Balancing Act

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For the time being capitalism is where it’s at.

I’ve already waxed poetic about my outsized admiration for capitalism. But there are couple of points that I’d like to make.

1. Capitalism is but the blink of an eye relative to human history.

It’s only logical to suppose that this too shall pass.

Whether it be global warming, rising income inequality, The linking of social networks,  the dominance of technology, or none of the above, some force will drive us to evolve further towards a more efficient economic system eventually.

2. Capitalism did not arise in a vacuum. It was forged by political change , conflict, industrialization, and a whole host of other factors.

At one point it was in quite the knife fight with Marxism.

It wasn’t clear who was going to win.(Why else would we have gotten so painfully entangled in the civil wars of small Asian countries? Why else would we have spent such massive resources on space exploration, and the ability to blow the world up 5000 times over?

The point being, that for a while there it was touch and go. Karl Marx may have ultimately been proven wrong and to have had a poor understanding of human nature, but he was no dummy.


Confession:  I can never remember which one was Karl

But what does that have to do with the price of tea in China? (Or more specifically this blog?)

I’m so glad you asked.

Today I would like to talk about the conflicting worlds of travel hacking and early retirement theory through the prism of Marx’s framework of “thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. ”

No I’m not talking about dialectical materialism, I’m talking about the concept of two conflicting ideas converging into one solution.

You see, I feel that the miles game and early retirement theory are in many ways oppositional, but taken together they form a harmonious whole greater than the sum of its parts. For the sake of this article I will (megalomaniacally) name this synthesis “Dividendism.”

So let’s jump right in.

Thesis: The miles game teaches you to be pampered like nobility, even if you’re not rich.

Antithesis: Early retirement teaches you that luxury is a form of golden cage preventing you from pursuing true freedom.

Synthesis: Dividendism teaches you that to deny your thirst for freedom by mindlessly consuming is to deprive yourself of true happiness. But to deny your thirst for luxury is to turn away from a true aspect of your nature. Why not mix in little bit of luxury into your simplified life? It may add dimension and honesty to both pursuits.


Dividenism:  Golden cages can be excellent investments, don’t dismiss them out of hand.

Thesis: The pursuit early retirement teaches you to participate more fully in your own life. Why look at TV when you could be building something? Why go to a movie when you could read a library book? Why take a cab when you could ride your own bike somewhere? Why order takeout when you can pick a fresh salad from your garden?


Antithesis: The miles game opens up new possibilities. If you’re fascinated by Mozambican art, why let money stop you from going to Mozambique?

Synthesis: Dividendism asks you to grow inwardly by becoming more active in your own life. But it also demands that you grow outwardly, by exposing yourselves to foreign cultures, and traditions, and wisdom, that would be otherwise inaccessible.  Why grow in only one direction?  What are you a robot?


Dividendism:  Don’t be a robot.

Thesis: The miles game teaches you to harness all your worldly tools (PC, smartphone, apps etc…)to keep track of your credit score, your credit cards, your spending, and your miles. In so doing, it instills the values of organization and attention to detail.

Antithesis: The early retirement game teaches you to simplify everything by eliminating that which is not truly important to you, and focusing on that which is.

Synthesis: Dividendism Posits that simplicity without organization is an impossibility. But that organization without constraint is emptiness.


Dividendism:  If that last sentence didn’t make sense it’s kind of a you problem….

Thesis: The early retirement game teaches you that spending is a distraction, and that saving is the key to freedom.

Antithesis: The miles game reveals the power of spending, without spending. It drives home that by harnessing your creativity, worlds of possibility will open up.

Synthesis: Dividendism respectfully requests that the two extremists (Miles and Early) stop arguing like little babies. Why not just leverage The miles game to save money on travel, and then invest the savings in your retirement?

Does it really have to be so complicated?


(Now….you must send all donations to Miles Dividend MD, POBox23424…..)

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