Friday, April 02, 2010

The Market is not the ultimate measure

The New York Times had a mugs gallery, with names and numbers like this:

David Tepper $4 billion
George Soros $3.3 billion
James Simons $2.5 billion
John Paulson $2.3 billion
Steve Cohen $1.4 billion
Carl Icahn $1.3 billion
Edward Lampert $1.3 billion
Kenneth Griffin $900 million
John Arnold $900 million
Philip Falcone $825 million

These are the one year's (2009) personal income of these hedge fund managers. Not life-time earnings. One year's earnings.

Now, compare to say, Einstein. Without Einstein, your GPS wouldn't work very well, and he laid the foundations for the laser. Now, while Einstein did lead a good life, the monetary compensation he got was nowhere close to the list above. And as far as improving life for humanity, expanding the frontiers of knowledge, of having made a difference, Einstein stands way beyond these billionaires. But if we go by market evaluation, Einstein is a midget compared to these giants of hedge funds.

The market is not everything. Yet Americans worship it as such. I'd say - those who can, do, those who cannot, pursue money.