Gold!

On Paul English‘s recomendation I’m reading Ship of Gold. One bit near the beginning caught my imagination.

Four days after he found the yellow lump in the millrace, and five days before the United States signed the treaty with Mexico, Marshall set out on horseback throught the snow for Sutter’s Fort. There he pulled Sutter aside and bade him retire to a small room and lock the door. Once they were alone, Marshall unrolled a cotton cloth and displayed the lump; he thought it was gold, but he didn’t know. …If this was gold, it appeared to be all over the site.

…Sutter concluded that indeed Marshall had found a nugget of gold, but rather than being joyous , he seemed concerned. On fifty thousand acres, he gazed twelve thousand head of cattle, ten thousand head of sheep and two thousand horses mules and kept one thousand pigs. If the lump he now held was gold, he envisioned his ranch hands fleeing into the foothills, leaving the crops in the fields and the stock to fend for itself; he forsaw thousands of crazed miners overrunning his peaceful valley; …

What a beautiful example of how the vested interest reacts when the breakthru arrives, changing everything about the game at
hand. His first reaction is not, “Oh, happy day!” but “Oh hell! This is going to disrupt my business model.” It’s a natural reaction, if your already on top.

In this case his labor supply, among other things, is about to be disrupted. How you gonna keep’m down on the farm after they seen these bright lights?
The Internet bubble did similar things to the labor supply as did cheap the land in colonial America. That destroyed primogenitor.

To the entrepeneur it’s always the land of opportunity. Meanwhile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.