FUM was Re: Ellison on Loserhood

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From: Jeff Bone (jbone@jump.net)
Date: Tue Aug 15 2000 - 13:08:49 PDT

One other way of putting it: while it's pretty much an obvious truth on some level that
"there's more to life than money," isn't it also pretty much indisputable that having lots of
money (once you've got it) should get you more of that "more?" The only implicit question that
bears pondering is whether doing what it takes to achieve that kind of money is balanced or
exceeded by the benefit of having that kind of money. And, IMO, that's a personal question, and
the answer is potentially different for each person. My observation is that you don't see too
many billionaires running around bitching about how having billions wasn't worth the effort;
surely there's a takeaway lesson there.

By the way, a definitional point: when I say "money," what I'm really talking about is
"fuck-you money." Fuck-you money (FUM) is whatever amount of money it takes to make an
individual pretty much able to do whatever they want, whenever they want, even when that
conflicts with what other people want, fuck you very much. ;-) (I.e., Larry Ellison lands at
SFO whenever he damn well pleases, and pays the after-curfew landing fine.) The quantity of
buckage that constitutes FUM varies by individual... For the purposes of this argument let's
say it's a 10-figure amount. (For me, lowish 9 figures would suffice, but I have limited needs.

It's also interesting to note that the amount of FUM is entirely dependent on the average level
of wealth among those competing for the same resources and privileges. The only real way to
have FUM is to have a significant upwards discontinuity in wealth compared to others who are
likely to want the same kinds of limited-availability things that you want. Historically, this
has been sort of constrained geographically; for instance, I could probably consider my current
net worth FUM if I was willing to move to Costa Rica. As the world becomes more of an efficient
global marketplace, that changes. In some sense, the FUM game is zero-sum.


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