Machine Design

Mr. Knowitall gives you the answers

We recently had an opportunity to interview Mr. I. B. Knowitall, the man who knows everything. We questioned him on a range of issues concerning the economy, workplace, and family. Here are his answers.

Editorial Comment
April 4, 2002

Q: Why is the stock market falling?

A: Because more people want to sell stock than want to buy.

Q: When will stock prices go up again?

A: Not in your lifetime. So get used to it.

Q: Why won't stock prices rise?

A: Because companies don't earn enough profit.

Q: What are the next growth industries?

A: There aren't any. So get used to it.

Q: Why aren't there any growth industries?

A: Because there is overcapacity in every business sector across the entire globe. In short, people with the power to buy have all the stuff they want.

Q: If stock prices are never going to rise, how will wealth be created?

A: The stock market never has created wealth. It is a zero-sum game. For every dollar gained in the market, someone loses a dollar.

Q: Is there any way a company can increase shareholder value?

A: Yes, by designing a product that is useful, building it properly, and selling it at a profit.

Q: How can I balance work and family?

A: You can't. One must suffer at the expense of the other. If you spend a lot of time with your family, you neglect your work. If you spend a lot of time at work, you neglect your family. One has to take priority. So get used to it.

Q: Which should get priority?

A: Work. Family bonds won't buy groceries or pay the mortgage.

Q: If I give work priority, will this harm my children?

A: Your children will be harmed no matter what you do. You can spend 24-7 with your children, and it won't improve their character. So get used to it.

Q: Then what should I do?

A: Children crave stability and respect strength. If you are lax, they will perceive you as weak and be contemptuous of you regardless of the time you spend with them. So be strong and stable.

Q: Will this make my children love me?

A: Eventually it will, but regardless of what you do, when they reach age 15 they will prefer to have minimum contact with you. But by age 30 they will respect and love you in fact, more than you want them to.

Q: What is the single most important thing to help my children develop properly?

A: Don't let them run in packs. Peer pressure among children and adolescents is the most harmful force they will face. As with dogs, children taken individually are nice, but when they run in packs they become vicious.

Q: In this era of downsizing and stringent business conditions, what can I do to protect my job and help my company.

A: You can (1.) Show up for work. (2.) Be polite and helpful to customers. (3.) Do what is asked of you in a timely and competent fashion. (4.) Take 10 minutes for lunch, then get back to something productive. Item 4 will give you an advantage over your competitors, both inside and outside your company.

- Ronald Khol, Editor

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