ei arvostusta herätä kertoa "Roundabout" metodista, eli vastakkaisuuden opista, jonka mukaan liikenneympyräkin osoittaa, että vasemmalle pääsee helpoimmin kääntymällä oikealle.
 
Kirjan lopussa esitellään kaksi sijoitustapaa, joista toinen on likimain indeksisijoittamista itse kehitetyn indeksin mukaisesti ja toinen tapa perustuu hyvien yhtiöiden ostamiseen. Tämä toinen tapa on kirjoittajankin mukaan lähellä arvosijoittamista. Ei siis mitään mullistavaa tai tieteellisesti poikkeuksellisen lahjakasta.
 
Suomalaisittain kirja menee loppusuoralla jo tragikoomisen puolelle, kun siinä yritetään selittää suomalaista sisua, talvisodan henkeä ja Sibeliusta. Sijoituskirjan kontekstissa nämä sivut veivät viimeisimmätkin uskottavuuden rippeet. Valitettavasti. En siis suosittele kirjaa lukemaan, en itävaltalaisena teoksena enkä sijoituskirjana. Heikko esitys kummassakin sarjassa. VMP voisi joku kiteyttää. Vaikka moni nimekäs kommentaattori on kirjaa kehunut, minä seison nyt oppositiossa. Pahoitteluni kirjoittajalle!
 
Huono kirja erinomaisesta aiheesta alkoi ärsyttämään minua niin paljon, että ajattelin pistää paremmaksi ja kiteyttää itävaltalaiseen teoriaan perustuvan kapitalistin mallisalkun yhdessä blogitekstissä. Sellainen on siis tulossa lähiaikoina, kunhan saan ajatukseni kootuksi ja kirjoitetuksi.

sunnuntai 29. kesäkuuta 2014

Ayn Rand: The Fountainhead

Suomessa ei tietääkseni ole kovin montaa henkilöä, joka olisi lukenut koko Ayn Randin tuotannon. Alan kohta olemaan lähellä tuota kyseenalaista meriittiä. Hulluutta, ajanhaaskausta vai jotain hyödyllistä? Kaikkea noista. Viime vuonna tuli luettua Atlas Shrugged, The Virtue of Selfishness, Capitalism - The Unknown Ideal ja For The New Intellectual. Nyt luettuna on The Fountainhead ja Philosophy - Who Needs it?. Seuraava Rand (Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology tai Anthem)saa nyt kuitenkin hetken odottaa vuoroaan.
 
Alkuinnostukseni heräsi pari vuotta sitten Randin filosofiaa kohtaan. Kerrankin löytyi kirjailija ja ajattelija, joka puolusti minua kiinnostavia arvoja ja asioita. Randilla on poikkeuksellinen kyky pukea sanoiksi ikuinen yksilön ja vapauden puolustaminen. Filosofisesti Rand on laadukasta luettavaa. Samoin yhteiskunnalliselta ajattelultaan Rand on terävää tekstiä. Tieteellisesti Randin lukeminen oli selkeä harharetki. Lähdin hakemaan Randilta ajatuksia väitöskirjani viitekehykseen, mutta siltä osin en ole saanut mitään. Rand ei ole akateemisesti noteerattava lähde ja teokset eivät ole missään määrin tieteellisiä, joten väitöskirjani kannalta hurahtaminen Randin kirjoihin oli puhtaasti ajanhaaskausta. Viihdearvoltaan Rand on vähintäänkin keskikastia. Kaunokirjallisina tuotoksina pääteokset Atlas Shrugged ja The Fountainhead ovat pääosin viihdyttävää luettavaa, mutta tarinaltaan turhan pitkiä. Sitaattiaineistoa saa paljon, ja sitä löytyykin kiitettävästi internetistä, esim täältä. Siispä kirjojen lukemisen sijasta Randin ajatuksiin kannattaa mielummin tutustua verkossa, ainakin aluksi. Näin säästyy merkittävästi aikaa muulle.
Ayn Rand: The Fountainhead
The Fountainhead

The Fountainhead on Randin toinen kuuluisa teos Atlas Shruggedin ohella. Osa pitää The Fountainheadia jopa ykkösteoksena, mutta minä asemoin sen kaunokirjallisten teosten kakkoseksi. Kyseessä on älyttömän iso kirja, 727 sivua, joten ihan hetken mielijohteesta tätä eeposta ei lueta. Kannattaa ylipäätään miettiä kaksi kertaa, haluaako tätä teosta lähteä lukemaan. Tarina on mielestäni liian pitkä, ja monilta osin jopa pitkästyttävä. Kuten sitaattipoiminnoistanikin huomaa, ensimmäiset 150 sivua on mukaansatempaavaa, mutta sen jälkeen tulee noin 450 sivun synkkä jakso, josta ei löydy juurikaan mielenkiintoisia asioita, ja siten teos meinaa viedä lukijansa epätoivoon. Meinasin itsekin lopettaa monta kertaa kesken. Lopun 150 sivua sitten onkin taas varsin tiukkaa tykitystä.

The Fountainheadin tarina on selostettu varsin hyvin muiden toimesta, joten en lähde sitä tässä enää selittämään. Kannattaa lukea se vaikka täältä. Kirjan sisältö selittyy parhaiten sen henkilöiden kautta. Ne löytyy hyvin kuvattuna myös täältä. Päähenkilö Howard Roark on periaatteen mies, jästipääksikin häntä voisi hyvin kutsua. Elää omien standardiensa mukaan, ei anna tippaakaan periksi, tiedostaa aina olevansa oman maailmakuvansa mukaisesti oikeassa. Kärsii koko elämänsä jääräpäisyytensä myötä menettämistä mahdollisuuksista, mutta ei silti luovu periaatteistaan. Kunnioitettavavaa sinänsä, mutta myös raskasta. Kirjaa lukiessa sitä usein miettii, pitääkö sitä ihmisen olla noin periaatteellinen ja kumpi onkaan tärkeämpää, olla omasta mielestään oikeassa vai olla onnellinen, jos näiden välillä on ristiriitaa. Koko kirjan ajan sitä miettii, miksi asioiden pitää mennä näin. Epäoikeudenmukaisuuden esille tuomalla, Roarkin rooliin samaistuminen on jopa ahdistava lukukokemus.

Kirjan suurin opetus on, että itsekkyys ei ole pahasta vaan nimenomaan päinvastainen eli itsettömyys. Itsetön on ihminen, joka ei ole sinut itsensä kanssa eikä kunnioita itseään vaan elää elämäänsä muille. Tämän epäkohdan The Fountainhead avaa monien arkipäiväisten hahmojen myötä. Liian moni hahmo toi mieleen vastineet oikeasta elämästä. Howard Roarkit sen sijaan ovat harvassa. Kuten myös John Galtit. Vai, kuka on John Galt? Kuten Atlas Shrugged, niin myös The Fountainhead huipentuu oikeussalissa pidettävään puheeseen. Puhe löytyy tämän tekstin lopusta. Lue vaikka se, sen sijaan The Fountainheadin lukemisen sijasta suosittelen muuta parempaa ajankäyttöä.

Poiminnot

"Rules? Here are my rules: what can be done with one substance must never be done with another. No two materials are alike. No two sites on earth are alike. Not two buildings have the same purpose. The purpose, the site, the material determine the shape. Nothing can be reasonable or beautiful unless it's made by one central idea, and the idea sets every detail. A building is alive, like a man. Its integrity is to follow its own truth, its one single theme, and to serve its own single purpose. A man doen't borrow pieces of his body. A building doesn't borrow hunks of its soul. Its maker gives it the soul and every wall, window and stairway to express it." - Howard Roark (12)

"Every form has its own meaning. Every man creates his meaning and form and goal." - Howard Roark (12)

"I set my own standards. I inherit nothing. I stand at the end of no tradition. I may, perhaps, stand at the beginning of one" - Howard Roark (13)

"I take the only desire one can really permit oneself. Freedom, Alvah, freedom."
"You call that freedom?"
"To ask nothing. To expect nothing. To depend on nothing." - Howard Roark (141)

"The ability to say Yes or No is the essence of all ownership. It's your ownership of your own ego. Your soul, if you wish. Your soul has a single basic function - the act of valuing. Yes or No, "I wish" or "I do not wish". You can't say Yes without saying I. There's no affirmation without the onw who affirms. In this sense, everything to which you grant your love is yours." - Howard Roark (564)

"Before you can do things for people, you must be the kind of man who can get things done. But to get things done, you must love the doing, not the secondary consequences. The work, not the people. Your own action, not any possible object of your charity." - Howard Roark (604)

"A private, personal, selfish, egotistical motivation. That's the only way I function. That's all I am." Howard Roark (606)

"I don't make comparisons. I never think of myself in relation to anyone else. I just refuse to measure myself as part of anything. I'm an utter egotist." - Howard Roark (608)

"Egotistical? An egotist would have loved it. You use words in the strangest way". - Wynand
"In the exact way. I don't wish to be the symbol of anything. I'm only myself". - Howard Roark (631)

“Yes! And isn't that the root of every despicable action? Not selfishness, but precisely the absence of a self. Look at them. The man who cheats and lies, but preserves a respectable front. He knows himself to be dishonest, but others think he's honest and he derives his self-respect from that, second-hand. The man who takes credit for an achievement which is not his own. He knows himself to be mediocre, but he's great in the eyes of others. The frustrated wretch who professes love for the inferior and clings to those less endowed, in order to establish his own superiority by comparison. The man whose sole aim is to make money. Now I don't see anything evil in a desire to make money. But money is only a means to some end. If a man wants it for a personal purpose--to invest in his industry, to create, to study, to travel, to enjoy luxury--he's completely moral. But the men who place money first go much beyond that. Personal luxury is a limited endeavor. What they want is ostentation: to show, to stun, to entertain, to impress others. They're second-handers. Look at our so-called cultural endeavors. A lecturer who spouts some borrowed rehash of nothing at all that means nothing at all to him--and the people who listen and don't give a damn, but sit there in order to tell their friends that they have attended a lecture by a famous name. All second-handers.” - Howard Roark (633)

"A truly selfish man cannot be affected by the approval of others. He doesn't need it. ... Your ego is your strictest judge. They run from it. They spend their lives running. It's easier to donate a few thousands to charity and think oneself noble than to base self-respect on personal standards of personal achievement. It's simple to seek substitutes for competence - such easy substitutes: love, charm, kindness, charity. But there is no substitute for competence. That, precisely, is the deadliness of second-handlers. They have no concern for facts, ideas, work. They're concerned only with people. They don't ask: Is this true? They ask: Is this what others think is true? Not to judge, but to repeat. Not to do, but to give the impression of doing. Not creation, but show. Not ability, bud friendship. Not merit, but pull. What would happen to the world without those who do, think, work, produce? Those are all the egotists. You don't think through another's brain and you don't work through another's hands. When you suspend your faculty of independent judgment, you suspend consciousness. To stop consciousness is to stop life." - Howard Roark (634)

"Every form of happiness is private. Our greatest moments are personal, self-motivated, not to be touched. The things which are sacred or precious to us are the things we withdraw from promiscuous sharing." - Howard Roark (635)

"I think the only cardinal evil on earth is that of placing your prime concern within other men. I've always demanded a certain quality in the people I liked. I've always recognized it at once - and it's the only quality I respect in men. I chose my friends by that. Now I know what it is. A self-sufficient ego. Nothing else matters." - Howard Roark (636)

"If one doesn't respect oneself one can have neither love nor respect from others." - Howard Roark (636)

"The worst second-handler of all - the man who goes after power". - Howard Roark (636)

Howard Roarkin puhe oikeudessa

“Thousands of years ago, the first man discovered how to make fire. He was probably burned at the stake he had taught his brothers to light. He was considered an evildoer who had dealt with a demon mankind dreaded. But thereafter men had fire to keep them warm, to cook their food, to light their caves. He had left them a gift they had not conceived and he had lifted dardness off the earth. Centuries later, the first man invented the wheel. He was probably torn on the rack he had taught his brothers to build. He was considered a transgressor who ventured into forbidden terrritory. But thereafter, men could travel past any horizon. He had left them a gift they had not conceived and he had opened the roads of the world.

“That man, the unsubmissive and first, stands in the opening chapter of every legend mankind has recorded about its beginning. Prometheus was chained to a rock and torn by vultures—because he had stolen the fire of the gods. Adam was condemned to suffer—because he had eaten the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Whatever the legend, somewhere in the shadows of its memory mankind knew that its glory began with one and that that one paid for his courage.
“Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision. Their goals differed, but they all had this in common: that the step was first, the road new, the vision unborrowed, and the response they received—hatred. The great creators—the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors—stood alone against the men of their time. Every great new thought was opposed. Every great new invention was denounced. The first motor was considered foolish. The airplane was considered impossible. The power loom was considered vicious. Anesthesia was considered sinful. But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered and they paid. But they won.

“No creator was prompted by a desire to serve his brothers, for his brothers rejected the gift he offered and that gift destroyed the slothful routine of their lives. His truth was his only motive. His own truth, and his own work to achieve it in his own way. A symphony, a book, an engine, a philosophy, an airplane or a building—that was his goal and his life. Not those who heard, read, operated, believed, flew or inhabited the thing he had created. The creation, not its users. The creation, not the benefits others derived from it. The creation which gave form to his truth. He held his truth above all things and against all men.
“His vision, his strength, his courage came from his own spirit. A man's spirit, however, is his self. That entity which is his consciousness. To think, to feel, to judge, to act are functions of the ego.

The creators were not selfless. It is the whole secret of their power—that it was self-sufficient, self-motivated, self-generated. A first cause, a fount of energy, a life force, a Prime Mover. The creator served nothing and no one. He lived for himself.
And only by living for himself was he able to achieve the things which are the glory of mankind. Such is the nature of achievement.

“Man cannot survive except through his mind. He comes on earth unarmed. His brain is his only weapon. Animals obtain food by force. Man has no claws, no fangs, no horns, no great strength of muscle. He must plant his food or hunt it. To plant, he needs a process of thought. To hunt, he needs weapons, and to make weapons—a process of thought. From this simplest necessity to the highest religious abstraction, from the wheel to the skyscraper, everything we are and everything we have comes from a single attribute of man—the function of his reasoning mind.
But the mind is an attribute of the individual. There is no such thing as a collective brain. There is no such thing as a collective thought. An agreement reached by a group of men is only a compromise or an average drawn upon many individual thoughts. It is a secondary consequence. The primary act—the process of reason—must be performed by each man alone. We can divide a meal among many men. We cannot digest it in a collective stomach. No man can use his lungs to breathe for another man. No man can use his brain to think for another. All the functions of body and spirit are private. They cannot be shared or transferred.

“We inherit the products of the thought of other men. We inherit the wheel. We make a cart. The cart becomes an automobile. The automobile becomes an airplane. But all through the process what we receive from others is only the end product of their thinking. The moving force is the creative faculty which takes this product as material, uses it and originates the next step. This creative faculty cannot be given or received, shared or borrowed. It belongs to single, individual men. That which it creates is the property of the creator. Men learn from one another. But all learning is only the exchange of material. No man can give another the capacity to think. Yet that capacity is our only means of survival.
"Nothing is given to man on earth. Everything he needs has to be produced. And here man faces his basic alternative: he can survive in only one of two ways—by the independent work of his own mind or as a parasite fed by the minds of others. The creator originates. The parasite borrows. The creator faces nature alone. The parasite faces nature through an intermediary.

The creator’s concern is the conquest of nature. The parasite’s concern is the conquest of men.
"The creator lives for his work. He needs no other men. His primary goal is within himself. The parasite lives second-hand. He needs others. Others become his prime motive.

“The basic need of the creator is independence. The reasoning mind cannot work under any form of compulsion. It cannot be curbed, sacrificed or subordinated to any consideration whatsoever. It demands total independence in function and in motive. To a creator, all relations with men are secondary.
“The basic need of the second-hander is to secure his ties with men in order to be fed. He places relations first. He declares that man exists in order to serve others. He preaches altruism.

“Altruism is the doctrine which demands that man live for others and place others above self.
“No man can live for another. He cannot share his spirit just as he cannot share his body. But the second-hander has used altruism as a weapon of expoloitation and reversed the base of mankind’s moral principles. Men have been taught every precept that destroys the creator. Men have been taught dependence as a virtue.

The man who attemps to live for others is a dependent. He is a parasite in motive and makes parasites of those he serves. The relationship produces nothing but mutual corruption. It is impossible in concept. The nearest approach to it in reality—the man who lives to serve others—is the slave. If physical slavery is repulsive, how much more repulsive is the concept of servility of the spirit? The conquered slave has a vestige of honor. He has the merit of having resisted and of considering his condition evil. But the man who enslaves himself voluntarily in the name of love is the basest of creatures. He degrades the dignity of man and he degrades the conception of love. But this is the essence of altruism.
Men have been taught that the highest virtue is not to achieve, but to give. Yet one cannot give that which has not been created. Creation comes before distribution—or there will be nothing to distribute. The need of the creator comes before the need of any possible beneficiary. Yet we are taught to admire the second-hander who dispenses gifts he has not produced above the man who made the gifts possible. We praise an act of charity. We shrug at an act of achievement.

“Men have been taught that their first concern is to relieve the sufferings of others. But suffering is a disease. Should one come upon it, one tries to give relief and assistance. To make that the highest test of virtue is to make suffering the most important part of life. Then man must wish to see others suffer—in order that he may be virtuous. Such is the nature of altruism. The creator is not concerned with disease, but with life. Yet the work of the creators has eliminated one form of disease after another, in man’s body and spirit, and brought more relief from suffering than any altruist could ever conceive.
Men have been taught that it is a virtue to agree with others. But the creator is the man who disagrees. Men have been taught that it is a virtue to swim with the current. But the creator is the man who goes against the current. Men have been taught that it is a virtue to stand together. But the creator is the man who stands alone.

“Men have been taught that the ego is the synonym of evil, and selflessness the ideal of virtue. But the creator is the egotist in the absolute sense, and the selfless man is the one who does not think, feel, judge or act. These are functions of the self.
“Here the basic reversal is most deadly. The issue has been perverted and man has been left no alternative—and no freedom. As poles of good and evil, he was offered two conceptions: egotism and altruism. Egotism was held to mean the sacrifice of others to self. Altruism—the sacrifice of self to others. This tied man irrevocably to other men and left him nothing but a choice of pain: his own pain borne for the sake of others or pain inflicted upon others for the sake of self. When it was added that man must find joy in self-immolation, the trap was closed. Man was forced to accept masochism as his ideal—under the threat that sadism was his only alternative. This was the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on mankind.

“This was the device by which dependence and suffering were perpetuated as fundamentals of life.
“The choice is not self-sacrifice or domination. The choice is independence or dependence. The code of the creator or the code of the second-hander. This is the basic issue. It rests upon the alternative of life or death. The code of the creator is built on the needs of the reasoning mind which allows man to survive. The code of the second-hander is built on the needs of a mind incapable of survival. All that which proceeds from man’s independent ego is good. All that which proceeds from man’s dependence upon men is evil.

The egotist is the absolute sense is not the man who sacrifices others. He is the man who stands above the need of using others in any manner. He does not function through them. He is not concerned with them in any primary matter. Not in his aim, not in his motive, not in his thinking, not in his desires, not in the source of his energy. He does not exist for any other man—and he asks no other man to exist for him. This is the only form of brotherhood and mutual respect possible between men.
“Degrees of ability vary, but the basic principle remains the same: the degree of a man’s independence, initiative and personal love for his work determines his talent as a worker and his worth as a man. Independence is the only gauge of human virtue and value. What a man is and makes of himself; not what he has or hasn’t done for others. There is no substitute for personal dignity. There is no standard of personal dignity except independence.

In all proper relationships there is no sacrifice of anyone to anyone. An architect needs clients, but he does not subordinate his work to their wishes. They need him, but they do not order a house just to give him a commission. Men exchange their work by free, mutual consent to mutual advantage when their personal interests agree and they both desire the exchange. If they do not desire it, they are not forced to deal with each other. They seek further. This is the only possible form of relationship between equals. Anything else is a relation of slave to master, or victim to executioner.
“No work is ever done collectively, by a majority decision. Every creative job is achieved under the guidance of a single individual thought. An architect requires a great many men to erect his building. But he does not ask them to vote on his design. They work together by free agreement and each is free in his proper function. An architect uses steel, glass, concrete, produced by others. But the materials remain just so much steel, glass and concrete until he touches them. What he does with them is his individual product and his individual property. This is the only pattern for proper co-operation among men.

The first right on earth is the right of the ego. Man’s first duty is to himself. His moral law is never to place his prime goal within the persons of others. His moral obligation is to do what he wishes, provided his wish does not depend primarily upon other men. This includes the whole sphere of his creative faculty, his thinking, his work. But it does not include the sphere of the gangster, the altruist and the dictator.
“A man thinks and works alone. A man cannot rob, exploit or rule—alone. Robbery, exploitation and ruling presuppose victims. They imply dependence. They are the province of the second-hander.

“Rulers of men are not egotists. They create nothing. They exist entirely through the persons of others. Their goal is in their subjects, in the activity of enslaving. They are as dependent as the beggar, the social worker and the bandit. The form of dependence does not matter.
“But men were taught to regard second-handers—tyrants, emperors, dictators—as exponents of egotism. By this fraud they were made to destroy the ego, themselves and others. The purpose of the fraud was to destroy the creators. Or to harness them. Which is a synonym.

“From the beginning of history, the two antagonists have stood face to face: the creator and the second-hander. When the first creator invented the wheel, the first second-hander responded. He invented altruism.
“The creator—denied, opposed, persecuted, exploited—went on, moved forward and carried all humanity along on his energy. The second-hander contributed nothing to the process except the impediments. The contest has another name: the individual against the collective.

“The ‘common good’ of a collective—a race, a class, a state—was the claim and justification of every tyranny ever established over men. Every major horror of history was committed in the name of an altruistic motive. Has any act of selfishness ever equaled the carnage perpetrated by disciples of altruism? Does the fault lie in men’s hypocrisy or in the nature of the principle? The most dreadful butchers were the most sincere. They believed in the perfect society reached through the guillotine and the firing squad. Nobody questioned their right to murder since they were murdering for an altruistic purpose. It was accepted that man must be sacrificed for other men. Actors change, but the course of the tragedy remains the same. A humanitarian who starts with declarations of love for mankind and ends with a sea of blood. It goes on and will go on so long as men believe that an action is good if it is unselfish. That permits the altruist to act and forces his victims to bear it. The leaders of collectivist movements ask nothing for themselves. But observe the results.
The only good which men can do to one another and the only statement of their proper relationship is—Hands off!

“Now observe the results of a society built on the principle of individualism. This, our country. The noblest country in the history of men. The country of greatest achievement, greatest prosperity, greatest freedom. This country was not based on selfless service, sacrifice, renunciation or any precept of altruism. It was based on a man’s right to the pursuit of happiness. His own happiness. Not anyone else’s. A private, personal, selfish motive. Look at the results. Look into your own conscience.
“It is an ancient conflict. Men have come close to the truth, but it was destroyed each time and one civilization fell after another. Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage’s whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.

“Now, in our age, collectivism, the rule of the second-hander and second-rater, the ancient monster, has broken loose and is running amuck. It has brought men to a level of intellectual indecency never equaled on earth. It has reached a scale of horror without precedent. It has poisoned every mind. It has swallowed most of Europe. It is engulfing our country.
“I am an architect. I know what is to come by the principle on which it is built. We are approaching a world in which I cannot permit myself to live.

“Now you know why I dynamited Cortlandt.
“I designed Cortlandt. I gave it to you. I destroyed it.

“I destroyed it because I did not choose to let it exist. It was a double monster. In form and in implication. I had to blast both. The form was mutilated by two second-handers who assumed the right to improve upon that which they had not made and could not equal. They were permitted to do it by the general implication that the altruistic purpose of the building superseded all rights and that I had no claim to stand against it.
“I agreed to design Cortlandt for the purpose of seeing it erected as I dedigned it and for no other reason. That was the price I set for my work. I was not paid.

“I do not blame Peter Keating. He was helpless. He had a contract with his employers. It was ignored. He had a promise that the structure he offered would be built as designed. The promise was broken. The love of a man for the integrity of his work and his right to preserve it are now considered a vague intangible and an inessential. You have heard the prosecutor say that. Why was the building disfigured? For no reason. Such acts never have any reason, unless it’s the vanity of some second-handers who feel they have a right to anyone’s property, spiritual or material. Who permitted them to do it? No particular man among the dozens in authority. No one cared to permit it or to stop it. No one was responsible. No one can be held to account. Such is the nature of all collective action.
“I did not receive the payment I asked. But the owners of Cortlandt got what they needed from me. They wanted a scheme devised to build a structure as cheaply as possible. They found no one else who could do it to their satisfaction. I could and did. They took the benefit of my work and made me contribute it as a gift. But I am not an altruist. I do not contribute gifts of this nature.

“It is said that I have destroyed the home of the destitute. It is forgotten that but for me the destitute could not have had this particular home. Those who were concerned with the poor had to come to me, who have never been concerned, in order to help the poor. It is believed that the poverty of the future tenants gave them the right to my work. That their need constituted a claim on my life. That it was my duty to contribute anything demanded of me. This is the second-hander’s credo now swallowing the world.
"I came here to say that I do not recognize anyone’s right to one minute of my life. Nor to any part of my energy. Nor to any achievement of mine. No matter who makes the claim, how large their number or how great their need.

“I wished to come here and say that I am a man who does not exist for others.
“It had to be said. The world is perishing from an orgy of self-sacrificing.

“I wished to come here and say that the integrity of a man’s creative work is of greater importance than any charitable endeavor. Those of you who do not understand this are the men who’re destroying the world.
“I wished to come here and state my terms. I do not care to exist on any others.

I recognize no obligations toward men except one: to respect their freedom and to take no part in a slave society. To my country, I wish to give the ten years which I will spend in jail if my country exists no longer. I will spend them in memory and in gratitude for what my country has been. It will be my act of loyalty, my refusal to live or work in what has taken its place.
“My act of loyalty to every creator who ever lived and was made to suffer by the force responsible for the Cortlandt I dynamited. To every tortured hour of loneliness, denial, frustration, abuse he was made to spend—and to the battles he won. To every creator whose name is known—and to every creator who lived, struggled and perished unrecognized before he could achieve. To every creator who was destroyed in body or in spirit. To Henry Cameron. To Steven Mallory. To a man who doesn’t want to be named, but who is sitting in this courtroom and knows that I am speaking of him.”

tiistai 20. toukokuuta 2014

Benjamin Graham: The Intelligent Investor - The Definitive Book on Value Investing

"I read the first edition of this book early in 1950, when I was nineteen. I thought then that it was by far the best book about investing ever written. I still think it is. To invest successfully over a lifetime does not require a stratospheric IQ, unusual business insights, or inside information. What's needed is a sound intellectual framework for making decisions and the ability to keep emotions from corroding that framework. This book precisely and clearly prescribes the proper framework. You must supply the emotional discipline." - Warren Buffet.
 
There is nothing to add to this Warren Buffet's comment about Benjamin Graham's legendary book The Intelligent Investor - The Definite Book on Value Investing. This book is clearly a must read for any investor - intelligent or not. This book is like the Bible of Investing. It explains all the key principles you need in investing, especially if you prefer value investing. Many people, me included, spend their time on reading all types of investment books without choosing the best, the most fundamental one. Why? Why don't you just take time for these 622 pages once and learn the ideas from their original source? It's highly worth it!
 
Here below is a relatively short summary about this book. This is a commentary version, due to which I have marked commentaries in italics. These comments are not original Graham's, but still many of them are worth highlighting. Hopefully you can get some basic ideas from here. Anyway, my point is clear: read this book!

Benjamin Graham - The Intelligent Investor
Benjamin Graham - The Intelligent Investor - The Definite Book on Value Investing

Graham developed his core principles, which are:
1) A stock is not just a ticket symbol or an electronic blip; it is an ownership interest in an actual business, with an underlying value that does not depend on its share price.
2) The market is a pendulum that forever swings between unsustainable optimism (which make stocks too expensive) and unjustified pessimism (which makes stocks too cheap). The intelligent investor is a realist who sells to optimists and buys from pessimists.
3) The future value of every investment is a function of its present price. The higher the price you pay, the lower your return will be.
4) No matter how careful you are, the one risk no investor can ecer eliminate is the risk of being wrong. Only by investing on what Grahan called the "margin of safety" - never overpaying, no matter how exciting an investment seems to be - can you minimize your odds of error.
5) The secret of your financial success is inside yourself. If you become a critical thinker who takes no Wall Street "fact" on faith, and you invest with patient confidence, you can take steady advantage of even the worst bear markets. By developing your discipline and courage, you can refuse to let other people's mood swings govern your financial destiny. In the end, how your investments behave is much less important than how you behave.

Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

There are no sure and easy paths to riches on Wall Street or anywhere else.

It has long been the prevalent view that the art of successful investment lies first in the choice of those instruments that are most likely to grow in the future and then in identifying the most promising companies in these industries. But this is not as easy as it always looks in retrospect:
1) Obvious prospects for physical growth in a business do not translate into obvious profits for investors.
2) The experts do not have dependable ways of selecting and concentrating on the most promising companies in the most promising industries.
The ultimate results of such a conservative policy is likely to work out better than exciting adventures into the glamorous and dangerous fields of anticipated growth.

The investor's chief problem - and even his worst enemy - is likely to be himself.

An investment operation is one which, upon thorough analysis promises safety of principal and an adequate return. Operations not meeting these requirements are speculative. ...Never mingle your speculative and investment operations in the same account nor in any part of your thinking.

We recommend that the investor divide his holdings between high-grade bonds and leading common stocks; that the proportion held in bonds be never less than 25% or more than 75%, with the converse being necessarily true for the common-stock component; that his simplest choice would be to maintain a 50-50 proportion between the two, with adjustments to restore the equality when market developments had disturbed it by as much as, say 5%. As an alternative policy he might choose to reduce his common-stock component to 25% "if he felt the market was dangerously high" and conversely to advance it toward the maximum of 75% "if he felt that a decline in stock prices was making them increasingly attractive".

The defensive investor must confine himself to the shares of important companies with a long record of profitable operations and in strong financial condititon. Aggressive investors may buy other types of common stocks, but they should be on a definitely attractive basis as established by intelligent analysis.

Stock trading is not an operation "which, on thorough analysis, offers safety of principal and a satisfactory return".

To enjoy a reasonable chance for continued better than average results, the investor mus follow policies which are 1) inherently sound and promising, and 2) not popular on Wall Street.

Motley Fool Model: 1) Take the five stocks in Dow Jones Industrial Average with the lowest stock prices and highest dividend yields. 2) Discard the one with the lowest price. 3) Put 40% of your money in the stock with the second-lowest price. 4) Put 20% in each of the three remaining stocks. 5) One year later, sort the Dow the same way and reset the portfolio accordingly to steps 1 through 4. 6) Repeat until wealthy.

Stocks do well or poorly in the future because the businesses behind them do well or poorly - nothing more, nothing less.

Is there a persuasive reason to believe that common stocks are likely to do much better in future years than they have in the last five and one-half decades? Our answer to this crucial question must be a flat no. Common stocks may do better in the future than in the past, but they are far from certain to do so.

The only way that inflation can add to common stock values is by raising the rate of earnings on capital investment. On basis of the past record this has not been the case.

The intelligent investor must never forecast the future exclusively by extrapolating the past. ...Tne only thing you can be confident of while forcasting future stock returns is that you will probably turn out to be wrong. The only indisputable truth that the past teaches us is that the future will always surprise us - always! And the corollary to that law of financial history is that the markets will most brutally surprise the very people who are most certain that their views about the future are right.

The value of any investment is, and always must be, a function of the price you pay for it.

In the financial markets, the worse the future looks, the better it usually turns out to be.

General portfolio theory

It has been and old and sound principle that those who cannot afford to take risks should be content with a relatively low returns on their invested funds. From this there has developed the general notion that the rate of return on which the investor should aim for is more or less proportionate to the degree of risk he is ready to run. Our view is different. The rate of return sought shold be dependent, rather, on the amount of intelligent effort the investor is willing and able to bring to bear his task. The minimum return goes to our passive investor, who wants both safety and freedom from concern. The maximum return would be realized by the alert and enterprising investor who exercises maximum intelligent and skill.

There are two ways to be an intelligent investor: 1) by continually researching, selecting and monitoring a dynamic mix of stocks, bonds, or mutual funds. 2) or by creating a permanent portfolio that runs on autopilot and requires no further effort (but generates very little excitement). Graham calls the first approach "active" or "enterprising"; it takes lots of time and loads of energy. The "passive" of "defensive" strategy takes little time or effort but requires an almost ascetic detachment from the alluring hullabaloo of the market. Charles Ellis has explained, the entreprising approach is physically and intellectually taxing, while the defensive approach is emotionally demanding. If you have time to spare, are highly competitive, think like a sports fan, and relish a complicated intellectual challenge, then the active approach is up your alley. If you always feel rushed, crave simplicity, and don't relish thinking about money, then the passive approach is for you. Some people will feel most comfortable combining both methods - creating a portfolio that is mainly and partly passive, or vice versa. Both approaches are equally intelligent, and you can be successful with either - but only if you know yourself well enough to pick the right one, stick with it over the course of your investing lifetime, and keep your costs and emotions under control.

Rules for the Common-Stock Component for Defensive Investor:
1) There should be adequate though not excessive diversification. This might mean a minimum of then different issues and a maximum of about thirty.
2) Each company selected should be large, prominent, and conservatively financed. Indefinite as these adjectives must be, their general sense is clear.
3) Each company should have a long record of continuous dividend payments.
4) The investor should impose some limit on the price he will pay for an issue in relation to its average earnings over, say, the past seven years. We suggest that this limit be set at 25 times such average earnings, and not more than 20 times those of the last twelve-month period. But such a restriction would eliminate nearly all the strongest and most popular companies from the portfolio. In particular, it would ban virtually the entire category of "growth stocks", which have for some years past been the favorites of both speculators and institutional investors.

An industrial company's finances are not conservative unless the common stock (at book value) represent at least half of the total capitalization, including all bank debt.

Insiders (people who work for the company) often possess only the illusion of knowledge, not the real thing. Psychologists led by Baruch Fischhoff of Carnegie Mellon University have documented a disturbing fact: becoming more familiar with a subject does not significantly reduce people's tendency to exaggerate how much they actually know about it. That's why "investing in what you know" can be so dangerous; the more you know going in, the less likely you are to probe a stock for weaknesses. The pernicious form of overconfidence is called "home bias", or the habit of sticking to what is already familiar: 1) individual investors own three times more shares in their local phone company than in all other phone companies combined. 2) The typical mutual fund owns stocks whose HQ are 115 miles closer to the fund's main office than the average U.S. company is. 3) 401(k) investors keep between 25%-30% of their retirement assets in the stock of their own company.

Once you build a permanent autopilot with index funds as its heart and core, you'll be able to answer every market question with the most powerful response a defensive investor could ever have: "I don't know and I don't care".

The knowledge of how little you can know about the future, coupled with the acceptance of your ignorance, is a defensive investor's most powerful weapon.

Buying a bond only for its yield is like getting married only for the sex.

Weighting the evidence objectively, the intelligent investor should conclude that IPO does not stand only for "initial public offering". More accurately, it is also shorthand for: It's Probably Overpriced, Imaginary Profits Only, Insiders' Private Opportunity, or Idiotic, Preposterous and Outrageous.

Operations in Common Stocks for Active Investor

The activities specially characteristics of the enterprising investor in the common-stock field may be classified under four heads:
1) Buying in low markets and selling in high markets
2) Buying carefully chosen "growth stocks".
3) Buying bargain issues of various types
4) Buying into "special situations".

We have two major sources of undervaluation: 1) currenlty disappointing results and 2) protacted neglet or unpopularity.

The ideal combination is a large and prominent company selling both well below its past average price and its past average price/earnings multiplier.

There is a world of difference between "hindsight profits" and "real-money profits".

As an investor you cannot soundly become "half a businessman", expecting thereby to achieve half the normal rate of business profits on your funds. It follows from this reasoning that the majority of security owners should elect the defensive classification. They do not have the time, or the determination, or the mental equipment to embark upon investing as a quasi-business. They should therefore be satisfied with the excellent return now obtainable from a defensive portfolio (and even with less), and they should stoutly resist the recurrent temptation to increase this return by deviating into other paths.

"It requires a great deal of boldness and a great deal od caution to make a great fortune; and when you have got it, it requires ten times as much with to keep it". -Nathan Mayer Rothschild

A great company is not a great investment if you pay too much for the stock.

"Put all your eggs into one basket and then watch that basket" proclaimed Andrew Carnegie a century ago. "Do not scatter your shot. ...The great successes of life are made by concentration." As Graham points out, "the really big fortunes from common stock" have been made by people whp packed all their money into one investment they knew supremely well. Nearly all the richest people in America trace their wealth to a concentrated investment in a single industry or even a single company (Bill Gates, Sam Walton, Rockefellers...). The Forbes 400 list has been dominated by undiversified fortunes since it was first compiled in 1982. However, almost no small fortunes have been made this way - and not many big fortunes have been kept this way. What Carnegie neglected to mention is that concentration also makes of the great failures of life.

It is absurd to think that the general public can ever make money out of market forecasts. For who will you buy when the general public, at a given signal, rushes to sell out at a profit? If you, the reader, expect to get rich over the years by following some system or leadership in market forecasting, you must be expecting to try to do what countless others are aiming at, and to be able to do it better than your numerous competitors in the market. There is no basis either in logic or in experience for assuming that any typical or average investor can anticipate market movements more successfully than the general public, of which he is himself a part.

Nearly all the bull markets had a number of well-defined characteristics in common, such as 1) a historically high price level, 2) high price/earnings ratios, 3) low dividend yields as against bond yields, (4) much speculation on margin, and (5) many offerings of new common-stock issues of poor quality. (193)

The better a company's record and prospects, the less relationship the price of its shares will have to their book value. But the greater the premium above the book value, the less certain the basis of determining its intrinsic value, i.e., the more this "value" will depend on the changing moods and measurements of the stock market. Thus we reach the final paradox, that the more successful the company, the greater are likely to be the fluctuations in the price of its shares. (198)

Net asset value, book value, balance-sheet value, and tangible-asset value are all synonyms for net worth, or the total value of a company's physical and financial assets minus all its liabilities. It can be calculated using the balance sheet in a company's annual and quarterly reports; from total shareholder's equity, subtract all "soft" assets such as goodwill, trademarks, and other intangibles. Divide by the fully diluted number of shares outstanding to arrive at book value per share. (198)

A stock does not become a sound investment merely because it can be bought at close to its asset value. The investor should demand, in addition, a satisfactory ratio of earnings to price, a sufficient strong financial position, and the prospect that its earnings will at least be maintained over the years. (200)

Investing intelligently is about controlling the controllable. (219)

Investing isn't about beating others at their game. It's about controlling yourself at your own game. (219)

If your investment horizon is long - at least 25 or 30 years - there is only one sensible approach: Buy every month, automatically, and whenever else you can spare some money. The single best choice for this lifelong holding is a total stock-market index fund. Sell only when you need the cash. (219)

After all, the whole point of investing is not to earn more money than average, but to earn enough money to meet your own needs. The best way to measure your investing success is not by whether you're beating the market but by whether you've put in place a financial plan and a behavioral discipline that are likely to get you where you want to go. (220)

Late in his life, Graham praised index funds as the best choice for individual investor, as does Warren Buffet. (249)

As the investmen consultant Charles Ellis puts it, "If you are not prepared to stay married, you shouldn't get married." Fund investing is no different. If you're not prepared to stick with a fund through at least three lean years, you shouldn't buy it in the first place. Patience is the fund invetor's single most powerful ally. (256)

Formula for valuation of growth stocks: Value = Current (Normal) Earnings X (8.5 plus twice the expected annual growth rate). (295)

The most basic possible definition of a good business is this: It generates more cash than it consumes. Good managers keep finding ways of putting that cash to productive use. In the long run, companies that meet this definition are virtually certain to grow in value, no matter what the stock market does. (308)

If owners earnings per share have grown at a steady average of at least 6% or 7% over the past 10 years, the company is a stable generator of cash, and its prospects for growth are good. (308)

Don't take a single year's earnings seriously. (310)

In short, pro forma earnings enable companies to show how well they might have done if they hadn't done as badly as they did. As an intelligent investor, the only thing you should do with pro forma earnings is to ignore them. (323)

Stock Selection for the Defensive Investor: 1) Adequate Size of the Enterprise, 2) A Sufficient Strong Financial Condition (Current assets should be at least twiec current liabilities), 3) Earnings Stability (for the past 10 years), 4) Dividend Record (uninterrupted payments for at least the past 20 years), 5) Earnings Growth (a minimum increase of at least one-third in per-share earnings in the past ten years using three-years averages at the beginning and end), 6) Moderate Price/Earnings Ratio (current price should not be more than 15 times average earnings of the past three years). (349)

As a rule of thumb we suggest that the product of the multiplier times the ratio of price to book value should not exceed 22.5. This figure corresponds to 15 times earnings and 1.5 times book value. It would admit an issue selling at only 9 times earnings and 2.5 times asset value etc. (349)

We invest in the present, but we invest for the future. (364)

In the short run the market is a voting machine, but in the long run it is a weighnig machine. (477)

Graham begins his original (1949) discussion "The Investor as Business Owner" by pointing out that, in theory, "the stockholders as a class are king. Acting as a majority they can hire and fire management and bend them completely to their will". But, in practice, says Graham, the shareholders are a complete washout. As a class they show neither intelligence nor alertness. They vote in sheeplike fashion for whatever the management recommends and no matter how poor the management's record of accomplishment may be... The only way to inspire the average American shareholder to take any independently intelligent action would be by exloiding out the paradoxical fact that Jesus seems to have been a more practical businessman than are American shareholders. (498)

Today's investors have forgotten Graham's message. They put most of their effort into buying a stock, a little into selling it - but none into owning it. "Certainly", Graham reminds us, "there is just as much reason to exercise care and judgement in being as in becoming a stockholder". Then, how to be an intelligent owner? There are just two basic questions to which stockholders should turn their attention: 1) Is the management reasonably efficient? 2) Are the interest of the average outside shareholder receiving proper recognition? (499)

Graham succests that every company's independet board member should have to report to the shareholders in writing on whether the business is properly managed on behalf of its true owners. (511)

The function of the margin of safety is, in essence, that of rendering unnecessary an accurate estimate of the future. If the margin will not fall far below those of the past in order for an investor to feel sufficiently protected against the vicissitudes of time. The margin of safety for bonds can be calculated, alternatively, by comparing the total value of the enterprise with the amount of debt. If the business owes 10 million and is fairly worth 30 million, there is room for a shrinkage of two-thirds in value - at least theoretically - before the bondholders will suffer loss. (513)

The risk of paying too high price for a good-quality stocks - while a real one - is not the chief hazard confronting the average buyer of securities. Observations over many years has taught us that the chief losses to investors come from the purchase of low-quality securities at times of favorable business conditions. (516)

There is no such thing as a good or a bad stock; there are only cheap stocks and expensive stocks. Even the best company becomes a "sell" when its stock price goes too high, while the worst company is worth buing if its stock goes low enough. (521)

Investment is most intelligent when it is most businesslike. (523)

Every corporate security may best be viewed, in the first instance, as an ownership interest in, or a claim against, a specific business enterprise. (523)

"Know what you are doing - know your business." Do not try to make "business profits" out of securities - that is, returns in excess of normal interest and dividend income - unless you know as much about security values as you would need to know about the value of merchandise that you proposed to manufacture or deal in. (523)

"Do not let anyone else run your business, unless (1) you can supervise his performance with adequate care and comprehension or (2) you ahve unusually strong reasons for placing implicit confidence in his integrity and ability." (523)

"Do not enter upon an operation - that is, manufacturing or trading in an item - unless a reliable calculations shows that it has a fair chance to yield a reasonable profit. In particular, keep away from ventures in which you have little to gain and much to lose". (523)

"Have the courage of your knowledge and experience. If you have formed a conclusion from the facts and if you know your judgment is sound, act on it - even though others may hesitate of differ." (523)

To achieve satisfactory investment results is easier that most people realize; to achieve superior results is harder than it looks. (523)

Successful investing is about managing risks, not avoiding it. (535)

Without a saving faith in the future, no onw would ever invest at all. To be an investor, you must be a believer in a better tomorrow. (535)

To keep investing from decaying into cambling, you must diversify. (535)

Mitä hallitustyön käsitteet kertovat?

Kirjoitin helmikuussa Hallituspartnerit ry:n blogiin hallitustyöskentelyn käsitteistä. Ohessa teksti. Alkuperäinen löytyy täältä.

Mitä hallitustyön käsitteet kertovat?

Käsitteet muodostavat asioille sisällön ja määrittelevät viestintäämme. Siksi on keskeistä, millaisia termejä käytetään. Hallitustyöskentelyn sanasto on vielä varsin vakiintumatonta ja villiä. Ei kuitenkaan niin villiä kuin kasvuyritystoiminnassa, jossa pyörii bisnesenkeliksi itseään nimittäviä henkilöitä. Aika korkealentoista.
 
Usein tiettyjen käsitteiden käyttämiseen liittyy myös tarkoituksenmukaista itsensä korostamista. Esimerkiksi moni tituleeraa itseään hallitusammattilaiseksi. Kun tarkastellaan usean ”hallitusammattilaisen” hallituspaikkojen määrää ja toimintatapaa, voidaan todeta, että toiminta on varsin kaukana ammattilaisuudesta. Pelkkä työuran päättyminen ja halu hallituspaikoille eivät vielä tee hallitusammattilaiseksi. Todellisia hallitusammattilaisia eli toiminnallaan itseään elättäviä on Suomessa varsin vähän eikä maksetut palkkiot päätä huimaa. Siksi hallitusharrastaja olisi monille totuudenmukaisempi termi. Harrastuksenkin kun voi ottaa tosissaan ja parhaaseensa pyrkien, vähän kuten golfin.
Yleisessä hallituskielenkäytössä on vakiintunut termi ulkopuolinen hallituksen jäsen. En ole koskaan pystynyt ymmärtämään, mikä ihmeen ulkopuolinen hallituksen jäsen? Tietääkseni yhtiökokouksessa valitaan vain hallituksen jäseniä. Miksi on tarve jakaa hallituksen jäsenet ulkopuolisiin ja sisäpuolisiin omistuksen mukaan? Termeillä annamme mielikuvan, että hallituksessa on kaksi kastia, sisäpuoli ja ulkopuoli. Tottakai, yhtiöissä on aina olemassa valitsijat ja valitut eli omistaja ja hallitus. Usein valittuina on myös valitsijoita eli omistajia hallituksessa. Kuitenkin hallituksen jäsen on juridisesti aina hallituksen jäsen yhtäläisellä vallalla ja vastuulla, oli omistusta tai ei. Miksi siis omalla kielenkäytöllämme haluamme korostaa erottelua?
Yhtiöiden omistajille voitaisiin viestiä yksinkertaisesti, että heidän oman ja yhtiön edun mukaista olisi valita hallitukseen hyviä jäseniä, ei niinkään sitä että pitäisi olla ”ulkopuolisia”. Hallituspartnerit järjestön kannalta vastakkainasettelu ja profiloituminen ”ulkopuolisiksi” eivät myöskään liene perusteltua, kun missiona on kehittää suomalaista hallitustyöskentelyä. Sama henkilö voi myös olla toisessa yrityksessä ”sisäpuolinen” ja toisessa ”ulkopuolinen”.
Ulkopuolinen hallituksen jäsen termille on yritetty keksiä korviketta, mutta harva näistä on toimiva. Jos kutsuu itseään hallituksen asiantuntijajäseneksi, tulee samalla implisiittisesti sanoneeksi, että muut hallituksen jäsenet eivät tunne asiaa. Käsitteet määrittyvät vastakohtiensa kautta, joten jokainen lisämääritelmä tekee asian monimutkaisemmaksi. Eikö siis voitaisi vain puhua hallituksen jäsenistä, ilman mitään adjektiiveja?
Toinen yleinen termi on riippumaton hallituksen jäsen. Riippumattomuudella tarkoitetaan eri asiaa kuin "ulkopuolisuus". Se on määritelty esimerkiksi Suomen listayhtiöiden hallintokoodissa. Sen mukaan hallituksen jäsenten enemmistön on oltava riippumattomia yhtiöstä. Lisäksi vähintään kahden mainittuun enemmistöön kuuluvista jäsenistä on oltava riippumattomia yhtiön merkittävistä osakkeenomistajista. Riippumattomuus on tärkeää, mutta termi kannattaa ymmärtää oikein. Tosiasiallisesti riippumattomuudella ei tulisi olla merkitystä, koska jo lain mukaan jokainen hallituksen jäsen on velvollinen edustamaan hallituksessa yksiselitteisesti yhtiön etua, oli tausta mikä tahansa. Koska asia ei aina ole näin ihanteellisesti, on riippuvuuksien esille nostaminen perusteltua. Kuitenkin on vältettävä määritelmällistä oletusta, jonka mukaan riippumattomat hallituksen jäsenet olisivat ”riippuvaisia” oikeudenmukaisempia.
Käsitteellisesti olisi hienoa, jos hallitustyöskentelyssä olisi myös vakiintunut termi tunnustuksena toiminnassa ansioituneille. Tällaisen henkilökohtaisen palkinnon voisi myöntää Hallituspartnerit ry. Harmiksemme Hallitusneuvos käsite on jo viety tarkoittamaan ministeriöiden korkeita virkamiehiä.
 
Tero Luoma on tamperelainen hallitusharrastaja, HHJ PJ, Hallitusjuniorit ry:n perustaja ja Hallituspartnerit ry:n hallituksen jäsen.
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